Simon collected me from home at about 0640 due to the snow, we then drove to A wood about 10 miles away because there are clearly marked rides. En route we made our plans for the morning, deciding to go to a highseat that covers three rides and and area of coppice. On our stalk to the seat there were signs of roe, fallow and muntjac everywhere, it was a real eye opener to see just how much movement there was off the usual racks.
Simon climbed into the seat first clearing off the four or so inches of snow, before we'd even managed to settle properly a roe doe appeared on the ride to our left and stared straight at us. Not wanting to move we sat it out hoping that she'd settle down, she didn't and about 30 secs later bolted across the track, followed shortly after by a promising buck, then a die kid. That was all the action we saw for the next hour, so decided to go for a ramble and try and warm up.
As we walked all the slots dis appeared, then as we reached a junction of three rides suddenly reappeared and it looked there'd been a party there last night. Simon then showed me an area, off the usual footpaths that had been clear felled, opening up an opportunity for another seat. We continued our stalk around the wood, all the time seeing masses of activity but no deer.
We then broke off a ride that I know well and picked up a ride that Simon has been clearing about 30m into the tree line, as we walked down the ride, Simon spotted a Munty cross. He was sure that he hadn't spotted us so we moved on slowly, then I spotted him, a good sized buck with visible brow tines, unfortunately he was staring in our direction. Expecting to take a kneeling shot, I shortened my sticks, then realised that even that didn't present a shot through the trees, moved slightly left. Much better, lengthened the sticks again and Simon passed me my rifle back, Simon still could not see him as he was obscured by a tree. I was firing between branches but picked my spot and squeezed the trigger, I saw him lurch back then run, I was sure I'd seen the bullet strike and it looked ok.
We gave it 5 mins or so and slowly moved forward, as we reached the spot where he was stood, we both saw a big lump of green in the snow with a small splattering of blood. My heart sank, I felt sure that the shot wasn't that bad but all the signs said otherwise. We scanned around and the there were spots of blood in his direction of travel indicating that the entry wound was bleeding. We gave it a good 10 mins before moving forward, following the fresh slots and disturbed leaf litter, for about 40m until we could see the cover getting thicker and didn't want to disturb him and make him run.
The one day that Simon had left his BMH at home was the day I really needed her. Simon called for her, so while we were waiting, we went and had a coffee. When the dog arrived we went back to the spot where I'd hit him and she was on his scent, she tracked right back to where we'd stopped then about 5m further on under some brambles there he was, no need for a follow up shot.
After a speedy gralloch (well speedy for me), It was clear that I was only one too far back, I checked over the lung and sure enough I'd taken out the bottom lobe of the entry side lung. Some good advice was if in doubt take out the shoulder because I won't loos too much meat on a Munty.
All in all a mixed day, great to be out in deep snow and see all the signs you wouldn't normally see, good to get what might have been a good buck (if not for a broken tip), disappointment for not killing him cleanly and great to see a dog track it quarry. So far my new rifle has accounted for 3 deer on 2 trips.