We have been having some trouble with a couple of bucks in one of our pheasant pens. This pen is 30 acres and thick undergrowth except a strip of game cover. Earlier in the year the bottom section of fencing had to be replace so we used this opportunity to push any deer in the pen out. Using 12 people we set off through the pen only to have the 2 bucks turn around and run back once they got to the open section no others seen.
The keepers have asked me to remove one of the bucks prior to the rut so they don't chase each other into the fence making a mess of it. One of the bucks is a rubbish yearling and the other is pretty good. I set out last week, set up camp at the top of the game cover waiting for the little guy to make his daily pilgrimage on to the cover crops. Nothing showed. The next morning I set up again just before first light sitting at the bottom of one of the fence poles. About 20 mins later I suddenly got this feeling I was being watch, I turn my head to the right to see a Muntjac buck about 3 meters away from me stamping its foot and glaring at me. My rifle was set up in front of me on the sticks, I slowly tried to turn to get a close range shot but off he went barking away. Nothing else seen.
2 evenings later I set up again, at last light they big boy shows himself, I was very reluctant to shoot him as I would have rather someone else had the pleasure.
The next morning I head out again, I get there just as the sun pops over the hill, I drive passed the cover crop to see 5 roe feeding it!!!! The 2 bucks had been joined by a Doe and her 2 kids. Now there are 6 Deer in this pen. I park up and stalk back into the pen, as I get into the pen the fog hits like a steam train, I could not see 10 meters in front of me. Across the gloom I see a faint silhouette of a roe so I stalk in as silently as I can. As I get closer it became clear it was the big boy again, no sign of the others. Grrrrr, the fog clears and I catch a fleeting glimpse of a muntjac doe. 7 Deer in the pen (getting ridiculous now).
Yesterday I get a call from the keeper, they had just put the poults in and the buck was chasing a doe all over the pen pushing the birds out. He said the bucks have to go, they had run into the fences, tripped the electric fences and were generally causing mayhem. I throw the rifle in the car and head back down. I set up camp again with pheasants all over the place, quite a hard job without causing to much disturbance. I get the call out and start trying to call the bucks out. After about 10 mins I noticed a buck steaming in from 2 fields away. He got to the hedgerow and I lost sight of him. I knew which buck he was, a pretty solid gold and was definitely a no go. I carried on scanning the hedgerow to see if he will reappear. Then I see Charlie walking down the tramlines in the next field. I am franticly trying to extend my shoot sticks so I can shoot from the ridge I was on over the fence. Charlie buggered off by the time I was set up, grrr. Then the buck reappears and I carry on calling. He steamrolled into a doe that was resting up in the barley and set off after her, (good job genes passed on ). I turn to my right to see the little buck and a lone doe sky-lined (make that 8 deer). This all happened within about 15 seconds, my heart was racing. I sneak back into the cover and try to stalk my way round to where I can get a safe shot off at the young buck. Trying to stalk with thousands of poults around you is close to impossible I discovered, he had gone by the time I got to where I needed to be.
I resumed my original position and waited. Just at last light I decided to wonder up the hill and see if they were feeding on the small piece of cover I could not see. Low and behold the big boy is there again, I crack the bipod out and hit the deck. He was feeding up towards me, a quick peep of the caller and he stops. .243 round hits him perfectly, he nearly did a backflip, clearly perfect heart shot but off he went. I wait it out before strapping on the torch. He was dead on the deck about 20 meters from the shot site. First Roe with the R8 .
As I got to him it was clear in the few times I had seen him in low light and fog I had underestimated how good he actually was. I am not really a trophy man I get a lot more pleasure in seeing other people take the shot and I am more than happy taking out the trash for management reasons.
I think in this case I had definitely earned the kill. I went out again this morning for the little guy but no sign of him. I will get him this weekend in between client stalks.
It just shows how tight these deer will sit if they don't want to move, we tried everything to get them out of the pen before we re-sealed it .
All that remains is to explain to my boss why he won't be getting the trophy fees for that one . At the end of the day we had tried everything to get it out the pen.
To top it off I found a decking tick on my hand as I got into my car to leave grrrr.