The sun came out at about noon today and shone all afternoon to produce a nice, still, sultry evening. So I set off at about 7.30pm, me, dog and youngest son (it’s anyone’s guess which between the son and the 4 year old Lab is the more excitable). The land I stalk is farmland that borders a biggish wood and as we walked through the yard, we saw two roe in the field on the edge of the wood. Up with the binoculars to confirm that one is a buck. There’s a rather useful high walled lane that takes me down through the fields, so it was a fairly straightforward stalk. Knowing the field he was in, I knew exactly where to walk to, so as to rest on a wall by a large oak with a perfect shot from there. It’s all going rather too well isn’t it? Despite stopping and looking at every corner, I bumped another doe and her kid. Off they went and the alarm was up. Despite this, the happy couple were in no hurry to move off so I thought I might still be in with a chance. I was able to put the tree between me and the deer and get to within 100yards. Sadly there was no safe shot. I tried the squeaker, but the buck was evidently of the “bird in the hand” school of thought and quietly trotted out of range.
We decided instead to check out a patch of ground where I’d recently shot a fox, one of two cubs. On reaching the ground, we could immediately see two deer. Closer inspection revealed a doe and her kid, quietly browsing and blissfully unaware of us. I suggested to my son that he stalk in to watch them so I had a double treat – watching some of my favourite animals and seeing a small camo-clad form get to within 50 yards.
Heading back, we sat down on a small rise and gave a squeak on my hand. Almost straight away, a fox appears, ears pricked. I burn with shame that I missed!
So no buck and a missed fox. But walking back in the growing darkness, with a nearly full moon looming up over the hills and a very happy young lad beside me, I did think: it doesn’t get much better than this.