my first ever roe
A little story of how came across my first Roe deer
I went out 1st Aug to look for a nice fallow buck as I have been getting withdrawal symptoms from stalking and the freezer was bare of all my venison , I took my father with me as he is my normal accompanying stalking partner.
I had to change the stalking route as my father has recently had a very major back operation he can walk all day on the flat, but up or down hill can cause him a lot of discomfort and pain, he hasn't been out shooting with me for a while and was missing it a lot.
The area we stalk I have only seen Fallow but the farmer and the gentleman whom has stalked there for an age says there are Roe and some Munties
I live about an hour away from the stalking ground and all the way up we came across sporadic showers broken by a little bit of sunshine so I was praying for things to clear up a bit. At the ground we got ourselves sorted and set off at a very leisurely pace .
The ground we went to was a large spine of woodland with fields broken off to the sides , we set off along the track, and my plan was a walk to check out some fields at the back of the wood and on the way there was a chance of picking up a fallow buck in the wood as we walked.
We walked very quietly talking and enjoying the country side ,in my mind I was almost certain that the deer would be on the back fields and we would set up there and wait for them to come out in for the evening, this way my father can rest his back as we wait .
We came across a good very good deer track with many fresh slots of different sizes this looked a good well used deer path, there was a quick discussion of should we set up close to this area to catch one crossing or stick to plan ,we stuck to plan .
The sky was getting darker with rain clouds and it looked like a good downpour was on the cards I told myself just enjoy the walk ,its also broken up dad's day with getting him out from under my mothers feet. we had been walking about 20 minuets not a long way as we have been stopping regularly and glassing the areas, we walked an old track/path which was raised slightly above and close to fields to the left hand side of the wood , you could see through the foliage to check out the fields to the side. My father was 10-15m behind me as we walked
We walked a few minute like this then my heart almost stopped, I could see at no more than 30m in front of me in some slight cover what looked like a very large Roe buck with a good set of antlers, he was standing there looking at me body quartering away but head and shoulders facing me
He was stood under the cover of an overhanging holly bush I couldn't believe my eyes I genuinely had to take a second look , all I could see at was the wonderfully russet ginger colour of him stood in the overhanging cover looking back at me, he looked absolutely wonderful in an almost portrayal poise .My mind was running at light speed now , I know he see me or can make out a large realtree figure of some kind and he is going to be on his toes in a short while .
I realised the shot if it was on would be going to be through a bit of hazel leaf then a bit of holly cover not a lot but enough for my now panicking mind to consider.
The Roe buck looked absolutely magnificent and in A 1 top condition I genuinely consider not shooting him for what seems like an age as he looks so good , next thing I know the rifle is at my shoulder safety is off and I am looking at this outstanding animal at 8 x magnification . I don't consciously remember mounting the rifle .
With both eyes open I find the cross hairs on his chest I re check the back stop and obstructions with both eyes ,them for what was most probably tenths of a second but seemed like an age I admired the deer standing there .
I had to make a conscious effort to stop looking at this deer and take the shot, I took the pressure up on the trigger and then one hell of a loud BANG . all the rifle noise from the shot is bouncing back off the cover at me even with a mod on it was very loud . I lost my sight picture of the shot with it being took freestanding I didn't hear any impact and cannot see the deer anymore. Its now flapping time ,running through my mind was did the bullet deflects off the small twigs and leaves and miss or worst cases injure this animal .
In my mind I am running through all though articles I have read about how the .243 is a flightily little bullet and can be deflected by spider webs , did I miss him through poor marksmanship and he's run off ,or has he dropped to the shot and I cannot see him in the cover from the area I was at .
I would have to back track a little way to check where he was stood but was conscious that if the deer was down but not dead would me crashing through the undergrowth bump him up and off again all this going through my little mind at once . its only then that I hear my father calling my name, He tells me all he sees is me stop for a second raise the rifle and shoot in one movement and he is 10-15 m behind me and doesn’t see the deer .
I stop get my breathing ,check the time of the shot ,have a visual look from my position ,tell my father of what I saw and we sit down and wait 10 minuets this is the longest 10mins I have ever waited I run through in my mind the shot where the deer was stood where I think it would go. I run through all the little test I have done with shooting at targets through different types of cover to see if there were any bullet deflections which I never found any.
