After a fuitless weekend with me( rubbish weather and the deer not reading the books ), I had a return invite for a weekend down with Dom again. left work early on friday afternoon to get down in plenty of time for a bite to eat (wild salmon caught by Dom) and a run through for the next couple of days.
We got loaded up and off to an area we have stalked before but from a different direction due to the wind. We parked up and got our kit sorted. off up the side of a large valley that has a wood along the top and a wide set aside area which looked very 'deery'
Glassing all the way, the cover at this time of year is very high so it was very hard to spot anything. We came to an opening which goes into the wood, made our way into it, got set up and gave the buttalo a few goes. Waited but nothing showing. We came back out and continued to stalk around the outside of the wood up the valley in a circle to come back into the glade from the opposite direction but nothing showing this evening.
As we made our way to the car, on que a muntjac gave a deffiant bark as to say, up yours. We had a look into the field where it was coming from but no sign of the muntie but 2 roe were making there way across the valley, by this time we had lost the light. Back to Dom's for a night cap and 3 1/2 hrs sleep.
Back out the next moring, coffee in hand as it felt like my head had only just hit the pillow then the alarm went off. This morning we were headed to a patch of ground in Hampshire. We stalk there last year and had a buck come in to 5m after he spent 20mins trying to suss us out from 10m (there is a write up about this encounter). We arrived at the farm and parked up in the yard and a plan was made. We were going to stalk up to a ridge line overlooking some wheat fields and cover crops below us. Hopefully catch them coming out of the wheat and back to the cover or in the covercrops themselves.
We got into position with our backs against an electricity pole, bloody hell don't those things buzz when peolple start waking up and turning the kettles on. We kept glassing the fields which stretched about 1000m in front of us. These were made up of wheat fields and horse paddocks. Then as the light was improving we spotted a roe about 700m away over the boundary in one of the paddocks. He made his way along the boundary hedge line which was quite wide and provided a good motorway from the deer. Luckily he made his way through the hedge and was now making his way through a cover strip towards our left. At this point we could make him out more clearly, A really nice six pointer with a great shape and almost black antlers. One of the nicest looking bucks I have seen.
At this point he had read the book and was 'sticking' to our plan. He got to the hedge to our left some 250m away, into our field but didn't head towards us but went left and under the bank we were sitting on. Dom said 'Lets go and see if he makes his way up the field'. Along the bank behind us to see where he had gone, We saw his arse jump over a fence and into a cover crop and a square of rough ground with thistles and ragwert. Game on again!!!!!
We got to the fence and we could see his antlers in the high cover, Dom gave a few callls but he didn't seem to be keen. We stalked a buck in this very patch last year, We were certain this boy was the same one!!!!!!
We kept loosing him and then seeing him, cat and mouse for about 20mins. We lost him so we got over the fence to see him once again go through the bottom hedge over into the paddocks, and off our ground. Bugger he's done us again. They don't get to shape this boy was in by being stupid.
We headed back down to the first cover crop to try and intercept him but a doe and fawn were out which moved in the right direction off to out right. Then we spotted the buck making his way across the wheat and off the ground. Bugger.
He's now done us 2 years on the trott
back off to Doms for breakfast. We went to Francis Lovells for a look round and then back to met Chris Rob and Jane for lunch in the local pub, which is only 80m from Dom and Pippa's house.
A quick 40 winks and we were off again to another part of the estate for an evening stalk.
A stalk around a wheat field then back into a wood where we saw plenty of marking and fraying so we got set up with our backs to a tree. A few calls on the buttalo but no response. Waited, another go, waited, another go but the roe were not playing ball. As we just moved of a muntie doe darted out of the bush 10m in front of us, she must of came to the call. We could of taken her but decided not to as it was the roe that we were concentrating on. Slowly we made our way out of the wood, munties barking .
We were now heading along the headland of a large rape field towards a bank with a maize cover strip and wood belt at the far end. Great downland partridge shooting ground. Dom spotted a doe and fawn go into the rape, so we slowed up and as we got to where she went in the rape moved and off bounded a buck back down the traline that we had stalked parallel to. We turned and waited for him to come out but he just burried deeper into the rape and was not seen again.
