I've been doing a reckie on the land next to where I work and having had the trailcam out I knew there were munties there. Plenty of slots and racks/tracks everywhere as I posted in this thread before - Muntjac highway!!
The trouble is the access is limited which means ideally I need the wind blowing from the North/North East to be stalking into from the off, without skirting round the land boundary to get a good wind.
I had planned to get out this morning before work and a quick check on the met office app showed the wind was going to be ideal this morning for a crack at this area. Now this is the beauty of this bit of ground as I can get up at 5am, grab my gear and a coffee, jump in the car and 20mins later be out of the motor rifle on the shoulder, sack on my back and ready to stalk! I start work next door at 8am (ish) so get a good couple of hours in before changing for the daily grind!!
It's not a big area and consists of two fairly open grass/weed fields with a strip of plantation all around them both, divided by a tree lined dyke. The idea being I stalked around the outside of the 1st field, glassing into the plantation margins and across the field, hoping and expecting to see something mooching about. Alas part 1 of the plan failed and nothing was seen!!
Part 2 of the plan was to cut through the gap where all the tracks merge into field number 2, which is where I've seen the most activity and where the plantation is a bit denser. The second field also has some mounds of overgrown earth dotted around, which would soon provide some helpful cover!! After a quick glass about, I decided to try the buttolo and tucked myself under some tree cover facing the open field and now with the wind dead into my face (along with some fine drizzle which was unexpected!) Luckily my new stalking smock was keeping me toasty warm and dry!!
Gave it a series of peeps and waited, repeated 3 times and after about half hour, nothing!! It was getting close to 7am and I was just about to give the field a stalk when I spotted movement at the very far end of the field, approx. 180yds away!! Using my Swaro SLC bins (Shooting Show style plug!!) I could clearly see a munty doe emerge from the plantation. I thought she may be reacting to the call, so gave it a few peeps but she took no notice whatsoever and never even looked in my direction. I guess she must have just been making her way and the calling was a coincidence.
Now a plan had to be hatched to get closer and this is where the mounds of earth saved the day, as I had to break cover and get across the open field about 80 or so yards to get a comfortable shot off the sticks. Waiting until I was obscured by a mound, I crouched and moved slowly forward until she appeared in view and repeated this for a few minutes with a couple of mounds until I could get on the sticks ready. Once I got up on the sticks she was about 80 yards and quartering to my right, but moving along a small track so was a bit obscured. When she came in line with my scope, I gave a small whistle which got her top half high enough to get a shot without the doubt of clipping a twig or some grass. Steadied the breathing, squeezed and down she went to the shot on the spot!
It was actually the 1st deer I've shot with an actual (albeit short) solo stalk involved as the others have either been guided, in a highseat or ambushing while calling in a known location for deer. I have to say the old ticker was racing especially being so close in the end when I took the shot in open combat!!!
One thing I remember from the DSC1 course when talking about muntjac is to aim a bit further forward to ensure the diaphram doesn't suck the rumen into the chest cavity, which I try to do. On this occasion the shot was a smidge forward and high but it smashed the vertebrae in half above the front legs so did the job!! I made a better job of the gralloch than any I've done before though and tried the weasand clips out I got sent and they work a treat. When I opened her up she was pregnant, which was also a 1st for me, seeing the foetus which was fascinating to see even the hooves developed at such an early stage as it was only the length of my knife! (I took a pic but not sure if it's ok to post up ethically?!)
So all in all a great start to the day and got to work bang on time, but one thing I learnt, don't lay a wet rifle onto a moulting deer for a photo!! It's gonna be a nightmare cleaning all the hair off when I get home later!!