I have just completed my first DSC2 stalk with an approved witness. As part of the process I am required to write a 'candidate narrative'. As I can't find any examples online and have little or no guidance what is required I decided to post my draft narrative to this forum. I have removed information that can ID the farm or AW. I would much appreciate your feedback!
DSC2 STALK NO: 1
DATE: WEDNESDAY 22ND AUGUST 2012
APPROVED WITNESS: MR ...
EQUIPMENT: .243WIN BOLT ACTION RIFLE; 100 GRAIN EXPANDING FACTORY AMMUNITION; MODERATOR; 6X42 FIXED POWER SCOPE; BINOCULARS 7X50
This farm and land was unfamiliar to me as it was the AW who holds the deer stalking rights. Deer believed to be present on this farm is just roe, however in the wider area (within approx. 10Miles) all species except for CWD are found, but mainly Roe, Muntjac and Fallow.
This dairy farm has been registered organic for over 10 years. Many of the pastures retain the ridge and furrow pattern which developed in the middle ages. The various fields and pastures are gently sloping providing excellent views and backstops in many places, and are offset by very thick hedges, brooks and deep ditches, providing great habitat for wildlife. However main roads, bungalows and farm buildings are visible from almost anywhere on the farm, and a public footpath runs across the land, so safety is of the utmost importance.
On arriving on the farm at approx. 6.30PM the AW asked me to get my equipment ready and we walked some 500 yards to a vantage point where we discussed the lay of the land, assessed the wind direction and agreed on the general route we would follow over the land. At this point I under-loaded my rifle (Stage 3- see ‘D.I. Best Practice guides)) and with an empty chamber and closed bolt but full magazine (5 rounds) the stalk commenced. Also, at this point I released I had left a small shoulder bag with my gralloching equipment in the car, I suggested I should go back to the car before proceeding, however it was agreed that as we would be within approx. 1/2 mile from the car at any point of the stalk we would deal with that if and when we would cull an animal, which we both didn't really expect as the land had been quite unproductively lately and the weather conditions averse. We proceeded along the agreed route, roughly upwind as much as possible and in a long semi-circle following hedges, ditches and crossing through to the next fields taking care to carefully scan the fields and hedgerows, and those in the next fields where possible. We spotted many brown hares and two foxes but found no sign of deer, not even tracks in the fresh mud, so at approx. 7.30pm I decided to find a suitable location for using the Buttalo call in the hope that we would still be able to interest a roe buck, despite it being towards the end of the rutting season- which never really started in this area. I found a shaded and sheltered area in a hedge with good views over several fields and hedge rows and proceeded to call using both the fawn and buck call alternatively for some 15min, but no deer showed.
We proceeded with the stalk in now fading light when we entered a new field and spotted a solitary roe buck browsing some 150 Yards away and upwind from us, gently moving directly towards us. I cycled a round into the chamber and applied the safety catch (Stage 4). We were at this point some 10 Yards from the shelter of the nearest hedgerow and quite exposed and in the open, and proceeded to 'freeze' whenever the buck seemed alert and looked at us, and moved to set up the shooting sticks and shoulder my rifle when the buck had his head down. I checked with the AW that this buck was a suitable cull animal and got confirmation I could take him if a shot presented itself. Using a x6 fixed power scope I would have preferred to take the shot from under 100 Yards but I felt that due to our very open and exposed position our movements could be spotted and I decided to use the Buttalo call to try to get the buck's interest in the hope he would get closer to us and present a better shot. However the buck did not respond to the call and was slowly browsing and now slightly angling away from us towards thick shelter, so when he stopped for a moment and presented himself broadside I took the shot aiming for the vital area (heart/lung), after checking again I had a safe back-stop. I felt the shot was good and was confident I had hit correctly, however the buck jumped up high and seemed to haunch its back and fled into thick cover. At this point its behaviour was as if it was gut shot. Immediately after the shot I reloaded another round, applied the safety catch, and we marked the point of the hit as well as the point where the animal went into cover (some 20 Yards from the P.O.I.). We slowly and gently proceeded to the P.O.I. and started looking for blood and pins, and at this point, in the fading light, I was not quite sure exactly where the buck had entered the cover. It took some 30min of searching the very thick hedge and ditch, using a torch light, before I found the animal, dead (confirmed with the blink test) in deep cover inside the hedge, some 30 Yards from the point where I believed it had entered the cover. I unloaded my rifle and made it safe. The shot placement had been good (vital area) within 2" left from the aiming point, the exit wound was slightly forward through the shoulder. I checked the carcass for signs of disease, ticks etc, and found it in excellent clean physical condition but with a 'head' which was not great, and spiky antlers which could easily lead to wounding another buck, therefore an excellent cull buck. I judged there was no need to 'bleed' the carcass as it was clear the shot was either hart or lungs and the chest cavity would contain all the blood. It was by now almost completely dark so I asked the AW to help me to carry the animal to the car, a walk of only some 10min. Once at the car I felt I shouldn't perform the gralloch in front of the farmers house on the car parking area -which was heavily contaminated with cow pats- and as we were only a 10min. car drive from the AW's house, and it was a cool night, we agreed to take the carcass in my carcass tray and perform the gralloch there under more hygienic and controlled conditions and with good light.
I removed the legs, accidentally cutting one of the sinews on one of the bag legs. The gralloch was duly performed (1. Oesophagus tied off; 2. Anus freed and tied off; 3. Rumen and intestines and other organs removed); on a carcass rack and under good light conditions; taking great care to remove the entire alimentary track without contaminating the carcass. Kidneys and liver were all normal. On removing the pluck the heart showed shot damage to the top but the lungs were intact. The lungs were normal. I inspected the various lymph nodes (Mesenteric, Gastric, Bronchial, Mediastinal, Portal) but decided to remove the head and inspect the Sub-maxillary and Retropharyngeal nodes at my own home after removing the antlers. I declared to the AW that I had found no abnormalities, that in my opinion the carcass was fit for human consumption, but as I had no intention on selling it on to catering or an AGHE there was no need to complete a Hunters Declaration. On arriving at my own home the carcass was hung in a cool drafty place, packed with freezer packs in disposable wrapping in the cavity and wrapped in a fly-proof cover, to be delivered to a local larder at 7AM the next morning, for approx. 1 week of hanging before skinning and butchering.