Stuck at the airport so I might as well write a short write up of my weekend with Sikamalc after roe buck at his grounds in West Sussex.
I only got one small buck, which is not more, if not less, than I would have had back home with the same effort (and at a fraction of the costs!), but going abroad for hunting is more for the experience a change of scenery than for the number of bucks. Both me and Malc were both happy and relieved though when I finally got my buck.
In four outings we saw, on average, 5-10 deer each time. This was a lot less than we had expected and most of the ones we saw were does. I don't think we saw more than five bucks in total and, surprising to me, hardly any kids. Given the weather conditions this summer this was not surprising though. It has been extremely dry and most of the eatable crops on the fields were burnt and dead. No reason for the deer to be venturing out of the woods and most of those we saw were moving about on the fields as if unhappy with the menu. Added to that, the high temperatures and the full moon probably have lead to the deer adopting a more nocturnal behavior. There was no sign of any rutting.
Yesterday we thus opted for a different strategy. I sat in a hight seat in the woods. Half an hour after, I spotted a doe feeding. She moved some 50 meters away from me so I had plenty of time to study her. 15 minutes later a buck appeared. My hart was racing. Finally! The only problem was that it was only 10 meters away. I had to move extremely slowly. He sensed that something was wrong so instead of waiting for it to come out in the open I shot it as soon as the shoulder was free. It dropped after a few steps. Only a two-year old, but a little souvenir to take home and when the meat is on the table nobody asks how big the antlers were anyway.
All in all a memorable weekend. Conditions were difficult, but Malc did his utmost to get us a buck anyway. It was a beautiful part of the country and I can imagine that given the right conditions (including a more normal winter) it will hold a lot of deer. Thanks Malc. Hope to be back.