Well this last weekend turned out to be one of those events that will possibly be never repeated, or if it is it is unlikely to be for a year or two.
My Finnish clients arrived on time at Gatwick and within an hour of arriving we were in the local pub enjoying a meal and talking over the plans for their four day hunt with me. Both had booked to take a good buck with me on my major lease in West Sussex. The area has been under a strict management plan put in place by myself to improve the over all quality of the heads on the ground, which has the potential to show strong straight heads which are typical West Sussex.
I knew of 6 very strong heads, one of which I have been keeping an eye on for a couple of years. The weather was supposed to break and the temperature to rise, but after the atrocious weather we have all been suffering from over the past 2 months I was just praying that the weather man was right!
Along with my 2 Finnish clients I also had a member off the SD site for two stalks, who had visited with me before. I decided to put him in a high seat on a seperate farm where I had two bucks appearing on a fairly regular basis. I knew of one big Roe that appears from time to time on the farm, although the total acerage of the farm is only about 150 acres I usually take about 3 to 4 bucks a year, and up to now had culled one buck of very poor quality.
Shaun phoned me halfway through the early morning stalk to tell me he had a doe walk under the seat, and was now watching a buck and a doe in the next field over. After some thought I called him back and told him to try and stalk the buck and take it providing it was not a huge master buck. I arrived shortly after the shot to find him carrying the beast back to the bottom of the shallow valley he had taken the shot from. It turned out to be a slightly better beast than anticipated and although not the big trophy I knew of it was still a very nice head, and one I had not seen before. Shaun explained that he had watched it holding a doe for over 2 hours, and therefore it looked like the rut was finally on in my part of West Sussex.
An unusal head with typical thick bases which might go bronze. We will wait and see.
The following day saw me back looking for the trophy head for my Finnish friend. I again made my way over to the part of the 2,500 acre estate where I knew the buck to be. Two other members off this site have been privelaged to see this big buck, and with luck we might be able to call him out as the rut appeared to be on!
The weather had improved and the wind was a light westerly as I made my way along the edge of a field of oats. On the edge of the large wood I settled the client on to the sticks and proceeded to call. Instantly a Roe deer barked about 40 to 50 yds in front of us! Moving the client gently round I gave another little peep on the call as the deer had possibly I think caught a very slight whiff of our scent. However he showed himself on our right inside a broad hedgerow of mixed scrub and trees. He was very cautious in his approach as one would expect, and turned barking and ran back into the wood where he proceeded to bark again and again.
I was certain it was the big buck, but was not 100% so decided to just stand and wait. This paid off, a I called once more and he came back again following the same route as last time. Carefully pointing the client in the right direction he could see the buck moving from our left to right. There was a small window of space through the cover, and I whispered to the client to shoot it as soon as it stopped in this one and only place to shoot through. Sure enough as the buck approached this window it stopped and without hesitation he hit the buck high lung chest shot and after running about 15yds dropped to the ground dead. With luck this head may go gold, but it is certainly silver I would say.
Robin was guiding the other Finnish client and also managed to get onto a good buck that was chasing two does. Again a nice head with thick bases and long and straight, typical West Sussex head again
Having spoken to another good friend who stalks on ground opposite to mine and who has taken a certified gold medal off the ground about 2 years back, I asked him to bring his head over to compare with the two taken by the finnish clients. The confirmed gold is in the middle, the unconfirmed is on the right and the left is I think a bronze. Of course they need to dry first and then be scored, but I am hopeful that we have two medals.
And finally two happy clients. So two clients from Finland over 6 outings = 3 Roe Bucks, one fox.(two medal heads and one cull buck)
One SD site member 2 outings = 1 Roe buck (possible bronze)
Not bad for 3 days work!!