I pitched up for an evening high seat recently in Hampshire. Unfortunately the forecast was not the best with a rapidly moving weather system coming in with some high winds. Nonetheless the rain and very serious wind held off enough to get out to the high seat that was set amongst a coppice wood that was the object of the my guard duty. The shots here were pretty close- really all under 100m; I spent a little time still confirming where I could shoot and not shoot before getting into the tree.
Anyway up the ladder and situated. “Hey this feels pretty good up here”, I thought. I could see the odd pheasant, then a rabbit. "Okay getting tuned in". Then five minutes into it and there was some movement off to the left as a crazy arsed melanistic fallow doe came bashing right through the coppice and across the ride where I could shoot but at full tilt actually looking a bit spooked. The wind was getting up. Then hot on her heals was another about the same and I could see another. I thought, “sh*% that's a bit quick!”. I whistled to pull them up to no avail. They were really looping around and diving a full speed. But I did catch sight of a slower sister still in summer coat trotting along behind out of the brush. I whistled again with no effect of pulling her up, but she was moving pretty slow and I was only 35 to 40 m away. I put the crosshair on her shoulder and let one off. She stopped momentarily before springing off into the coppice wood. I sat there for five minutes waiting as I was told to get two if I could. This was well advised as the three crazy melanistic fallow did come back across the ride even closer but they were really moving now, I mean bounding, like sort of flying. I was tempted, but they were moving way too fast. I was still focused on the mental image and the reaction of the fallow doe I thought I had hit. Unload the rifle and down the tree.
There were a few bright drops of blood into the woods, welcome as not much else could be forensically discerned at the shot site excepting a little hair and that pretty well blew away in front of many eyes. Another and another spot of blood, but hard to see in the evening light. I stopped 10 metres in and scanned with the binocs. I could see the hoped for light shape on the ground in there another 40m away. It was kind of thick coppicing with brambles so not the easiest to get through, but with rifle ready the shape slowly turned into a downed deer stone dead. She was 90lbs. or so live weight I think, maybe slightly less, maybe more. Anyway I could drag her pretty easy but had to source a route back out as the entry through the coppicing was not an option. I gralloched her on the ride out in the open.
Then as it all happened so early, back up the tree for another, maybe. The wind started to pick up more seriously then. The creaking and groaning oak limbs made me a bit uneasy as it seemed all the other animals in the wood too. More bunnies were hopping about but not having fun. Then the pheasants started to appear from all over. There was a pen behind after all. It was starting to get dark. They started peeping to each other calling in a convention under my tree. I still kept up my vigil and thought that maybe the pheasants could be my sentries if anything else big were to swing by. But no further luck, the wind was putting everything down. Just when it was getting really dark towards the time when I should call it quits, one pheasant made the characteristic burst up into a tree to roost. This surprised me on account of all the wind. Still there was another and another. Maybe the wind is not as bad as foxes? I figured then this might be the other real reason for this particular high seat. Not long and most of the birds were up to roost. It was only then that one of the bast*@£s try to land on my head! I waved an arm and sent him elsewhere. For a moment I fancied myself a modern day version of the Green Man and came on down.