Last evening I made my way over to Robin's ground in East Sussex in the hope of securing a good Fallow Buck for myself. It had been a long standing reciprocal invite as Robin had taken a number of beasts with me over the past 3 or 4 years and it was finding the time with myself to accept the kind invitation.
The ground is fairly well known to me as we often take and share clients between us and although it holds good numbers of Fallow throughout the year, the bucks tend to congregate for a short while in the area prior to the rut breaking out. Robin had seen a group of Bucks over the past few weeks and it was decided I should try for a trophy head that was seen within the group.
The scene is set....... a small sloping field leading down to a thick wooded area, with a large area of uncultivated weeds and brambles with dips and hollows. On the sloping bank a doe box with a view across some glorious East Sussex countryside, and the mercury hitting nearly 30'c.
After checking that no deer were present we made ourselves comfortable, and for he next 2 hours watched the world go by, and chatted in general about stalking, deer and the forth coming season. As the day started to draw to an end we had seen no movement at all. However as the temperature was so high, we didn't expect to see any real activity until the cool of the evening descended upon us.
We had gotten to the point where we both decided to close our eyes for a brief moment, only to be suddenly awoken by what appeared to be the clatter of antlers in the wood nearby. Both of us looked at each other and commented that it sounded like antlers crashing. Sure enough we heard it again and again over a period of about 10 minutes. It appeared that the group of bucks were present within the wood and having a bit of a square up to each other. Then as suddenly as the sound had broken the still evening air it stopped, and apart from the slight breeze all was quiet again.
Well at least we knew there were bucks somewhere in the wood in front of us. Now it was back to waiting again. As the evening light turned into the golden glow we all see and appreciate it comes to a point where you know it is the time that you expect to see deer move. And with a gentle nudge to my knee Robin spotted the first Fallow Buck emerging from the dense woodland, and into a dip in the field edge. We could see more moving and eventually we had 7 bucks emerging into the open, two of which carried very good heads for wild Fallow, including one mature buck with only one antler, which Robin had seen on numerous occasions.
However there was one buck in particular that carried a good palmed head and this was the one Robin had wanted me to take. The distance was about 100 yds shooting slightly down hill. I had already glassed the herd and was now watching my intended target through the scope. It was just a matter of time before he presented himself for a clear shot in the shoulders, as we did not want him running back into the woods where there is a drop off into a gulley.
The bullet struck him square on and the group turned and ran about 20yds. I expected to see a strike reaction but the buck turned and stood briefly with the others. I had already chambered another round in my 270, and said to Robin that I couldn't have missed it!! I hadn't in the same split second it reared up on its back legs and dropped out of sight on the field. This spooked the remaining bucks which then ran up the field to my right. Robin asked me to take the one antlered buck if I got the chance.
The bucks stopped briefly and as soon as I had a clear shot I took the one antlered buck with a shot to the back of the head.
Both beasts down and checked we then had the struggle of getting them both in the motor but we managed it in the end. Back at Robins new mini larder and prep room it soon became apparent that we needed an extra pair of hands.................. both bucks were very heavy, and I estimate the big lad was in excess of 200lbs.
Job done I got back about 10.15 and have just finished capeing off the head as I intend to shoulder mount it. Back to work this afternoon with clients and a days mentoring tomorrow for a novice client.
Thank you Robin for a great evening, look forward to our being in Scotland later this month with the lads.
I am hopeful the big buck may go bronze medal, possibly silver. Either way its a nice head for a wild Fallow.