On Friday afternoon I got a text off Cornish Oli asking me how my weekend was set.... A slight lie that I had nothing on and some re-jigging of plans saw us planning on meeting at Oli's ground on Saturday evening with the plan to get me a shot on my first muntie, having failed a few weeks back to see anything.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and I had my game shoot's annual clay pigeon shoot. Much leg pulling and banter later (mostly as my father has now just joined us as a gun and was having a shocker on the clays) saw me attending to plans with the missus and a catch up with some mates of ours. To be honest, my head was not with this and in my mind I was already along the A52. Once a reasonable amount of time had passed to not seem rude, I made our excuses and headed home to add the rifle to the already full car, as those who have been out with me will know, travelling light is not my forte - I fear being hours from home and needing something I own and it being in the garage so tend to take the kitchen sink, more of that later.
Some Greenday and Paramore on the stereo and a heavy right foot meant a drive that the Stig would have been proud of (or not, I now drive a sensible 4x4, but we can dream!). I had planned to be there for around 1900, but shaved half an hour of this with an early escape from the friend's and a traffic free drive. I met Oli who had been there a bit before me and we moved off to a tower, someway across the forest from where we were last time. It was my first time in a tower and I must say it is a far more respectable way to wait for Bambi to cross our path! With the Fallow season in full flow I was anticipating watching Oli shoot a buck, something I am yet to see being a newbie, and was as excited at this prospect as seeing a muntie for me to shoot. Oli did his best chimney impression, whilst I pulled out a beanbag to sit on, much to Oli's amusement as I tried my best to scare every deer in the forest out trying to squeeze it out of my rucksack. I might be a hardened military type (me, really?!) but still I work on anyone can be uncomfortable. Then the flask came out and it was at least our third fag (Oli) brew (me) when we heard some movement in the woods, near where we had seen a squirrel not long before.
Another hour of watching the same spot, convinced every bit of tree was a deer, I finally had to bite myself when a muntjac popped out like a ghost from the wood to browse off the game feeder about 70 yards in front. Oli confirmed I could take it, but that didn't help as it was arse on for what seemed like eternity. With my heart literally bursting out of my mouth, it seemed forever until it presented left side on, and obviously about to do one in to the cover. The rest is history - and a little blurry - as my 100gr PPU caught its mark, albeit an inch or 2 higher than I would have liked due to either movement by me or it. It dropped on the spot and after a small faff reloading my Howa (the mag conversion seems to want to play up occasionally, but only in the heat of the moment, again probably linked to user error/fumbling) I watched for a few minutes as it lay lifeless. Honestly it took ages to calm the nerves and the heart rate was way higher than it should ever be with clothes on, but we waited and then went to look at my prize.
A smallish buck apparently, but I was over the moon and a good cull animal as it turned out to have a damaged leg (fence/snare?) and corresponding antler - it was also missing half a front tusk and had a gash on its head from presumably a recent fight.
A quick lesson in gralloching our smaller species and it was back to the car, its nice to be able to pick up a deer with one hand and carry it back, although that proved I need to spend some more time in the gym!
Back home, it went 8.6kg or 19lb depending which language you speak, dressed of its head and legs but still in fur. Not sure where that sits in the scale of muntjac, but it gave me 2 nice haunches to roast, some steaks, a neck and shoulder joint and a bag of stew and mince! Lovely!
Thanks again Oli, a pleasure and I hope I can return the favour one day!