Having had a paricularly lean season at the bucks, I sent a pm to Roedinator last week after seeeing his post for some Roe Stalking. I booked a trip out after a cull buck for tonight; the promised mini-heatwave had my expectations running high, but by this morning heavy showers were forecast to set in by midday.
I drove down to North Somerset through continuous rain, and expected a call from Pete at anytime to say we'd better reschedule, but the phone remained silent. I arrived at his place just before 6pm, and after a quick coffee we were off. He has a block of about 3,000 acres of rolling ground, which is a mix of woodland, arable & pasture...which is more than enough to wake the green eyed monster in most of us.
We drove a short distance before pulling off the main road and parking on the edge of a field of barley. After quickly loading the rifle and gathering my sticks, we stalked around the barley & the adjacent field of maize. The rain looked like it was set in for the evening, and I thought my chances of breaking my duck we were getting slimmer as each drop fell.
We then went through a hedge, dodging brambles and dropping into a ditch, before scrambling up the other side and climbing over a barbed wire fence. I was barely clear of the wire, before Pete signalled to get down. I couldn't see a bl**dy thing, but was scanning through my bino's hoping to spot whatever it was that Pete had seen. Within what seemed a few seconds, Pete whispered "shoot it", rising slowly and setting up the sticks at the same time, I finally saw a yearling buck moving through the crop within 30 yards of us. It continued on it's way as I watched it through the scope; a whistle from Pete brought it to a halt and I was able to take a clear chest shot. The buck dropped were it stood and, after a hand shake and a brief wait, we walked over to find it lying still.
As Pete hung the buck from a nearby tree and gralloched it, I thought that the evening's stalking was probably at an end. No chance - we continued around the surrounding fields...not easy when my cheap bino's were so misted with the rain that the naked eye was the better option. We only saw a solitary doe, however, despite trying the buttalo. Having the buck, we headed a mile or so down the road to a high seat next to a large wood. As we drove down the track, we disturbed a doe and her twins. Parking up, we scouted around the edge of a couple of pasture fields before climbing into the high seat. This looked promising; the rain had almost stopped, and we had a good view along several hundred yards of woodland edge. A doe and her fawn were visible in the next field, and as the sun set, I expected to see more deer moving out into the open to graze.
Surprisingly, we didn't see anything, despite Pete trying the call several times. Failing light meant an end to the evening, and we headed back to hang the buck in the larder. Another coffeee and I was away home to dry the rifle and have a large glass of rioja.
It was a great evening and, as someone who still as a lot to learn, I found it very useful to stalk on different ground with an experienced stalker. A tripout with Pete is highly recommended....now, I wonder if I'd better give the rifle just one more rub over with kitchen roll!