… and in some style!
It all started off as awell planned idea with myself and a shooting but not stalking mate,Dave, were supposed to fly over from Geneva to Gatwick and head downto Malc's for a 3 stalks over Saturday and Sunday and head back tothe land of losing tennis players (GO MURRAYYYYY!!!!!) at Sundaylunch time. As I'd not taken a deer with Malc yet and this would be my 3rd visit I was really hoping to have a good crack at some deer (I would hasten to add this isn't from lack of trying on Malc's part or lack of deer: Mainly due to the wrong sex at the wrong time of year)3 Sadly, Dave's good lady was taken sick on Thursdayafternoon so after a few frantic phonecalls looking for a replacement, Kalahari agreed to step into the breach.
So, met Kalahari atGatwick and headed down to Malc's at West Sussex. After saying hello,headed over and had a bit of a range session (defo good to knock therust off!) and then over to the pub for supper. After a slight mix upwith accommodation that was sorted very kindly by Angie the B&Bland lady, early night in preparation for a 430 meet.
Morning came and after abrew with Malc, Sandra and introduction to Ken we set off to findsome deer, myself with Malc and Todd the wonder dog and Kalahari withKen.
Myself and Malc stalkedthrough some fields of standing crops and we ended up having deer360. First we had a group of 5 that appeared behind us (looked backand thought, “Oh look, there's a sheep in that field... No, that'snot a sheep but a white fallow) so snuck back, glassed a group of 5does and fawns. Oh well, never mind. Found some, good chance of more.Headed again along original hedgeline and came across a group of 4: 2does and 2 fawns. Never mind move on. Crossed another hedge and ascame through almost missed another group of 4 coming towards us, asonly clocked their tails flicking over the top of the long grass.Froze and one of the fawns got to within 25 ft before one of the doesdidn't like the look of the camo/drb green lump in the bottom of thehedge and bugged out.
So far, 13 deer: Alldoes. So, changed game plan and moved to another location: Another 4some of female deer. Ah well, never mind. Slight shame as is smallgroups and if it had been november 1st we'd have possiblymanaged 2 or 3 deer but that's stalking for you.
Headed back to the bothy,had a cracking breakfast and then took it easy for the rest of theday with a bit of a stroll round Horsham, late lunch and some shuteye before meeting again in the evening.
5pm came round and saw usback at the bothy for the evening's outing. We headed out, me to ahigh seat for a couple of hours. After being up in the seat andseeing a single doe popping in and out onto a ride for a few minsbefore disappearing saw nothing else. Malc arrived and we went for abit of a mooch around with intent (After getting locked in behind anautomatic gate and a bit of wall scaling and arm waving we got itopen) We came across more does than the morning session! Deereverywhere and not a single buck. In total for the day 40 to 50 deerseen, all girls. (So much so that Malc has started referring to me a“Lynx-effect”). On the way back to both, spot a group of 7 with 2bucks. Try to get on to them but they are having none of it. Head offand only stop on crest of ridge with country house in background. Noluck there so call it a night and back to bothy.
Up early the next morningfor another 430 start. Kalahari's turn in a seat and myself and Malcheaded out. It started looking a bit bleak not even clocking any doesuntil heading back. After having a few fields turn up blank we headedback towards the truck. Came across a group of does and afterwatching them bounce off over the hedge we climbed the stile about tohead back towards the truck when we notice that we're being watchedby 2 roe. So, stopped had a look and one is buck. But I'm too slowand he hops through the hedge: face-palm...
So, back in the truck andover the road and railway line to some ground that tends to produceroe. Off glassing some fields of mainly oats and no luck but we presson. Sneaking through a wooded boundary we both freeze. 2 sets ofantlers are spied and they both stand up: Fallow bucks! Standing headto head, broadside looking in our direction. Rifle up on sticks“Which one?” “Take the one on the right”
Shot goes and areassuring thump comes back. Work bolt and there is still one deerstanding there whilst the other has just trotted off over the crestof the rise. My brain at this point is screaming all possibilitiesfrom clean miss to gut shot. Put cross hairs on it again “Gotanother Malc” - Thinking I would need another shot “Nah nah,leave it” Soon as Malc utters those prophetic words deer drops.“Phew”. No time for too much reflection, sticks picked up and wehead forwards to try and get the other one. We come up the rise andwe see him not quite perfectly broadside but good enough or so Ihoped. Sticks went up and whack, this one fell over on queue afterstaggering a little.
Approached cautiously andTodd is sent forward to check the first animal which we can see looksvery still. We come a bit further forward and can see the second isjust twitching spasmodically. I cover this send whilst Malc confirms1st deer is dead. We're good. Second also has stoppedtwitching and confirmed as no longer with us.
2 dead deer. One veryhappy shooter and one very happy guide. Todd looks relieved as thatuseless client has finally shot a blasted deer.
Both are gralloched andMalc takes Todd and clobber back to fetch truck. That would be finebut there isn't access so this field directly by truck and track isonly good so far if you haven't got a tractor or a quad. Oh yes dearreaders, there was a little bit of a drag for 2 very fat, gorged onoats fallow sorrells. Was quite sweaty after getting those fellasinto the shade where the truck could get to. (Note to self: consider merits of deer that can fit in a roe sack....)
So, back to thelarder for another excellent brekkie cooked by Sandra and Malc aftergetting the deer into the chiller.
A very happy Scrummy fellinto his seat on the queasyjet flight back to Geneva and dropped offvirtually instantaneously and he's still grinning like an even biggeridiot than normal! First deer with Malc, first Fallow and a cracking brace as well.
It just remains for me tothank Malc and Sandra for looking after us so well and it was apleasure to meet Ken. If you haven't been down to Malc's in Sussex, it is well work a visit and I recommend you do, and he's a top bloke to be out in the field with. He does get booked up quickly, so get those diaries out (just please make sure I get my next booking in first please!)
Looking forward to Dorsetin November Malc, see you then!