I arrived in north Lincolnshire after a journey of heavy rain and stationary motorway traffic. I was welcomed by Steve and his family and we had a brew. We went out to a local quarry to zero my rifle as I had only spent very limited time with it since having a T8 fitted. it was raining hard and very windy as we set up some targets.
I used front of the 4x4 and my folded gun bag as a rest, the T8 was firmly screwed up. I always enjoy the loading phase its a time of anticipation of things to come. I loaded with Barnes X bullets, copper home loads 130gr, with 55gr (could be 52gr) of powder in Pivi used cases. The 3 shots resulted in a 1.5inch group 1 inch high. Steve was happier than I was he pointed out the blustery wind and that it was buffeting the truck. I fired 3 more with the same result. Then tried 3 facory Pivi rounds which came in about half inch high. I also smoothed out my trigger pull as I had a tendency to snatch some of the shots. Perhaps because the T8 makes it much sweeter to shoot, less recoil and muzzel flip I am less concerned about shooting it, something definately to watch out for.
So rifle ok, copper home loads ok with the T8 time for a pint.
4 am came round quickly, still wet and windy. We were hoping for a clear bright morning. Flask of coffee and off to the ground. Which is a mix of arable with some scrub woodland boardered by mature woods.
We started out into some fields of peas, with rifle safety and being quiet at the top of my thoughts. steve lead and he soon pointed out some slots. These were old and had been blurred by the rain. The sky brightened in the east and gradually the rain passed as we sheltered in a dip between two fields with good canopy cover and had a coffee. Steve took the piss out of my stalking bag, a £3 shoulder bag from the garage, he referred to has my handbag. till he did approve the contents, need to add a couple of S hooks.
we moved on crossing a big steep sided ditch. I wondered why Steve offered to carry my sticks just before we got there. As he made a stable decent using them, I slipped around on the mud. Another lesson learned. More slots, they are smaller than I expected, but Roe are much smaller than the Reds I see driving through Chatsworth. We went slowly and carefully using the binoculars frequently, being very slow and careful at gates, gaps, rises and corners. in the woods Steve showed me where a buck had frayed a sapling and the area infront of it where he had stampped his feet. Again I assumed this was done to larger trees and higher up, so learning more all the time. I'd also thought of deer as they appear in pictures, head up alert, rather than normally head down walking and grazing.
We came to a more sandy area and here there were clear fresh slots, leading from a clearly worn path from the woods, we followed this into a woodland rise, stalk slow then slower still, this lead us to a field of beans.
We moved forward, then Steve gestured down, two doe's emerged from a ride to the left at the end of the field, I was looking for a buck, they came straight towards us for quiet away. They were twins, they stopped, played about a bit, then scented us and were off. But it was fantastic to see wild deer so close.
Steve showed me the grazed off tips of low bushes that i would never have recognised before.
I had had such a good day, thanks Steve.
A lot learned and unluckyly no buck, leave that for another day, loads to learn but enjoying it so much.