Well I'm back from another successful stalk with Jelen, this time a young Sika spiker, making it 3 species in three stalks.
They have an abundance of ground crawling with deer and more importantly really know there stuff. My last 2 outings have been with Dave, the Yoda of deerstalking, for a newcomer like me just wandering around with this guy is a lesson in itself.
I also did my DSC1 with them, successfully. All in all a phenomenal all round service.
So thanks to Mike and especially Dave!
P.S. both thoroughly nice guys as well.
And, rather belatedly, a bit of a write up:
I was there for an evening stalk, we parked up in a block of mixed woodland dominated by large old conifers. These had seen better days, huge swathes had been flattened by the winter storms and the going was difficult as we had to navigate the detritus as quietly as possible. Fairly quickly we bumped a roe doe, who was couched up no more than 20 metres from the path, as we drew level she was off.
Reaching the woodland margin we slipped through into an arable field, walking along the margin was a revelation due to the huge number of deer tracks. There were deep troughs in the ground where Fallow had been slipping into the field for their evening feed every few yards, the farmer must be apoplectic. This looked a prime spot, and there was a cracking looking high seat covering the access to the fields, but as we approached it was clear this wouldn't work this evening as the wind was blowing into our faces.
We headed into a block of deciduous woodland heading towards another highseat, on the way as we crossed a ride Dave glassed into a clearing and spotted what we initially thought was a roe buck feeding about 70 yards into a long thin clearing next to a small stream. With a nice bank behind it there was a safe shot on and my only concern was that the buck was grazing towards cover. On closer inspection it was actually a Sika spiker, although as the metatarsal gland wasn't visible due to its age I thought it was a fallow.
I was able to sneak unseen into a prone position in the clearing, and managed to find a spot with clear visibility over unhelpfully high close foliage. I had to shoot relatively quickly, but was rock steady and sure of the shot. It looked good through the scope, with a good reaction and blood visible from the exit wound as it made a dash into the wood. Dave thought it was a little far back, but was confident it was hit in the engine room.
We walked up to the spot it had been hit, and after a bit of searching found some dark red blood. Dave was, as ever, right. I was a little far back and had caught the liver (and as it turned out, both lungs, so I was happy enough).
There wasn't a great blood trail and we were looking through thick cover, the little buck had doubled back in a wide arc, so it took us fully half an hour to find even though it was only 40 yards from where it was shot. Dave performed the gralloch, with me doing my best to pick up tips.
We then headed off at a fair pace towards the highseat, in order to catch the last light. On the way we almost walked into a cracking roe buck. No more than 50 yards in front of us and unaware of our presence. It was monster, big in the body and huge antlers (Dave thinks 7 points). Someone will be eying that up as it is a medal, but not on my budget!!!
We got to the highseat a little late, it is in a lovely spot next to a stream through a large clearing. Dave rather mischievously raised the prospect of my fourth species in four shots, as this is a good place for muntjac. It did look the part but there was no further action.
Still, I was over the moon. A Sika in the freezer and I continue to learn, Dave was brilliant both as a source of knowledge and putting me onto the deer.
Now... A muntjac would be nice.