Despite having been a member here for two years, until yesterday I had never shot a deer. Now I can happily say that I have a nice 6 point Roe buck hanging in the garage, but I didn't get it on a stalk, and it wasn't with a rifle.
I can imagine that it might be a bit controversial, but it was with a shotgun.
Roe is the largest form of game that may be taken with a shotgun here in Denmark, and on driven shoots it is very common that they are taken in this way. The maximum legal range at which roe may be taken with a shotgun is 20 metres, and they recommend shot size two or bigger. According to the experts this should be just as effective as a rifle, and I must admit that I’ve yet to see any evidence to the contrary. Despite this, I personally feel that 20 metres is a long way with a shotgun, and have passed on quite a few ‘legal’ chances at roe in the past. The thought of wounding an animal and having to get hold of a ‘schweisshund’ (tracker dog), who may or may not be able to find it, is not something that I relish.
But, back to the story; I received a last minute invite to participate as a guest at a small shoot held by a friend’s consortium. There were only about 12 participants including the five who would be beating with their dogs.
On the first drive I was allocated a post at the edge of a wood looking across a field that sloped up to my left, at another wooded area about 80 metres across the field. The beaters would be beating in this wood, and hopefully driving any game towards us.
After about 10 minutes at my post, a flock of wood pigeons flew out of the wood facing us. Unfortunately they are not in season until November, so they could fly over us unmolested. Another few minutes passed, and this time my eye caught movement at the other side of the field. A roe buck came springing out of the treeline, angling slightly downhill towards me. I watched him come, the excitement building, but when he was about 35 metres away he spotted us and went to ground in a patch of tall grass and weeds. As I continued to look, I spotted glimpses of him as he ‘crawled’ through the grass. (I’m no expert on roe behavior, but I’ve never seen this kind of behavior before. Is it common?) Suddenly when he was perhaps 5-10 metres from the trees he jumped for cover and was gone. There was no way I could have taken the shot without compromising safety.
Another 10 minutes passed, long enough for the adrenalin to dissipate, then more movement caught my eye. It was another buck!
He angled slightly uphill away from me, and I was sure that he would present to one of the other shots, when he changed direction, heading for some bushes slightly to my right. On he came, 35 metres, gun up, safety off, 25 metres, 20, 15, BANG! “He’s still running!” I managed to think before pulling the trigger and firing the second barrel. This time there was no doubt, his momentum carried him on, but he fell like a sack of potatoes less than five metres from me.
I stood there shaking like a leaf. My first deer, a six pointer buck. What an experience! Now I’m going to have to get organized with some stalking soon…..