Been some time since 223 ran his free stalk competition early this year, but I sent in my name and was lucky enough to be pulled out of the hat for a stalk with charlie 1. This was to take place on Charlie's ground in aberdeenshire, hence the delay in taking up the stalk - as i live in Essex and so had to wait till I was up in scotland with the family.
After a lot of help from Charlie with various things this year, including advice about getting my FAC and sorting out some problems I had with my first rifle, we finally arranged a mutually convenient date for the stalk. Charlie really bent over backwards to help, but as i was (supposed to be) on a family holiday, rather than a stalking trip I was restricted to one day with Charlie. As luck would have it we chose the 13th September (last thursday) and agreed to meet at his house at about 7.
I made good time from our accomodation so was with Charlie a little early, I was very keen but given that it was pi##ing it down with rain we were not too optomisitc about our chances.
Some of the ground charlie stalks is accessible by 4x4 so we had a bit of a drive around to see if there was anything about, after taking a tour of his ground near his home and seeing nothing other than a doe who was laying amongst some barley, he recommended we drive about 20 mins to another area where the Roe seemingly aren't so bothered by the bad weather (he thought this might be as it always seems to be bad weather there).
We parked the 4x4 in the access track, which runs through a small wood and then walked down the track for a 100y or so and through a metal gate. This lead us to the bottom of this permission which I can best describe as a hill with a wood area on the left (facing up the hill) and grass fields to the right, with an old farm track up the centre. The track had some bushes here and there but was by no means well covered for its entire length. A ruined steading sat at the top of the track and above this more trees and at the hills summit another area of grass.
As we started up the track Charlie spotted a Roe Buck near the top of the hill, I was very excited and suprised (as it was still raining hard), we thought the Roe hadn't seen us but as we crept up the track to try and get close enough for a shot the buck crossed to the other side of the field. The buck didn't appear to be spooked, but was a little further than i would have been confident of shooting - so charlie suggested we close the distance by coming through the steading and stalking closer.
We crossed behind the steading and over a fence, then crept across the field to get in range of the Roe. We finally got to around 100y of the buck, but by this time it was on top of a rocky outcrop with the only backdrop being a farm some distance beyond (hmm not quite a safe shot then). We waited for a very tense few minutes until the buck came down and moved into a shootable position......only for it to run off before a shot could be made. At this point we were a bit disappointed but i suppose it goes like that sometimes. At least I had plenty of time to admire the buck through my bins while it was doing it's mountain goat impression.
We then stalked the rest of the permission without result and looked at a couple of other spots that Charlie thought might hold possibilites but to no avail.
Back to Charlies for a spot of lunch - he had made some tomato soup the previous evening (amazing what some people get up to after a few beers!), and a bit of a chat. At this point I think we were both ready to give up as the weather showed no sign of improving, so we didn't really rush to get back out. The sky eventually seemed to lighten so Charlie suggested we go out and have another try.
We went for another drive about but quickly decided to try back at the ground we had seen the buck on in the morning. We arrived back there and I half expected to see the buck again in the field as before, but as we climbed the track there was no sign of the roe.
We then left the track and turned left into the wood, which we stalked through all the way to the top of the hill. There were signs of roe everywhere (which Charlie was pointing out to me - I found this very educational), but no sighting of actual deer. We eventually came to the end of the woods and onto another field which rose to near the summit of the hill then circled behind it to join the field where we saw the roe in the morning. We stalked up the hill (it had now started to rain heavily again) and round the back where we stopped to discuss our options. We were both of the opinion that we should call it a day as the weather definitely looked to be getting no better. As we were about to move off, Charlie went very still and said 'don't move'. I knew he must have seen something good and instinctively started to turn my head, at this point charlie said not to move at all. Finally (as charlie told me later) the Roe put his head down and charlie said to kneel, which we both did. At this point we were infront of a grassy bank so not really visible to the buck unless we moved. The buck was around 85y away in the edge of a wooded area and moving slowly from right to left pausing here and there.
I tried to get positioned on my bi-pod but could not see the deer due to the ground falling away in between us and the buck, so I compressed my adjustable sticks (the cheapo one from bushwear!) and was able to get set-up for a sitting shot. After the day I had had and a little bit of buck-fever (never shot a roe before) I rushed the shot a bit. I lost sight of the Roe as I shot and also got a bit confused over which tree it had been standing by .
We definately head the bullet hit though and it sounded like a hard hit, so we waited a few minutes while still in the aim (safety on) in case the shot was bad. Eventually Charlie suggested we go have a look, so I placed my sticks on the ground lined up with where I thought the Roe had been when I shot and we went towards the area where the deer was last seen. We got to the tree I thought the Roe had been by when I shot and I was very upset by not seeing any sign of the deer. Charlie then said he thought I had been wrong on the location of the Buck by about 10 feet, I turned round and there he was right next to us!!!!
I checked eye-blink etc and then it was time to celebrate. The shot had gone a little higher than i was aiming but was good enough to drop the buck on the spot.
Charlie then took me though the gralloch (he actually did it all to be honest) and we carried the beast back to the car.
Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me and the only photo's I have were after the head was removed but i'll try to put one on.
Charlie is kindly cleaning the skull for me and i'm going to hang it on the wall. Very excited as it's my first Roe and first Buck.
Charlie was very kind to offer me the stalk, and I'm very grateful for the time and effort he put into the day - and the knowledge I gained will i'm sure help greatly in the future.
PS - charlie makes great venison sausages as well!Attachment 19248Attachment 19247