Hi all as I said in the introduction to the forum I'm a novice to deer stalking and have only dipped a toe into what has now become as my wife puts it "an obsession", I'm an Oxfordshire lad through and through and until I was in my early 20's had never seen a rifle let alone picked one up which all changed once I'd joined one of the services and to be honest was and still is a very different type of shooting discipline.
Having been invited out on the off chance 3 months ago by a friend of mine to go for "as he described it a heavily armed walk in the woods" my eyes were opened to the world of stalking and deer management.It was a very cold a windy afternoon and the ground consisted of a large wooded copse surrounded by hedge lined fields, the cover was low due to the Pre longed winter with the soil able to absorb pressure of foot (ideal conditions for concealing movement but not great for stalking so I've been told due to volatile wind direction). Handing me his 6.5x55 sako my colleague explained that we would have to enter the copse with the wind blowing against us to take our stink away and that i would enter first through some dense scrub being as quiet as i could, which i did taking up a position about 10 meters in, with in the tree line!! at this point i could already hear and feel my heart beating, my mouth had instinctively opened to assist hearing and all my senses seemed to kick in, every foot step i took seemed to me to be very loud as if i where walking on broken glass which was anything but,I took to one knee letting the woodland settle and assessed the ground which fell away into a small valley rising steeply to a bur some 200 meters away much to the amusement of my mate who was standing bolt upright next to me and pointing out I was in a wooded copse in the Cotswolds and not Afghan so i too stood up.About 15 minutes passed and we started to make our way along the tree line stopping and assessing as we went, a further 20 minutes passed having seen nothing? At this point I began to doubt the whole venture and to be honest was loosing interest fast, another 10 minutes went by and I was now feeling like a halfwit in the middle of the woods holding a rifle "Brilliant" I thought.
Just then my mate tensed up and gave me a sharp elbow in the ribs, "do you see it"he said "See what"came my reply, "The Deer", Deer, what fxxxing Deer? Now apparently a deer had appeared on the bur some 180 meters away and had then dropped in to the copse closely followed by a second,unbeknown to me!! My colleague then attempted to point them out to me as they made there way through the brush pointing at them and giving me distances as to there location and movements much to his frustration I had no idea what he was looking at and could only see the 10ft in front of me?Then something caught my eye and slowly what at first i thought was only brush changed to reveal a Roe Doe brazing on the forest floor..Blood hell I thought "A DEER".
This is when the excitement hit as I attempted to get the rifle rested on the sticks and get a view thought the scope. But then as quickly as it appeared it was gone,moving off in to further cover and being lost from view, Dam it how could I loss it like that its bloody vanished!! My mate was by now itching to take over and get the shot off but persevered. I stood there routed to he spot for what seemed like an eternity almost losing hope when suddenly the Doe broke cover closely followed by a fine looking Buck. Two,two deer!!!
They were around 90 yards away and both began to graze from the woodland floor..I was now focused again and once more all my senses had kicked in, I got on target placing the cross hairs firmly in to the centre of the Doe's neck (a bit controversial I know) I tracked her movement for a short time, removed the safety and gently squeezed the trigger, the shot as should surprised me and I saw the bullet strike exactly where I wanted it. She stood for what seemed like forever and then fell to the floor I quickly reloaded and waited, it was over!! My first ever stalk and my first ever Deer.The neck shot had worked a treat and was a clean safe kill with good back stop. We then garrotted it in situ and I was offered the liver which I dually accepted. The experience will no doubt stay with me for the rest of my life and has truly ignited my hunting instincts.
As like many the route or even trying to find the path into the world of stalking is some what of a mystery. I've been very lucky and have been invited out with the friend twice more since the first encounter but do not want to take advantage of his generous offers as I'm quickly learning it has taken a lot of work on his part to reach the level he is at. I'm now hooked on the prospect of gaining my own permission as paid outings are not within my reach and look forward to learning everything I can about deer habitat and how it all works. If I've not bored you and your still reading, thanks for letting me share this experience with you. Wish me luck.
All the Best Cuppertea..