A work trip took me over to Jon's (243Varmint) part of the world earlier this week, so when I was asked did I fancy a bit of a mooch around on Tuesday evening, I didn't take much by way of arm-twisting! The Sako .308 was stowed, and I headed south from the Northern badlands.....
After a quick bite to eat, we headed out, decamping from the car at around 8ish to a very tranquil evening - barely a breath of wind......
We skirted field edges, glassing as we went, until we dropped down a wooded bank into a water-meadow, glowing with the quantity of buttercups scattered amongst the grass, bordered on the far side by a river, with the banking running along to our left. Jon suggested that we move round anti-clockwise, so that we were edging along next to the river, meaning that if anything appeared from the treeline we'd have the significant expanse of banking as a backdrop. Around halfway long the field boundary, we spied a young buck emerging from the treeline at the far end of the field - a good 180-200yds away, but seeming quite unconcerned as he meandered across towards the river. Now that wasn't ideal, as it brought him away from the backstop if he continued on his current trajectory, but we opted to stay put to see which path he decided to follow. As we stood watching, Jon spotted a roe doe at the far treeline, accompanied by her young kid. He managed to capture some video footage of them both whilst I kept my peepers on the buck, who had changed his angle slightly to bring him back towards the middle of the field. As the doe drifted off, we decided to creep forward to improve our angle and close some distance on the buck, stopping when we were around 120yds away from his current position. The sticks went up, but given the height of the grass, I couldn't see his body at all, so again we decided to just stay put and hope he closed the gap and/or stepped into a clearer area. At his point Jon said "Do you mind if I film this...?". No pressure...... The buck was coming in, but I still couldn't make out enough body to feel happy to take the shot, so we waited, keeping as still as possible. After a few more minutes, the buck suddenly trotted out from behind taller grass, and I thought to myself "Bugger! He's off!". But then he stood, so I squeezed the trigger, watched him take the impact from the 180-grain projectile. Then watched him bound off as I reloaded.... Just as I was thinking "I can't have missed!", he keeled over in front of us. Phew!
We waited for a few minutes then followed the blood trail from where he'd been shot up to where he lay, confirming death with a touch to the eyeball. A Herefordshire buck - result!
If I was being uber-critical of myself, the shot - in an ideal world - could have been an inch or so lower, but upon gralloching, the shot had destroyed both lungs and a fairly extensive section of liver, so I just don't think he realised he was dead when the bullet connected. (....and if Jon posts the vid, I'll apologise in advance for any of the colourful anglo-saxon I was muttering whilst waiting for a clear shot to present itself that may have been picked up on mike!)