Had a good stalk with Herbert on a calm and sunny evening recently. The location was in West Herefordshire, in gently undulating farmland with orchards and small coppices. I was familiar with the area having both stalked and rough shot there with Herbert several years ago. We started off in a large orchard, and Herbert immediately spotted several Roe, but they must have seen or heard us as they made a hasty exit. We then stalked along a green lane, which bordered areas of orchard, coppice and scrub-land. It was a fantastic location, with the low sun illuminating everything with a golden glow, and only the sounds of the birds breaking the silence. There were plenty of signs of activity, with numerous fresh slots in the softer patches of ground, but we failed to connect with anything.
Herbert then took us over some more open ground and we moved slowly along the large hedges to a good vantage point where we could survey the local area. Herbert had had some luck there recently with clients, as the deer tended to lie up along the hedges, but there was nothing to be seen. We therefore retraced our steps, being mindful of the wind direction, and lay up for a while adjacent to a known transit route. Herbert had a scout around whilst I remained in-situ and quickly returned with news of several Roe in the adjacent scrub land. We stalked quietly along the connecting hedge-line, only to have a Buck break cover from only a few yards away and bound over to a small coppice about 100yards distant. The wind direction was now not in our favour so we took a circuitous route around the perimeter of the scrub-land, seeing 2 more does in the process, and carefully approached the coppice from the other side. I set up on the sticks whilst Herbert glassed the area and soon spotted movement at the far end of the coppice about 130yds distant. I could see the deer moving through the trees but there was not a clear shot. After a wait of about 5 minutes a doe emerged, shortly followed by a Buck. The doe was moving quite quickly but the Buck stopped for a few seconds and looked our way, allowing me to take the shot. There was a solid thump as the bullet hit, and the Buck jumped and ran about 20 yds before falling.
What followed was quite unusual. The Doe had stopped when I fired, and stayed where she was looking at the fallen Buck. She remained there for a few minutes, and then turned and proceeded to walk directly towards me and Herbert. She had obviously seen us, but continued to walk forwards us until she was only about 30yds away. She then stopped and looked directly at us for what seemed ages. She then tuned, and calmly walked parallel to where we were stood and disappeared into the hedge-line.
The Buck was in good condition, still with a bit of velvet on, and with a slightly deformed left antler but good pearling; I'll post some pics when I've sorted the head. This was a very enjoyable stalk, and Herbert certainly used his excellent knowledge of the area to produce a successful outcome. If anyone fancies some stalking in Herefordshire I can highly recommend Herbert's services. Biggles