Last night I got to one of my shoots at just after 6.30pm, with my lovely little Sako A1 .222, for a mooch around the sopping wet fields with the intention of shooting rabbits, maybe surprising a fox or if really lucky a muntjac.
I started off by walking down the farm track and could not but notice how incredibly wet the surface of the ground was, but also that it was only soft to a depth of an inch or two !!! Despite the heavy rains, so much of the rainfall really was running and had run off the fields and the little brook running through the farm was a raging torrent that could host an Olympic kayak event !! There was a noticeable chill in the air and also a heavy cloud cover that seemed to sap the usual early evening light. There were plenty of rabbits about and I just moved on into the farm proper shooting off the sticks both left and right.
Moving steadily on I came across a field that has many ewes and lambs in residence and while scanning the 10 acre wood opposite from the stock gate noticed a muntjac doe feeding amongst the brambles just the other side of the stock fence ! The range was not an issue at 160 yards, but having a wire fence between my rifle and the deer certainly was a concern. So a plan...I gently tapped the metal gate with my sticks to attract her attention...The doe raised her head and the very nonchalantly drifted into the wood !!! I slowly and as quietly as possible on the sodden squelching field headed to the wood about 60 yards beyond where she had re-entered the under-growth. I climbed over the barb-wire topped fence and moved into the wood and there she was, but I had been spotted !!! She again drifted away from right to left from where I was standing and I moved my sticks and rifle into a comfortable position just as she disappeared from sight !!
"Oh well" I thought, "another of my great plans comes to naught !" However, while scanning the wood and under-growth ahead of me I noticed that she had in fact taken refuge in some ground cover. I could see her munching on some foliage while constantly scanning all about for danger ! I set my self for a wait to see what she would do. Her actions seemed very relaxed, she was eating and just looking about while chewing. I realised that when she had finished her meal where she was that she could just wander off any direction and that would be that ! However, I decided to stay stock still, while looking occasionally at her through my scope knowing that she could also in all probability stay where she was until dark or until I suffered such serious cramp in either my arms or legs and would have to move and spook her !
Ten minutes passed, 20 minutes passed, half an hour came and went and I was starting to think this little lady was going to win this little game !! I still hadn't moved and she was staying still and in a position where there was no possibility of a shot !!! What to do ? Then all of a sudden she was gone !
Still it had been nice just watching her, after all she was only 70 yards away and through 12x mag even through the bramble twigs and bushes I could see so much detail....But wait, movement...She was just back tracking from the way she entered her cover...Game on !
The little deer was ghosting back past the trees and my legs were starting to shake from having been stood still for so long !!! I followed her through the scope as best I could and then suddenly she stopped, at perfect broadside she seemed to turn to look at me...I almost felt a pre-shot pang of regret about what I was about to do, but someone had to win this little contest and down she went with little more than just a quick kick of her hind legs.
I can't tell you how satisfying it was to have my plan actually work and my patience rewarded !! With most deer that I have shot the whole process seems rather rushed, this felt so much more involved !
I hope that wasn't too boring or long.
Cheers + ATVB