Had the pleasure of tika.308's (Andy aka 'Senior Guide' ) company this weekend for a couple of outings. We were hoping the hot and sticky weather would mark the start of the rut and on Friday evening it certainly was hot... Too hot almost! The thought of having to put anything more than shorts and t-shirt on was not welcome but we got the bare minimum of gear together and headed off out.
As we suspected, the deer were not out straight away, waiting until the heat of the sun had gone down before venturing out. I had dropped Andy off on an area on the estate we had often talked about stalking but to date hadn't got round to and I headed off to the other side.
Due to some unwanted fox activity and some extremely spooky pheasants I had to cut my planned route down by half (poor keeper had been up 3 nights straight!) to avoid a couple of pens and I knew him and his under keeper would be doing frequent rounds there until after dark.
I was encouraged to still see (albeit fleetingly) 2 bucks and 3 does, getting the crosshairs on one of the bucks emerging at last light only for the approaching sound of the keepers quad causing him to change his mind and head straight back in again!
All the does were on their own and there was no rutting signs at all over on my side.
Meanwhile over on Andy's side he had been seeing plenty of chasing going on across the fields towards last light and had also very nearly but not quite got a shot off!
Strange how less than half a mile can make the difference between rut and no rut!
We decided to have a lie in on Saturday morning but headed out again Saturday night which had cooled down and with more of a breeze. Andy was keen to catch up with his rutting buck so headed off to the same spot again and I headed off to what has been a good spot for me before.
It turned out this was a tactical mistake as the grass and clover I assumed would have been mown by now had not been (due this week, typically) and was waist deep in places! My only hope was to get onto higher ground and try to look down onto the grass in the hope of seeing something. This I did, bumping deer as I went (lone does again?!) before finally spotting a nice buck in the far corner of a field about 200 yards away. I closed the distance to about 150 yards at which point he disappeared into cover and with no realistic hope of getting a clean shot in that depth of cover even if I found him again I opted to leave him for now.
It was about now the text message from Andy arrived "Taxi!" and assuming this meant my truck and carcass tray were required I headed back, this time straight across the fields putting up two more lone does hidden below the grass level!
I found Senior Guide with a good size buck in tow (40 odd lbs) but with a stunted/going back head and was relieved at least one of us had managed to get something!
Making use of the royal larder facilities
Sunday morning was spent with a bit of clay shooting and rounded off a very enjoyable weekend.
Now I know tika.308 is going to say that he came down here showing us how to stalk our deer and shoot our clays, but following on from the Horsefly thread, he certainly didn't get to grips with our horseflies! He got nailed on both hands and despite antihistamines, sting cream and Thatchers Gold he still ended up with one mitten swollen up like a fiddler crab!
Great weekend and good company, though despite putting him up for the weekend, showering him with Somerset hospitality and dropping a few very subtle hints the lazy git never did help me stack my logs!