We got to the end of the field to the top of the wood belt, spied a roe way over on the far side buit was a long way off and the light was not on our side. We stalked down the wood and out the bottom. Nothing showing but sign everywhere. As we disgussing the next plan of attack, we looked to our left and at the bottom of the cover crop a fox had popped out of the wheat. Dom said do you mind shooting it as it's next to a partridge pen. I didn't need asking twice and the 30-06 bowled her over. Happy keeper.
So we now headed back to the car along the rape filed we had stalked. Half way up the bank a doe exploded into the rape from the headland. Then a buck exploded from 5m in front and legged it down the headland. A few expleatiffs from Dom as we were concentrating on getting back to a high seat for last light and we had just stalked this headland.
A game of cat and mouse down to the high seat area with the buck always 200m in front giving the odd bark no and again. We got to the high seat just before last knockings to see a doe and what appeared to be another doe but the light was fading fast. We watched them move into the far side of the field where the'doe' started to thrash at a ragwert plant. Mmmmm. perhaps it was a small button buck but we couldn't make out and the light was now gone. Back to Doms.
We actually had half an hour extra sleep that evening as we were picking up the 'boss' for the morning stalk. I was going to be guided by the boss and Dom was going to stalk for a buck in another part of the same wood block.
We were dropped off and made our way slowly down a forest track in the grey gloom of the morning. We were going to spot which we could wait and call overlooking a large natural bowl.
The boss said we are after roe and muntjack, as we waited and the boss called I spotted a munty just 30m in front of us, then he went and then came back. Never quite stopping enough for a shot or stopping behind a tree.
The boss wispered ' shout at him when he comes clear of a tree' Now I thought he was going to shout and he thought I was going to. I had the munty in the scope as he moved trhough the wood, he came clear but a twig was in my vision so no shoot. He moved again and tehn came clear. 'Oi' came from behind me and the munty stopped. Bang. the 30-06 dropped him where he stood. Slightly quatering away so a good entry taking all orangs but alao the far shoulder..
A quick gralloched and he was hung in a tree to collect later. A pic or 2.
We then stalk around teh rest of the wood, plenty of sign everywhere but the deer were not playing this morning as the boss would of liked. We were getting eaten alive and I almost lost the boss down a badger hole hidden in the bracken.
We heaed back to the RV point to be collected by Dom ( who had a doe under his high seat and a couple of munties ). I went to collect the small buck we had shot and the boss and Dom said we will look for a roe buck out on the stubbles on the way home.
Into the truck and off looking in every gate way with graas fields and stubble looked over but nothing showing so far.
As we were heading towards a junction I spotted a roe out in a field by the corner of the road. We turned of and parked up in the next gateway. The boss got out and made his way down the hedge towards the deer. He looked back to us and thumbs up. Right out with rifle and the mag and off to the boss. Got to him and he said ' Off you he's down there'.. No pressure.
So I crwaled on hands and knees down the headland. All I could see was the tips of his antlers below the brow of the slope. I had left my sticks and my bins in the hurry to get out of the truck.
Then I spotted a doe with him so I now had two pairs of eyes to look out for, slowly , slowly I got close enough to deploy the bi-pod to take a prone shot, but still had to get into a slightly better position as they were still in the dip. Then the doe made her way towards the hedge and he followed slowly after her. They were now slighty up the slope on the far side offering a good backstop. He then turned to give a perfect broadside shot. Safty off, pressure on the trigger, crack. Good reaction and he made 20m and looked around. I was confident in the shot placement but he just didn't think he was hit. He made his way over to the road hedge and layed down.. The boss beckoned me back and we gave him 10mins to lay up. We got the truck and drove down. Rifle out, sticks(this time), round in the chamber and safety on. No need for a follow up as he was dead. No eye reaction. He was gralloched and both lungs were taken out (a little high and back but both shot out)
Photo's taken and back for a great breakfast from Pippa. Bucks were lardered and deatails recorded.
Once again Dom it was great to stalk with you and the boss. No doubt you will catch up with the hampshire buck, as he would be a fitting trophy for any wall.
No all I need to do is get you onto a Hereford roe or fallow