I had a free stalk included when I did my DSC1 earlier in the year and took that up on Saturday with an evening stalk as well, morning went well but despite seeing a few the closest we got was a stalk into a buck that had decided to lie down in standing barley. Got to under 50 yards and waited with the odd attempt from Dan to try and encourage it to stand but after 15 minutes no joy, so slightly uncertain if it had managed to sneak off unseen we stalked in a little more to see it jump up and hop straight over the closest fence. Thats life so following that we had a look about for more and though plenty of does seen no joy on anything else. It was starting to get late so called it a morning at about 8.30
The afternoon I was out with Dave on a different area and we glassed one in the distance feeding on the edge of a wood but wind etc was completely wrong and actually it looked more like a doe at the range so a decision was made to stalk through the nearest wood and then have a look from the end where it would be clearer, with the bonus of having a look through the wood for anything else about. The stalk through the wood was very quiet till we got to the end near the earlier spotted deer when a trip through a beech section could hardly be called quiet on getting to the edge nothing was present so we had a look round the edge of the wood in a dog leg to check that and on looking back the buck had popped out of a wood opposite. Wind again totally wrong and about 150 yards out and moving away, so we quietly made our way back moving each time its head went down, the deer was slightly unsettled by a combine in a nearby field so when it popped into the wood we had just been in we decided to stalk back round another dog leg where we could see where it had gone in and see if it came back out. 5 minutes of sitting and a noise was heard just inside the wood and it was actually working back towards us. Getting ready and using the only available rest which happened to be Dave it came into a clear spot right next to us and the shot was taken pretty much facing us but as quartering as I could get and at all of about 8 yards
Leaving a few moments we went in and found it moved it into a suitable area to gralloch, a small 6 pointer which I was more than happy with and the close range made it pretty unforgettable.
Moving on from there we decided to stalk back through a central ride in the wood to look for another, moving through I had this feeling of being watched and looked to the side to just notice two fallow watching me beautifully positioned to show very small buttons on their heads to positively id as bucks, both face on and looking directly at me, I managed to stop Dave ahead of me and once again it was looking like an improvised shooting position would be needed but while waiting for a suitable shot to present there was another to the side so trying to just double check that was a buck gave them too long and they decided enough was enough and moved on. Well the adrenalin was going well after that and we moved to look where there had been a small buck spotted previously with just a pair of spikes with no tines on his antlers so a nice one to take out. He was spotted with a doe just inside the wood but moving onto a grassy area outside, looking like he would present in an area that could be taken from my sticks sitting I shrank them down and we moved to the edge of the wood. Typically he had not gone quite as intended and had moved up and was completely skylined. Dave sent me ahead to stalk in to see if I could get a shot and that took forever they were alert to something but not sure what, I moved in slowly while working out my sticks needed to be extended for any chance of a shot so with every dip of the bucks head I slowly extended them and moved in. A swirling wind made matters worse and the doe did head off into cover but the buck stayed out while not overly happy he let me close the gap before starting to meander back to the wood. Fortunately the land meant as he came back he moved off the brow and I was able to get a decent safe shot just before the wood when he took a couple of steps and collapsed at the edge. sadly no photos of that but it was getting dark and I got a bit side tracked gralloching in last light. Probably 15 minutes of stalking in and waiting on sticks made it another that will be hard to forget. So many thanks to Dan and Dave at Jelen for a pretty unforgettable days stalking on some lovely ground with plenty of deer about.