I recently acquired a relatively tiny new permission, from a farmer friend, and decided to go have a look around early on Sunday. It was one of those absolutely still Autumn mornings, with not a whisper of a breeze, when you're sure that the slightest sound must surely have announced your presence to any and all wildlife. It was still pretty dark when I arrived, but a bright moon meant I was able to make my way down to my favourite vantage point to sit back an watch the day awaken, and of await sufficient light to be facilitate quarry identification and backstop safety.
After a while, as i sat peacefully waiting, watching the owls head off back to their nests and be replaced by the crows and pigeons starting their day, the unmistakable sound of muntjac barking started. It was difficult to tell where the sound was coming from, but it sounded close in the still air. The land is where three small valleys join, and with woodland on the higher ground, and pasture on the low, sound tends to echo around. The barking went on for what seemed like forever, but was probably just 10 minutes, or so. I was sure I had been rumbled. As the day gradually dawned, it was now becoming bright enough to glass all around. Nothing was moving. I was sure I was going to draw a blank this morning. Then, I saw him.
Out from round the back of an old hawthorne on the opposite side of the valley came a muntjac buck. This was to be the first deer taken on my own, on my new permission, AND my first muntjac to boot. I quickly got my rifle up on the sticks, steadied myself against a post, and placed the cross hairs on the engine room. Soon enough, he paused in his slow meanderings long enough to send the 150gr SGK on it's way. The crack resonated round the valley as I saw the deer drop straight onto his side in the grass, unmoving. I quickly reloaded, applied the safety, and watched for movement. There was none. I unloaded, checked the time and decided to wait before moving towards him to allow him to expire in peace if he hadn't already, but after 10 or so minutes I set out to follow up with the gralloch and extraction.
So here he is, then. My first muntjac. Probably no medal winner, but unique amongst deer as far as I'm concerned.