My Lab Ben has earned his feed twice over this week. On Tuesday I shot a doe at about 70m, she was part of a group of three, they were close together but in line so the shot was safe. All three ran their separate ways, one towards me and two through the wood away from me. I though the one I shot was the one that ran towards me I later found out I was mistaken. I marked the point of impact and stalked over after the obligatory wait. I found a reasonable amount of bright blood and a few bits of lung. I thought thatís good she wont be far from here; wrong! At this point I heard a dog walker struggling to control his off of the lead dog about 120m away on a public right of way that was out of sight and thought no more about it.
I started to follow the blood trail and after about 30m ran out of signs. It was raining lightly and washing the blood away a bit. I went to get the dog and brought him in on the trail I followed the dog to where there was a fair bit of blood on the ground and blood sprayed up the side of the tree guards almost like you would expect from the out shot at the point of strike. This was within line of sight of the public right of way. The dog looked fairly disinterested which is not like him.
From the amount of blood at the scene and the distance now 90m I was starting to think that the dog walker had lifted the deer! I started to range round in circles to see if I could pick up any paint or pins then I saw something had taken the dogs interest again and eventually found the doe in a small brook with the exit side in the water a further 50m from the last visual trace of blood. The round (95 grain SST) had gone slightly high between two ribs and only started to expand after it had passed through the first lung. The guys terrier had ripped off one of the ears striped a load of fur from the back and back leg!
The second instance on Thursday I was sat in a high seat in the snow (I must be mad I know) out popped out a doe kid and mum. The Kid stood side on at about 60m so I shot her she took 3 steps then dropped. I reloaded immediately. Mum turned side on and looked at me so I shot her in the chest as well and she took of like a scolded cat. As I was waiting the snow started to come down harder. After about 3 mins I got down and by the time I got to the kid It was covered by a good dusting of snow and wasnít that easy to see. I went to the point of impact on mum and I could just see some dark blood under the snow but there was no visible blood trail leading away it had already been covered over.
I marked the point of impact with my sticks and hotfooted it back the 500m to get the dog whilst it was still snowing. I only had about 45 mins of usable light left so I didnít have time to hang around. I got Ben on the trail and within two minutes he was on the doe about 50m through some light cover. She had a fair covering of snow by this point as well. She was well shot the heart was completely destroyed but she had the adrenalin pump because she knew there was danger from the sound of the first shot.
I donít think I would ever have found the first doe in the stream without the dog and I seriously doubt that I would have found the second doe before the light failed and by that time it would probably have been fully entombed in the snow for a few days. Ben was given his reward of a bit of heart each time to keep him keen to find more animals for me.