Our Estate's senior guest, Baron Jean Rotsart, asked me on Friday evening to take out a young guy who's apparently an important friend to him and the other lessees of our stalking here to try to get him a half decent buck.
Although not keen to take out strangers because I don't know if they can shoot straight he was a very nice young guy called Brieuc de Crombrugghe whose English was superb, which always helps as my French is only what I did my very best not to learn at school all those years ago. More importantly he was an excellent shot who took time and great pride in his skill and ability with shot placement. Early evening I asked him to knock over a couple of quite rangey young bucks to at least give him a shot and, at the same time, help with our cull of some of the rubbish which he did willingly enough so I got the impression he wasn't as trophy-obsessed as some others we have here. I insisted he use my rifle as I know for certain it's on and he pulled off a couple of one shot instant kills and that was very pleasing for me. A joy to watch in fact.
After that, and at the very last knockings of the evening and more out of luck than anything else, I glassed a buck which looked OK'ish from distance but we had to stalk in closer to get a proper look as we only had a few minutes of light left. He was one I've been looking to take off because, like the Baron's Tuesday evening buck that I posted earlier this week, this old fella was pretty aged with heavy pedicles supporting antlers now thinnish and going in all directions and he's been smart enough not to let me see him too often. The guest took it easily with another beautifully humane shot in very poor light.
What surprised me most was that once we got to it the guest was fair doing somersaults with his leg in the air ! I've rarely seen a guest that excited. Big hugs and kisses all round and no, not like that you lot and before you kick off with the comments - the European manly sort of hugs and kisses ! I don't much cotton to these deteriorating heads and want them gone as they've done their bit in terms of breeding but there are stalkers, particularly the Continentals, who absolutely love them above all others for some reason that's beyond me. The weirder the better as far as they're concerned and they'd often rather have one of these than a gold mirror head.
I personally find the enthusiasm for them somewhat strange, but who cares what I think ? I ended up with an ecstatic guest far happier than I could ever have imagined and I saw a buck that I very much wanted away have a very good quick end to a long life.
Nice when it all works out that well isn't it ?