One of my Garden Machinery clients recently found out that I was a stalker and that I have also been a stalking guide for over 15 years. He asked me if I would take out his son for his birthday.
"Of course " I said, " Has he shot a deer before? "
"No. But he has shot rabbits with a .22."
"Okay, well first we'll need to get him shooting to check out his marksmanship skills."
"Can you take his brother out too?"
"Yes, but only one at a time."
We arranged for a practice session on his estate with the two boys, the father and myself.
First came the obligatory safety talk. Explaining that rifle bullets are still dangerous at 2 miles.
"Really !!" they said
Next came the practice. I had decided that the moderated .243 was going to be the rifle to use. Although a little heavy it meant that they wouldn't have to worry about recoil.
The target practice went well with both boys needing very little tutoring. They were both easily hitting a 3' circle at 75 yds. Then with the last 7x bullets I decided to up the anti and put them into a head to head shoot off, no help from me, unassisted, any position shooting, closest to the bull wins. I took the diplomatic route, It was a draw.
We arranged for the first stalk to take place on the 1st of November.
"I'll be here at 5.00am" I said.
"5.00!!" The father said " You don't stalk in the day, like in Scotland on the hill"
" No, different type of stalking. The roe will be tucked up in the woods during the day. Dawn and dusk for Roe."
1st November, I pulled up at 4.55am. The weather wasn't the best so dawn was going to be a little later. Enough time for a coffee.
After a quick cuppa, we set off.
We quickly checked one small piece of ground, nothing.
On to the next. Still a little darker than I would like for a first timer. But we get out and start checking. The winds not great. A little gusty and changeable too as were in a wooded area. Dammit, we bump a doe after stepping just a few meters into the field, bloody wind. We check out the rest of the farm, but it's either got cows, s--t or sprayed off fields.
Okay let's try another piece, it's got a plantation, theres always deer in there. We arrive and instantly see-------cows in the field that leads to the plantation. My heart sinks, but we must go on. I must get him something. We stalk in. This time the wind is much better as we are on higher ground, but we have to stalk alongside the mature wood that they tend to sleep in. We approach the plantation edge and as we clear the hedgerow I stop dead in my tracks. I gesture to him that there is one 50m ahead. I get the sticks up but tell him to wait.
"Theres bound to be more" I say. "She doesn't know were here, so let's take our time and wait to see what else moves."
Sure enough another one that was concealed behind a tree moves. It's a buck and it's already cast and is showing 2-3' of growth. I start to scan the rest of the plantation and then spot another doe with a buck fawn only 30m from us looking straight at us.
"Okay," I say to him, "We need to get a move on because, there's a doe standing right there looking at us. If she takes off we've had it. When that doe (the 1st one we saw) clears into that row of trees ( I point to the row of trees) remember front leg with the cross hairs , come up to the middle of the body and pull the trigger. When you're ready"
He got on the sticks, his trigger hand elbow planted on my shoulder. She cleared the trees and the rest is history.
The shot placement was perfect and the hole you can see in the pic is the exit. I was chuffed as it was the first kill on my new rifle, with a new hand load. A quick gralloch and home to a beaming mother and father, and envious brother. But hey, it was the boy's birthday, his 1st stalk and his 1st deer, 1st kill for new rifle and new load.
Sadly his brother did not fair nearly aswell in the evening despite taking him to one of my better areas. But then I already have a return booking for December when they get out of school for the Xmas break.