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Thread: members of the public

  1. #1

    members of the public

    I was out stlaking yesterday evening looking for fallow. The particular ground is tricky as it is wooded valleys with grass and a track in each valley bottom. I arrived and had a drive around to see what was clear and where the mass of pheasants were. I then set off to stalk a likely spot.

    Within 500m I could see a fallow but couldnt tell what it was. I tucked into the treeline and stalked to 100m and it was a big pricket. However it was feeding towards me so i set up on the sticks and waited. It persistently refused to turn even a fraction. (I opted to avoid the frontal chest shot ) After a few minutes it looked up and stared past me.

    I looked back and there were 2 hikers coming along the road toward me. I assumed the deer would go to move off and I would take the shot. It didnt it just stood staring at them. They had clearly seen me but kept coming. The road has a slight curve so as they passed into the curve and out of view of the deer it relaxed again.

    Now I have real trouble catching up with the fallow on here and they hammer the feeders. It bacame clear the hikers were coming to join me, I flung up a hand gesturing "stop" and then held up 2 fingers (gesturing 2 minutes NOT the other). They stopped, I dropped prone (shot VERY SAFE), the deer saw my movement and looked up and I slotted him in the neck. He went straight down.

    I unloaded the rifle and walked back to them. I apologised for stopping them and explained I had a job to do. They thought I would be shooting foxes but I explained that it was a deer and offered that if they just gave me a minute I would remove it from view if it would be a problem. They said they were fine and walked forward and took a look at it. (the lady seemed a little perturbed it was still twitching but said she had no issue with humane kills but had been distressed once when a deer was hit by a car and the driver left it thrashing in the verge) Off they went and i went about my business.

    There is no public footpath where I was but it is not unusual to encounter walkers.

    A bit of a gamble reaction wise but a good result
    Last edited by shootingduckdog; 20-09-2012 at 09:56.

  2. #2
    I often shoot in some woods that the public have access to. I generally try to turn up early and do the shift before the dog walkers, cyclists, walkers and so on turn up, but there's always overlap at the end. I've found that sometimes, others just wave and walk by, sometimes they actually turn around and change course, sometimes totally ignore me, and some come up for a chat and ask questions because they actually want to know what the score is. After all, most people live in a world in which what w do is completely alien. I've only ever encountered one person who genuinely objected to our shooting, essentially on the ground that it was dangerous and that we might shoot her dog. She wasn't really prepared to be persuaded otherwise. She eventually persuaded the FC not to renew our roughshooting lease. They said that we'd done nothing wrong, but that they had to take on board the views of all the users of the woods. Fair enough, but annoying.

    Still, that's just one case. Everyone else is happy to rub along nicely. As am I. It's their wood too.

  3. #3
    I was doing one of my level 2 stalks where we had stalked quite away across clearfell to get this particular buck, I had got myself into position behind a bit of cover and was just about to pop up on my sticks to take the shot when I heard a squeak of brakes. I turned around to see my AW had put his hand up to stop a group of mountain bikers that were riding through the forest!. This definitely put me under pressure because not only did I have my AW watching me but also a group of members of the public! I really couldn't balls this one up!

    When my heart calmed down enough I took the shot, the deer went down and I waited for the agro from the mountain bikers but the reaction of the riders surprised me "cor, what sort of gun is that mate!" and "what are you doing here" all positive stuff!

  4. #4
    I've always found that if polite to MOP's and willing to engage with them you get very few adverse reactions. On a DIY pheasant shoot a few years ago we used to get a lot of dog walkers, one who had seen us shooting then later saw us on a work day, openly admitted he didn't know that we did other conservation work and habitat improvements. By explaining what we were doing and what we were hoping to achieve, and the potential benefits his perception of shooting changed for the better. I dare say there will be the odd person who takes offence but a simple 'Morning' makes it harder for them to complain.

    Credit to the OP for offering to move the carcass, a nice touch showing sensitivity to others, whilst portraying stalkers in a positive light.

  5. #5
    One of the reasons why I like wearing camo. In the wood, it is pretty much guaranteed I will see them before they see me. I have had people walk within 5 meters of me and know I and a Client was there. Its sad people head to the country but are so blind when they actually get there. I just let them go on their way none the wiser. Touch wood I have never had issues with any members of the public.

  6. #6
    Yes but if they did spot you, a bloke covered in camo suddenly appearing out of the bushes where he was clearly hiding with a gun is unlikely to create a favourable first impression. One of the reasons for which I don't like camo. Well, that I think it looks awful...

  7. #7
    As an aside what does facinate me is how many hikers/walkers must do so with their eyes shut!!! They had no idea I was shooting a deer and yet they followed the exact path I did and it was watching them!! seems such a pity to be out and about "for the exercise" and miss everything else

  8. #8
    A risk that went well for you but what if the hikers had been total antis. Yes you have permission to be there, yes you have the right to control deer, yes the shot was safe etc but what a load of grief you and possibly the landowner could have encountered. Personally I would have erred on the side of caution. In an ideal world I would expect antis to respect my right to stalk/control deer but in return I must respect their views. When you took this shot you had no idea as to the views of the hikers.

  9. #9
    SD i have to agree with Gazza a shot that was taken because of pressure is never a good way to manage deer were there is high public access. You are very lucky as it could have went so wrong.
    My opinion on this is you should have left that one go there is always a different day were the situation is more favorable.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingduckdog View Post
    As an aside what does facinate me is how many hikers/walkers must do so with their eyes shut!!! They had no idea I was shooting a deer and yet they followed the exact path I did and it was watching them!! seems such a pity to be out and about "for the exercise" and miss everything else
    I think that's partly a question of prorities and self-conditioning. When I'm out and about, I'm always looking out for signs of life: deer, birds, rabbits, and also mushrooms, berries, etc. Sometimes, I realise that's caused me to fail to notice the beauty of a view and the wider picture. It's what you knowingly or not atune your mind to. Depends what you're trying to achieve I suppose. Similarly I can't cross a bridge without stopping to try and spot fish in the water. Then you try to point them out to others and they just can't see them, they're looking at the same thing with different parts of their brain.

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