Friday morning and I arrived at Malcolm (Sikamalc)'s place at 5.30. The sun was already well up as we drove out to the stalking grounds in search of my first Roebuck. All was quiet for the first hour or so, then things started to liven up. The bucks were certainly about but not necessarily in the right place. Our primary target was a murder buck that Malcolm has been trying to take out for a while now. Suddenly, as we rounded a corner in the woodland, Malcolm almost walked into him – for a second or two, we looked at each other, he was probably 10 yards away and looking straight at me. Unsure of my zero at such a short distance, and doubly restricted by the fact that Malcolm was positioned between the buck and myself, I kept the gun down. Lucky buck charged off into the woodland barking furiously, “that is that” we thought as we turned away, not expecting to see much for a while. Immediately a cracking six pointer went bounding past me and across the field behind us. Sticks up, I kept on him as he charged away but there was no slowing him down. Not sure Malcolm really wanted him shot anyway as he is trying to keep off the better heads this year, but kept the options open until it was clear that I didn’t have a shot.
We covered plenty more of Malcolm’s wonderful ground, the sun was shining and the air was still – such a treat after the last few weeks of weather, we rounded a corner to see a lovely doe grazing on the bank – stood and watched for a while and then moved on. I was beginning to think this was going to be a blank morning when, as we walked slowly through the bluebells we saw a young buck sunning itself and chewing the cud. Not a safe shot from our position, particularly with the keeper’s house as the only long backstop! so a quiet move around him to find a better shot. A few minutes of painstakingly slow movement and we get to a great position 40 yards or so from him, sticks up, only the neck shot is available from his position. “Take your time” was Malcolm’s advice, found my spot and dropped him, very happy moment. As I was reloading, a doe who had obviously been lying next to him but out of view shot past us like a scalded cat. It seemed, at 8.30, the perfect time to stop the morning stalk and head back to Malcolm’s for a proper breakfast.
Friday evening, half a dozen does that would have made a lovely shot, but the bucks were elsewhere. Back we went to where we met the murder buck that morning, another doe grazing gently and then I saw him again, behind a line of trees with no backstop beyond. He was moving slowly but not in a direction that helped so we tried to get round him through the woodland. As we came out, glassing the area there was no sign of him, then in the distance we hear a buck barking furiously – not sure what had surprised him, not us we were sure, but he was gone. The light was fading so we made our way back, this time empty handed.
What a great day, a fabulous introduction to Roe stalking, all of my (very limited) stalking to date has been Fallow in woodland, and it was such a treat to be out in the open in great countryside. Lot’s of great advice from Malcolm, all taken on board and hopefully retained, great company and plenty of war stories. Looking at my diary now, wondering when I can get back there.