For that10minuits I go over and over the shot and all the possible outcomes in my mind also discuss them with my father. Its now time to look for the deer , we have to back track a little to get to an entrance way to the field where the deer was. I had planned on going to the holly bush where the Roe buck was stood search the area for sign of the shot or the deer and if not there carry out a systematic search of the area .
I get to the gate climb it to get a better raised perspective and to my joy I can see the buck down in the grass , I walk over to him and find he is hit exactly where I aimed and he only travelled 25meters from where he was shot. I check him over on the ground and that’s where I get a true reflection of how magnificent he is . I had a real pang of guilt at shooting him as the buck was in perfect condition with what I consider to be a great set of antlers .
When I picked him up I was shocked at his size he was bigger and heavier than I expected it was then into the woods for a full gralloch, the bullet had hit him low in the neck and with his body quartering the bullet passed through the top of the lung cut the top of the heart and arteries and exited through the 2nd lung out of the rid cage. I have never seen an animal bleed out into the chest cavity as much there was pints of the stuff.
He was hung to bleed and we had a little toast of sloe gin in honour and respect of the buck this is something I have done since starting stalking not that many moons ago, as this was going on the heavens opened up in a torrential down pour .We were ok as sheltered in the trees, 20 minutes later the rain stopped and we decided to call it a day and head back we managed to miss the showers and got back to the car bone dry .
At the car I am both elated and feeling pangs of guilt at taking this magnificent animal I have taken a few Fallow in my short stalking life but I felt a little bit different with this Roe buck, is it the Fallow are shot at longer ranges or I have more time to sort out the shot or perhaps its because it my first Roe deer I have seen (apart from Roe deer seen off M4 )don’t know but I was getting mix emotions.
The ride home was us both chattering and celebrating with my fathers new found love vanilla thick shakes from Mc Donald’s. At the house I removed the head and legs then weighed him I was surprised to find the buck weighed 53lbs .
I have since boiled out the head for the antlers I am being a bit hypocritical here I am not a trophy collector or hunter all my Fallow antlers go to a lad in the village for walking sticks but the antlers of the buck looked fantastic and I am going to mount them .
I am looking forward to tasting the Roe buck as I have only eaten Fallow this I find fantastic and from what people say at how Roe is better I think I’m in for a treat .
He is hanging in the chiller as I type and will be there for a few more days yet , I hope that the ground I shoot has munties as well as with the Roe I have only seen these off the M4 I like the idea of hunting the lone smaller deer type and chuffed to bits at my getting a not just a roe but a good one at that .
I am going to as admin to post pics i will email to them
Hope you enjoyed the long read ………………neil
Cracking write up Neil.
I think that will stick with you forever.
Nice one mate. Nice to see the respect these and all animals deserve.
spot on 8) great write up m8
Brilliant write up Neil a refreshing change to hear someone truly humbled by the experience, well done.
thanks for all the comments gents greatly appreciated.
just to add i have today skinned and butchered the roe i recovered bits of the bullet there was total jacket core separation and found the outer jacket under the skin. bullet was a 100gr 6mm sierra gameking
i cant complain the deer went down within 25m of the POI and at the range of the shot the bullet would be doing a fare lick of speed , i have use this bullet on far bigger fallow but at longer ranges .
most inportant part i fryed up the fillets today ,salt ,pepper ,bit of garlic they were outstanding a real treat...neil
Originally Posted by griffshrek
I thoroughly enjoyed your article and sharing in your enthusiasm mixed with respect and regret for the marvellous buck. This mixed emotion is a difficult thing to explain, even to oneself, so I find articles like yours both heartening and reassuring.
I am fairly new to stalking and have always stalked with a mentor. The other thing I realised from your article is the pleasure of being able to share an experience, such as your roebuck stalk, with a someone else of like mind. So while I aspire to be able and competent to stalk independently (which is someway down the track as I have so much to learn) I think you have highlighted the value of sharing the experience with a fellow stalker even if you are stalking different parts of the ground and meet up for breakfast!
Sharing the experience with your Dad is pretty special - sadly I doubt I will get to experience that but it is a lovely idea.