I ventured over the severn bridge today, to go and visit HME at his fantastic range - Corinium Rifle Range, before going out for an evening stalk with the intended quarry being a Fallow buck.
Having zeroed the 270wsm, with Nosler 130gn Ballistic Tips, and also trying some Accubonds of the same weight, which rather usefully shot to the same point of impact as the Ballistic Tips, we donned our stalking gear, and drove to one of the estates that Paul manages.
Having gauged the wind, we planned to go and have look at a plantation, where we had glassed deer, from the other side of the valley, just minutes previously.
As we made our way from the vehicle to begin our stalk we both heard the clank of a metal gate, wondering whether there was a deer there, we headed that way slowly to find 2 fri**in walkers, who had just walked through where we were planning to stalk. Paul, very 'politely' pointed out that they were miles from any footpath and had effectively screwed up our first stalk, they couldn't have been less bothered or apologetic.
Paul quickly called on plan B, which was to go to another part of the estate, and work our way into the wind around the edge of a couple of absolutely huge fields, and eventually end up on the side of a valley over looking a wooded area, where the deer are known to cross from one area to another.
After a couple hundred yards we both saw a lovely roebuck, who was feeding, ambling his way away from us, sadly offering no shot, but good to see nevertheless.
We continued working our way along the edge of a fenced plantation, when Paul's dog Poppy started showing interest, and was pointing ahead. We slowed to first gear, and heard the grunting of a Fallow Buck but never caught a glimpse of him.
Again we continued, to a narrow ride, where there were fresh scrapes and slots, so anticipation was high as we rounded a corner to come to a large open field, I caught a glimpse of 2 deer in the field, not the fallow we were after, but a Roe Buck chasing a Doe so intently he hadn't noticed us coming to the edge of the field, " They're false rutting - fantastic" exclaimed Paul in his finest Yorkshire/Gloucestershire hybridised accent. Up went the sticks, down went the safety catch and the WSM barked, the buck leapt in the air, and ran out of our sight, I called the shot as a good chest shot, and we moved to the corner of the hedge to see, only to be met with the sight of a buck and a doe in the stubble about 120 yards away!!!
Amazed, confused, surprised, we both glassed for the buck we expected to be lying dead, but saw nothing, we were sure we hadn't seen 2 bucks and could only conclude that the buck we saw standing with the doe, was the buck I had hit. I was now doubting myself, and thinking I had missed, the buck was still standing, the doe still milling about, not particularly bothered, something was not quite right I thought to myself.
As soon as we agreed the buck had to be the one I had shot at, I shot again, this time the buck dropped on the spot, I lit a fag, to give him a couple of minutes, and neither of us could work out what had happenned. Fag smoked, we approached the deer and confirmed he was dead, we checked the beast and found only one entry/exit wound, so concluded there had indeed been 2 bucks. I was to drag the buck to the edge of the field while Paul took Poppy to search for the second. As I took hold of the the front legs to drag the buck, I saw the first shot had 'zipped' across the brisket. I called Paul back, and all became clear, I had pulled the shot slightly forward/low, which caused the reaction to the shot, but was obvioulsy not a 'Killing' shot, hence the appearance of the 'second' buck which was indeed the 'first buck'.
Gralloching done, the carcase was delivered to the impressive larder, and we returned back to the cars before driving home.
I have to say a huge Thanks to Paul, for his time at the range, a well organised and thoroughly recommended facility, and also for a cracking stalk, with great scenery, sights and sounds, and an abundance of deer. And a great stalking outfit with fair, transparent pricing.
I guess it just goes to show that deer really are wild, that they don't read our books on shot reactions, and sometimes even the expected outcome is not the one that is glaringly obvious with hindsight (pardon the pun).