Bear with me as this is a long one!
Well I finally managed to get out on Friday evening & what a glorious evening it was, warm & bright & no breeze at all such a change from the 3 days of rain weíve experienced.
I had decided to start with a small field just opposite where my high seat is situated, on a number of occasions Iíve spotted a buck & doe feeding on the edge of a small copse in the middle of the field & guess they have been lying up there during the day. So after parking the Range Rover ľ mile down the track I slowly made my way to the edge of the field & peering over the tall grass bordering the track I couldnít see anything around so made my way to the gate.
All the gates on this farm are locked with padlock & chain as we used to get the estate gardeners kids joyriding around the fields on their quads & leaving all the gates open so they now have to be secured. I have a key so putting my rifle & sticks over the fence & quietly unlocked the gate & moved through, slung the rifle over my shoulder & picking up the sticks I turned to the end of the field where there is a small muckheap which I had decided to use as a screen. No sooner had I taken a couple of steps I saw a young roe standing right by the muck heap no more than 30 yards away. It was staring straight at me & must have been there as I was opening the gate. Has anyone tried to open sticks & un-sling a rifle without moving...........itís a real bugger I can tell you.
Anyway I managed to get the rifle up & looking through the scope I could see he was a pricket & decide to take him, just as I eased the safety off he moved away behind some tall grass & then unconcerned slowly dropped into the ditch, up the other side & through into the next door field. Fortunately this field is part of the land I picked up last week so I slowly moved to the ditch & limboed under the barbed wire noting the number of slots in the ditch & hair caught on the wire, they certainly use this route a lot. Once in the field I scanned around with the binoís but couldnít see any sign of him so I moved up the margin & under another wire fence into a large wheat field that had been half cut.
There in front of me was a lovely ginger doe standing about 60 yards away so I slowly moved up the right hand margin keeping as close to the bushes as possible, there was no sign of the pricket anywhere. I kept moving up the field margin looking behind every now & then & another doe came out of the hedge & started feeding not 20 yards away. I crouched & waited for 10 minutes to see if there was a buck with them but nothing appeared. I crossed from this field back onto my original piece of land & decided to move over to the track & scan all the fields bordering it. As I did so I spotted a buck & doe standing in the far end of the field with the high seat in so I moved closer only to see a very good buck feeding off the edge of the track.
Decisions decisions, I decided to stalk the track feeding buck which had just moved into the field so I made my way slowly up to where he disappeared. He was feeding with a doe 30 yards in amongst some tall grass so I set up the sticks & made ready & was waiting for them to move out of the grass when bugger me a bloke on a rattley bike came over the brow & down the track. I stood there rifle ready on the sticks looking at him as he passed & through gritted teeth said, ďhello lovely evening isnít itĒ he looked at me like I was a piece of crap & cycled on without a word. Of course the buck had vanished so dejectedly I started back down the track only to see the other two still feeding in the high seat field, he hadnít scared them off.
The only way into this field is by a gate near the seat so I moved down & climbed over as I didnít want to spook them with clanking chains & padlocks etc. I moved up the field margin shielded by pretty tall grass as this field has been left to its own devices. Half way up is a small stack of round bales wrapped in blue plastic I managed to get behind these without being spotted & climbed up only to see the buck follow the doe through the wire into the wood. Oh well itís not going to be my night I thought so I lit up a cigar & settled down deciding to giving it half an hour or so as it was nearly 8.00 oíclock & I hate having to grollach in the dark.
I kept peering over the bales to scan the field behind & to the left as I had a good view in front & to the right, about 15 minutes later there was a buck moving out of the wood & feeding slowly towards me. I dropped the legs on the bipod & lining up on him flicked off the safety he was standing not quite broadside on but it was a pretty good shot so I took it & heard the good thump of a hit & he dropped but immediately got up & started to slowly walk forward I had reloaded automatically so again placing the cross hairs just above & behind his front leg took another shot whereupon he dropped & lay still, I waited 5 minutes & paced out the distance to him which was 90 yards.
I could now see why he got up & moved off so soon, the first shot had entered above & behind his foreleg but as he was standing slightly askew the bullet had quartered through, missed the heart, gone through one lung & angling down had clipped the stomach. There was evidence of green around the exit wound so I was very careful with the grollach but luckily there was only a small amount of stomach contents around which washed out easily. I loaded him up & stopped at the pub for a celebratory pint, hung him over night & got up early Saturday, skinned him & he was at my friendly butcher by 8.30, pick him up Tuesday.
So it was an evening that started out so well, went downhill & then came good at the end & 8 is the most deer Iíve seen on one night to date.
The blue bales seen from the high seat
Quite a nice head