Jon (243varmint) had kindly invited me out yesterday evening for a stalk - although given the biblical scale rain I encountered driving towards his house, I was wondering if we would in fact be weathered off..... Spirits were immediately raised upon arrival by the sight of a large mug of tea and some homemade cake (Jon: tell Helen that the homemade chocolate concoction was infinitely better than the fruitcake option, and it was only good manners that stopped me troughing the lot before her very eyes.....).
Fed and watered, we set off to meet up with Bandit Country and, with the rain having bade farewell, we hatched a plan.....well, they did, whilst I almost fell a*se over trying to get my boots on.....
Chris dropped Jon and I off at a convenient gatehole whilst he set off to attend to some very other business (A flimsy pretext of "landowner engagement" seemed to morph somehow in to him into being forced to partake of a glass of Rioja ), and we took our first sweep with the binos.... Almost immediately hawkeye Jon spotted a fallow doe at the edge of a wheat field which rose up in front of us towards the woods which marked the boundary. And then he spotted a roe doe further along. And then he spotted a different roe doe with twins over to your right on the far side of the field. And then he spotted the roe buck.....meanwhile, I was playing catch-up and wishing that I'd eaten more carrots. I think it's fair to say that were deer in them thar hills. Game on!
Fallow were the target species, mainly down to the fact that I've only ever shot 2 before, so after spotting another fallow on the headland up on the left hand side headland (My turn to spot first this time! Phew! 'Deer-eyes' working at last!), we opted to stalk up the hedgerow to our left, work our way up towards the headland, and that would allow us to take a peek into the adjacent field along the way. At this point, we spied a young fallow pricket on the edge of the wheat, so that settled the plan - we would stalk up the hedgerow, skirt around the back of a small copse, and that should bring us out to an opening roughly140-150yds from where he was lying....
We crept up, around and along, and just as we re-emerged back to the edge of the original field, the pricket was just starting to make his way back towards the headland, but coming towards us slightly so closing the distance down slightly with each step. He didn't know we were there, he had just decided it was time to move on. With the rifle in the sticks (Sako Forester in .308 with RWS 150g SP's if anybody is interested), I let the buck clear the wheat - and then he turned to face us directly. He took a few more steps, then turned neatly broadside at around 90-95yds....I shot him at the shoulder to ensure he didn't make a dash for the boundary, and he fell to the floor like he'd been hit by a bolt of lightning . I was already reloaded (Jon Robson would have been proud of me ), when we spotted a second - previously unseen - pricket making for the hedgeline, obviously disturbed by the shot.....
Jon confirmed he was a taker, so a 2nd shot brought him down too, this one at about 120yds.
To say I was chuffed was an understatement - I'd just doubled my total number of fallow shot in about 6 seconds.
With the rifle reloaded and kept on line, we watched and waited for 5 minutes, and then with no sign of life evident from either, approached and confirmed they were dead with the blink test. Both had dropped exactly where they had been shot, so the 150's seemed to have done what was required. We dragged them to a suitable location, both agreeing that we were both unfit as we did so , and the gralloch showed two very healthy young beasts, each with an ample coating of fat - and heart/lungs pulverised in both cases. Two great condition animals for the game dealer, and once Bandit Country arrived in his truck to collect us and the carcases, we started doing some mental arithmetic regarding how much a fallow would cost a farmer based upon annual consumption and wheat prices....I can't remember what figure we came up with, but suffice to say we agreed that two less fallow would equate to a happier farmer
A great stalk, great company, great result - and great cake.
An enormous thank you to both 243varmint and BC for a truly enjoyable evening. You are both gentlemen.
Ps....the shooting Gods must be smiling on me this week as the night before I was out foxing with my farmer mate and shot a fairly bedraggled dog fox that he'd spotted whilst stacking bales.