First Stalk – 8th August
04:00 the alarm went off, I thought, ‘just one more minute’… 04:17 ‘oh ****, I was supposed to leave 7 minutes ago… feck’
Throw on my clothes, grab the gun, throw it in the gunslip and grab my stalking bag, jump in motor and race over to Holkham.
The first hour or so of the outing remains somewhat hazy, not woken up, switched on, or too excited by the follow-up stalk after-which I wrote this up - my memory is now shot, who knows?!?
We drove through the estate and parked up near a highseat which we climbed to await a lighter day, I can’t even recall what we were overlooking. I don’t even recall seeing any deer but have a vague recollection of a muntjac and letting it pass us by as I had roe or fallow on my mind. Was a beautiful morning, windless, calm, warm.
I didn’t shoot anything from that highseat and we left after approx. 30 minutes. We then stalked through woodland, possibly bumping a muntjac and catching sight of a roe doe and her kid which we managed to bypass without sending them off barking – lovely to see.
Having taken nothing on our stalk we took up position in a second highseat overlooking quite a swathe of ragwort. A muntjac started barking the minute we arrived. Made us chuckle as we could see his tail move every time he barked. Soon Glyn noticed a roe buck emerge about 180m away across the field. It slowly made its way up a track, then ducked into the ragwort out of sight, I thought I’d lost my chance. Then he appeared about 70m away, made his way to about 60m then just as he was about to head into the ragwort again he came broadside and fell instantly to the bullet.
We brought the roe up to highseat and Glyn talked me through a suspended gralloch.
A brilliant morning…
Second stalk – 10th August
04:00 alarm goes off, jump out of bed after a somewhat disturbed night’s sleep (excitement???)… Quick coffee and meet Glyn bang on 04:30.
It’s quite a different morning to the Wednesday, a heavy mist covers much of the ground and it’s a bit chillier.
The highseat we took up post in overlooked a drive which was bordered with conifers and rhododendron bushes. Saw nothing during our 30 minutes but listened to 2 muntjacs barking for a good 5 minutes and had a resident population of bats to keep the insects at bay. When we climbed down and stepped out into the drive we immediately saw a muntjac. Nipped back up the highseat to see if he would come our way – no luck.
Back down the highseat and stalked down the drive. Soon enough we spotted another muntjac but too slow and too far for me to take a comfortable shot off sticks. Another opportunity gone. Stalked on down and before long we spotted a roe buck quickly crossing the drive about 170m away. Glyn started to call him, and then we noticed there were 2, the first being much smaller than the second, a nice looking buck with a funny bent antler. The first disappeared; the second gradually made his way across to the same side of the drive as us but was still 160m away or so. Too far for a comfortable shot off sticks (for me). We lost sight for quite a while thinking he may come in from our left through the woodland - I was straining my eyes in all directions. Then he popped out again about 70m away and even presented a nice broadside shot but my heart was pounding too hard and the opportunity passed before I could steady my aim. He disappeared again – would he reappear? And where? Again he popped out only 25m away, close, so close. Browsing the trees, calmly making his way up towards us. When he again presented a clean broadside shot he was between 15 and 20m away. Bang... he set off like a rocket. I thought I’d pulled it and shot high but Glyn appeared calm. We walked over to the place where I’d shot him. There was clear evidence of good, bright blood and some tissue. Glyn made me follow the blood trail, not moving on until I’d found the next spot. About 30-40m from where I’d shot him we found him lying amongst the trees. The shot turned out to be good, but slightly quartering, it took out one of the front legs, high heart and lungs.
After the gralloch we stalked on through some other woodland for a while. Spotted one or two muntjac but unshootaable. Then we saw a muntjac dashing through the trees about 60m away. It ran onto the ride and Glyn whistled to stop it by which time I had already deployed my sticks but managed to catch my arm in my sling and thought it was game over, but no, got it sorted quickly, brought the crosshairs on and squeezed off a round in an instant. It dropped on the spot.
A fantastic 2 days stalking, in wonderful surroundings, with an excellent guide and tutor – thank you!