Well despite shooting many hundreds of deer over the years either on estates where I've worked as a gamekeeper or as part of organised culls on other estates or as the guest of friends- I've never truly shot deer on my 'own' ground.
The ground in question is tiny and borders one of my pheasant drives so out of respect for my employer I won't be shooting any good heads there. However, it is a lovely little valley with plenty of cull muntjac frequenting it and very occasional Roe.
My first visit the other week was a non starter as the two deer present were in an un-shootable position and the horses were still out but good to see some animals.
With the wind the way it was tonight, I figured the fields would be nicely sheltered so I ventured back for another look. I also thought it would be fun to treat it as DSC2 practice and give myself a running commentary as if there was an AW present.
Luckily the horses were tucked up in bed so it was fair game. The top field is only five acres but has two pieces of dead ground. With the wind as it was, I had to get into one certain location to be able to see the most likely hot-spot. And there lay a Roe Doe! I tried to peek through a few bushes but it was no good- I had to get where the doe was to see anything.
Remembering what the stalker did when we went up to the hinds this year, I stayed hidden and waved a stick in the air hoping she would stand up out of curiosity and then I could move her away
Uh, no! I obviously haven't got the knack as she jumped straight up and took off! Luckily she went the opposite way to where I hoped a muntjac was but when she reached the wood behind, she started barking at me. I crept down to her comfy looking spot and spied the hedgerow. Nothing.
Then, as the doe did one last bark for luck, a muntjac buck hopped out of the bottom hedge staring in her direction! Who needs a call when you've got a handy real life roe doe
The set up was perfect. With the bipod already out, I quickly and quietly dropped to the floor on a handy knoll. At 95y, at the very bottom of the valley with the ground steeply rising behind, this was textbook stuff. Safety off, trigger set, one last check and a nice high percentage h/l shot as he was darting his head and neck around a fair bit as he surveyed the scene.
.223 from a steady rest meant I could watch the strike and it was good. Three steps and he rolled over and kicked his legs.
This was the only thing I would have perhaps done differently if in the presence of an AW for real.
Heres what I did:
Instantly reloading, I put the safety on. The backstop was good. The light was good. I wound the scope up to 24x and observed his head. Almost certainly stone dead.
So instead of waiting, I just approached straight away- at the ready.
Would I have met PC 2.3/2.4/2.5 for doing this or should I have waited five minutes, marked my shot point and followed up as if I couldn't see the deer laid there in plain view???
Any thoughts great fully received- especially from AW's
Anyway, the gralloch was fairly straight forward. Mesenteric Lymph nodes easily found and checked
as were the sub-mandibular ones. Despite having found them on all the bigger deer species and on several muntjac, the damage to the internal organs meant I could only reference the site of the others. I've never looked at the portal one on Muntjac before but despite scouring the area with my wife who's mustard on biology- it was not immediately obvious which must be a good thing
Anyway, I feel sure I would have satisfied PC 3.4
I have an AW all lined up so whilst waiting for my DSC1 cert to arrive, I might get on and start my witnessed cull records as I was interested to learn you can use evidence obtained up to 3 years prior to registration meaning you effectively have 6 years to do level 2.
All in all, a good start to my new bit of ground and long may it continue