Having only shot roe up to now, I'm now suddenly halfway through the 6 UK species having dropped a Muntie buck on Friday on Beaulieu Estate and a Fallow buck last night on Chilbolton estate...
This time last year, Jelen made the offer of taking out Novice Stalkers for a reduced fee and I jumped at the chance to take out 7 mates over a 5 week period. 3 of those dropped a Roe on their outing, and the others were very disappointed not to have done the same so I approached Mike to see if he would do the same this year.
So, the deerless 4 along with 3 more Novices are out with either Dave, Al or Mike from Jelen over a 6 week period at the moment. They go one way, and I go t'other...
We've been to a couple of spots on Beaulieu - it's cracking land - and Chilbolton didn't disappoint last night.
The Muntie on Friday was taken from a high seat, overlooking a ride, woods and track, where there were 1/2 dozen Roe seen - a couple of good looking bucks, and the rest mature does that we're leaving for now as most will be full of next year's quarry. One of the Novices had a couple of Sika in his sights - 6-pointer and 8-pointer - along with a Roe buck and doe, but they were too far for a first shot on anything live at over 120yds. My Muntie appeared out of nowhere - Woodland Ninja that they are - and presented broadside at 126yds. 6.5x55 140gr SST dropped him into this shadow, with the heart & lung and far shoulder turned to soup. Bled and in the car, home to be gralloched and now butchered in the freezer weighing in at a wee 7kg.
The Fallow last night was again taken from a high seat, but that was after a 90 min stalk through some woodland. 4 Roe seen, but with houses as backstops and 75yds of trees between me and them, they were perfectly safe. I bumped 3 Fallow on the stalk that ran across my path and through a neighbouring field not to be seen again. Out of the woods, and there was a Roe buck in the field that will make a very nice trophy later this or next year, accompanied by a pretty heavy doe.
On towards the high seat, and I could see movement in the woods to the left of me, but my aim was to get to the high seat, so didn't bother stopping to glass what was in there.
Got into the high seat at 17:30, overlooking open areas with dense crops of bush. Ranged the obvious lumps of bush at 100yds, 130, 160 and 200 so I knew if anything came out what the layover (if anything) was going to be, and waited... A couple of handfuls of Sainsbury's mixed nuts and choc buttons to stop me getting too skinny, and I was ready.
It was as if they'd been let out of school early. 3 Fallow - 2 bucks and a doe - chasing each other round and round the bushes for 15 mins before settling down 164 yds ahead of me. 1 trusty Hornady 140gr SST later, and the smaller buck was trotting off not knowing that he was already dead.
I radioed Mike back at Jelen HQ, and he came up with Del (a magnificent, if slightly bonkers 3 year old black lab) to get him onto the blood trail. I'd already found the strike, and Mike confirmed that there was lung matter in with the blood so we knew that it was a good shot. Probably 70 yds away, Del found the deer, dead as the proverbial door nail, and with the amount of blood that I had followed in the torchlight, it was amazing that he'd made it that far.
My gralloching skills are still not up to muster, and it was pitch dark by now, so I tipped the new barrow what Mike has - pneumatic tyre so very easy for extraction - and he did the business. Del got a leg to play with, and Mike got his hands - but not sleeves - dirty, earning himself a bottle of Jagermeister for his troubles!!
Fallow home and in the chiller to hang now, and that will feed friends and family for a while, weighing in at 21kg.
The Novice was over in Stockbridge with Al all this time, and within 30 minutes of being in the highseat had 9 Fallow appear. Perfectly happy to take the shot, he just couldn't get the angle as they were so close, and to have stood up to aim down would have spooked them, so they were just observed for 15 or so minutes before they walked under the seat, and away behind leaving another convert to the sport.
Of the 4 that have gone out this time, 2 have signed up to DSC1 with Jelen, and the other 2 will be booking further stalks with Mike and Jelen over the summer months. 3 more to take out over the next 3 weeks, so let's see how they pan out.
We have been superbly supported by MINOX GB with these stalks, as they have loaned me a set of spanky new HG 10x52 for the boys when they are out. The glass is superb, and once they bring out a set of RFs will have a line up to rival most - IMHO...