On Monday evening after work I headed down to Somerset to meet up with ‘Benc’ for some stalking.
Now I met Ben for the first time when I won the auction that Basil ran for the children’s unit at Musgrove Park hospital. Since then Ben has very kindly invited me down on many occasions and I have shot a few deer with him, as well as this he has been coaching me and helping me get to a standard where I can feel ready /competent enough to complete my DSC level 2. His help has made a big difference to my stalking and I am extremely grateful!
On with the write up….. Arrived in Somerset Monday evening and within minutes we were sat at the table enjoying a nice Chilli con carne that Ben’s better half had prepared, washed it down with a cold beverage and headed out to zero the rifles. I had recently changed my scope so this needed to be done. After I established that some factory ammo I thought I would get rid of was all over the place I used some home loads and got the grouping I desired. We hadn’t planned to stalk this evening and as it was getting dark we didn’t have much time anyway but had a look around but nothing suitable showed.
The alarm went off at 4.30am and I was up and ready to head out within minutes, a quick cup of tea (Ben has a strong addiction to the Yorkshire stuff ) and off we went to some nearby ground. We were stood in an area of woodland overlooking a clearing waiting for a buck that Ben has previously seen to appear. The light was now coming up and whilst waiting a Barn Owl flew in and perched itself on a tree stump about 5 yards from us, keeping still the owl didn’t spot us, it then dived down into the bushes and caught what looked to be a vole of some description. What an amazing sight and a great way to start the morning.
We continued to wait in the same spot, then the sound of the alarm on my phone (set for when I get up for work) rang out breaking the silence and compromising our position… Note to self: Turn off your phone alarm before going stalking! After this we decided to head off and walk the ground instead, moving through the rides quietly hoping to catch up with a buck. I wasn’t long before we came across a Doe in one of the fields bordering the wood , after watching her for a short time there appeared to be no buck present.
As we were heading back towards our where we started the stalk we spotted a Hare moving to our left which drew our attention to a buck that was lying down in the grass. We stopped in our position to wait until the buck was up and moving, there was also a pheasant pen blocking a shot to the buck in its current location so it would need to move forward about 5 yards to present a clear shot. After what seemed to be a lifetime the buck stood and started to move forward in the direction we had hoped. My rifle was already up on the sticks and with a breath to steady myself took the shot… the buck dropped on the spot and report sounded good. After a while we made the approach and then removed the buck, the shot was in the right spot which is always good to see. After a handshake and a thank you, I went on to gralloch the buck.
Back to the larder and I continued to prepare the carcass, larder weight was 41lb.
The weather got worse and worse during the day with constant rain coming down, after helping Ben with some of his Jobs we headed out again in the evening. Everything was against us and although Ben did his best to find the deer the evening didn't produce much although we saw a couple of does, I don’t blame the deer for not being about in that weather!
Thanks again Ben for another excellent day stalking and your hospitality.