I took a trip down to Somerset on Saturday evening to stalk with a fellow SD member. He is fortunate to stalk on some great looking ground; rolling farmland interspersed with several large blocks of deciduous woodland. The weather was just about perfect, warm and humid, but with a gentle breeze.
We did a bit of spying before settling on a bit of high ground that looked down towards a large wood. Within 10 minutes a young buck made his way into the open and started moving away from us along the woodland edge. We took the long route round to try and intercept him, but the wind changed direction (not for the last time that evening), and we agreed that it would be fruitless to try for him.
Moving on, I saw a buck covering a doe for the first time - I've watched them chasing does before, but never actually doing the deed.He showed potential, so we left him to carry on spreading his genes. Time was getting on when we arrived at another patch of ground, just in time to see a buck and a doe crossing diagonally about 150 yards in front of us. Moving as quickly and quietly as possible, we spotted them on a bank opposite us, and I had the rifle upon the sticks a couple of times, but couldn't take a shot due to cattle being in the foreground. Another buck turned up, along with few does and a bit of chasing ensued. The buttalo brought the 1st buck towards us, followed closely by his doe. I had the rifle ready on the sticks as they came through a hedge into our field maybe 25 yards away. A quick shout brought him to a stop, and he dropped on the spot. An old 5 pointer with one good antler and the other a lot smaller and weaker.
Gralloching has never been my greatest skill, and it was helpful to be given a bit of advice and guidance as I got on with the job.
We covered a few miles on foot, sweated a bit and swore at the changing wind more than once, but it was a memorable evening's stalking - and it always feels satisfying when you know you have worked hard for your sport. Sincere thanks to my host - he knows his ground and his deer very well, and we found bucks when and where he said they would be.