I don’t normally bother writing up stalking trips but as I went out member of this site I thought I’d give it a go…
I booked eight stalks with Mark Robson of “Pigeonalldaylong”. The plan was to do 2 days with a week apart in case the weather was bad…turned out the weather was pants on the days I booked and ok in between!
On the first morning,(as with just about every other stalk) it was raining! We stalked along an embankment, hoping that there would be a buck dodging the rain in the thicker cover. Mark spotted a doe about 20 yards in front of us feeding away. We waited a bit to see if there was a buck with here but she seemed to be on her own. As we edged slightly further on, we spotted 2 more does ahead of us. As we waited, it became apparent that the first doe wasn’t too happy but she hadn’t bolted. Eventually a nice buck popped his neck out from under some cover forty yards away and the rifle was slowly brought up onto the sticks in anticipation of a shot. Unfortunately the first doe decided it was best to move off and the buck followed her into thicker cover! We moved quickly along the edge of the embankment in hope that we could catch the deer out . When we reached the other end of the bushes, we just caught a glimpse of the buck disappearing over the boundary,(still following the doe!!). At this point we also spooked a bigger buck which was also hidden in the thick cover,(he also made for the boundary).
It was now last knockings before heading home. Mark decided we would stalk along a bank before we headed back for breakfast. We had to walk along the bottom of the bank, head uphill and stalk back to get the wind in our favour. Just as we got to the top of the hill, we were fortunate enough to intercept a buck cutting across an open space between two patches of cover. The buck was only about seventy yards away and Mark quickly had the sticks ready for me. Mark shouted to stop the buck before it went behind a tree, (blocking our view of him). I put the cross-hairs behind the deer’s shoulder and pulled the trigger. The buck dropped on the spot but I had snatched at the trigger and hit the buck’s spine. I have to say I was very disappointed with the shot but at least the deer didn’t run off.
After the roe was gralloched, we headed home for a fry up!
The evening stalk was overcast but at least it was dry. We spotted a buck out in some rushes and decided to stalk into it. We got into a position to glass the deer and calculate an approach. As we did so, we spotted a walker in the field ahead of us, heading directly towards the buck. The kind chap scared the buck into a wood to our left and that was the last we saw of it.
I was supposed to be stalking the following day but the forecast was terrible. Mark very kindly gave me the option to add the days stalking onto the following week in the hope that the weather would be better!
I got back down to Teal cottage,(run by Mark’s Mum and Dad) a week later but the forcast was still really poor,( pishin it doon until further notice).
Mark decided we would “lie in” until 4:00 as it was likely to be still dark at 3:30 with all the rain clouds. When we got out the weather was okay,(overcast but no rain). We arrived the stalking ground and started walking along a farm track. We noticed a doe out in the flied and Mark spotted a buck feeding in the corner. The buck disappeared and as we crept towards it, he reappeared 50 yards ahead of us. Mark placed the sticks in front of me and I took the shot. The buck bolted off without much reaction at all, (but if I had missed it at that distance it was bad times!). On closer inspection we found some blood where the buck had been standing and also on the wall behind it so we knew he wasn’t far. Mark noticed the buck hit a gorse bush as it was running off and we found him dead underneath it.
After the gralloch, we headed to a wood edge and slowly stalked along the edge of it. We spotted a doe with two fawns just in front of us which was nice to see. Slightly further along, we scareded a doe. She bolted into the wood and this pushed out a young spiker ahead of us. I wasn’t really after smaller bucks but it was a good one to take out. I put a shot with the .22-250 through the bucks lungs and off it ran. The wee buck lost a ridiculous amount of blood but still managed to run 60 yards and jump a ten foot ditch before dying! I attempted the gralloch as Mark advised me on how to do it properly, which was really helpful!
In the evening we headed out for a medal buck which had narrowly eluded a Mark and his client on the previous day. Mark knew roughly where the buck would be so we went up to some higher ground and glassed for him. We spotted him couched down in the same place as the previous day. We moved back down the hill and stalked to within fifty yards of where the buck was sitting. Unfortunately there was a gorse bush between us and the buck. As we crawled around trying to get an angle on the buck, he spotted us and bolted! It wasn’t quite the end we had hoped for but at least it was an exciting stalk.
In the morning we had another look for the medal buck. The weather was rubbish as usual and we were soaked as we tried to crawl into a position to glass the deer. As we were crawling in, we spooked a Roe,(we didn't see it but heard it barking as it moved off!). We went back down to the bottom of the hill and stalked along hoping we would get another chance at the buck. As we did so we bumped a deer which disappeared into the gorse. We assumed this was the buck we were after. We stalked along to the end of the hill hoping to see something. Right at the end Mark spotted the big buck and the doe eighty yards away,(the last one we scared must have been a different deer!). Unfortunately they were moving away from us and as we closed the distance, the doe spotted us and the buck ran off with her!
The following evening and morning stalks weren’t great due to the weather and we decided to call off the final stalk,(when I say the weather was bad..it was closer to weather you would hope for for wildfowling!). However we still managed to spot the odd deer…which with my luck were nearly always doe's!
However I had a great time stalking with Mark and learnt a lot! I also saw,(despite the weather) a lot of deer. I can only imagine how many we would have seen if the weather had actually been nice!
Thank you very much Mark for taking me out! And also many thanks to your Mum and Dad for having me…the fry ups in the morning were a saviour!
Ps sorry this turned out so long…it was supposed to be brief! Thanks for reading if you made it this far!