Out with Malcolm near Holmbush last week, slowly stalking a block of mixed woodland, with darkness fast approaching.
A fallow pricket came into view about 100 yards away, heading slowly across our position. I started tracking it through the scope, and saw it disappear behind some bushes.
"Shoot now", I was told. Twice. My version of events is that I had stupidly left the scope mag. on about 9x and the restricted field of view meant I didn't see the beast emerging from the other side of the cover. It had been standing in the open, perfectly broadside at about 30 yards, and I had missed the whole event. I did manage to see it bounding away, which was an engaging and delightful sight.
Malcolm was very understanding and DID NOT collapse with laughter. Back at the bothey the guys he told were similarly sympathetic. Those of you who know Malcolm will understand that I am describing this accurately.
Later that evening at home, I was recounting the day to the old lady. I stuck a piece of paper to the wall, and drew a deer, then some bushes, then another deer, and a deer bounding towards the horizon. I thought this explained the whole occasion rather well.
Then she said "do you realise that all looks a bit like those cave paintings we saw in the Dordogne?"
So, it occured to me that maybe the reason for those paintings was the hapless hunter trying to describe his day to the lady of the cave when she proffered the dreaded question "And how did you manage to mess up again today, then?"