May 2006... (I've only just worked out how to post photos up , but at least now I can drop some more articles in with piccies! )
I took a trip up to Yorkshire with a couple of mates for a weekend after Roebucks; it fair lashed it down, meaning the car had to become an impromptu drying line:
...and I had a lovely smell of wet spaniel at night!
(I doubt Springers make ideal deer-dogs; Max accompanied me so that he didn't drive my wife round the twist whilst I was away )
On the Saturday morning, it was an early start, and after a long stalk back along the stream at the bottom of the valley (throught the drizzle), we rounded a bend to spot a youngish buck grazing around 80yds away. I put the rifle up to the sticks, took careful aim at a perfect broadside target.... and watched a pretty startled youngish buck leap the fence and vanish into the conifers .
It looked like a clean miss, and a thorough inspection of where he'd been stood showed absolutely no evidence a all of a hit. I think buck-fever had struck. Luckily, the guys I was with didn't take the p*ss at all. Not much they didn't!!!! For the rest of the day it was pointed out to me - repeatedly - that I wasn't going to get a better chance than the one I'd fluffed.... I was a bit miffed with myself ( ), but at least a clean miss was preferable to a wounding.
Saturday evening rolled around, and although the rain had let up, it was a bitterly cold northerly that was blowing through. I headed off for the far side of the plantation, and struck off from the road to sit up tucked into a fallen tree that was halfway down a ride, from where I was able to see for around 180yds further down, along with a the small patch of ride that was catching some sunshine - and looked like the only spot where a buck may pause to catch a few warming rays....
After about an hour of sitting in a freezing wind and getting chilled to my core, I caught a movement to my left around 60yds in front of me, just inside the treeline....a buck stepped out across the ride, and paused about 7yds from the opposing treeline. I took my chance. Resting the rifle on my knees, I steadied the reticule, squeezed, and BANG! He jumped forward, but looked hard hit. I left him for 10-15 minutes, and he was found 10yds inside the treeline, just as we were running out of daylight.
I think he's a pretty decent buck....