I have had avery frustrating year on the bucks. I March with a large wood that is a local nature reserve and it's been poached to hell. The only deer I have seen have been does and they have been very very spooky. Have been out in the dark with a lamp looking for rabbits and foxes and they have been very lamp shy. Local police have finally taken a bit of interest and seem to be out and about a bit more.
Long and and short is have nt even had sight of let alone a shot a buck despite 20 odd outings.
Any by way went out this evening for a wander - more just to show a precence than anything else. Given the heat just wore an old faded dark blue sweatshirt. Poked my nose into the first field - didn't even bother taking the sticks. A cub was working his way towards me. He sat down and that was the last thing he did - 80 yard off hand shot with the combination gun so pretty pleased.
Lets just pop up yo the far end of the farm before going back to my favourite spot for last light. Walked quietly down the edge of the barley. There is a track wide beetle strip (grass) all the way round the 50 acre field. Half way round saw a deer quietly coming up the beetle strip. A quick look through the bins - a very scruffy looking spike buck. Sort of shuffling along with his head pretty low. Crouched down and let him come closer. 50 yards quietly stood up with rifle on sticks. He turned broadside on and aimed just behind the right shoulder. He was facing to the right away from the barley. The shot felt good, but at the shot he just looked at me as if nothing had happened, turned round and bounded into the crop and then down the tramline to the far end where I lost sight of him although heard a bit of a crash.
Convinced it it was a good shot, but could n't find any sign of blood at the sight of the shot. Given had ten minutes of light left walked quickly around the crop to the far end where I had last seen him - nothing - no blood and so sign of him. An unexplained miss - these things happen I suppose.
Make my way back to the sight of the shot and from where I took the shot. I was positive it was good. So go slowly, still nothing on the grass, but then find his tracks into the barley. Followed that in and the down the tram line.
After 30 yards I find first of lots of blood and then carefully follow it down. It took me twenty minutes of careful tracking in the dark with a torch going from one drop to the next before I find piled up dead five yards from the edge of the crop. Drag him out. Nothing wrong with my shot - hit perfectly at point of aim. Rolled him over - a four inch exit wound with bits of liver and rumen plugging the hole. No wonder little blood trail.
i gralloched and actually not much of a mess. Heart and lungs shredded. He was broadside on and it seems as though the bullet (139gn Hornady 7mm Softpoint) may have clipped a rib and tumbled down the body.
The buck is a very good cull. Skinny straight antlers - still partially in velvet two thirds of the way into July and very skinny and coat out of condition. But no obvious inflamed lymph nodes etc.
I suppose it pays to trust your instincts even if and the evidence points to a clean miss. There was nothing wrong with my shooting, nor choice of bullet, it's just that that buck obviously had nt read SD as to what it should do when it has been hit. It made a good 100yds before piling up. Normally the 7mm takes the off their feet.
No sign of any rutting up here yet.