Been meaning to do this for a while; to post about the Stalking scheme BASC does at the King's Forest, Thetford.
Having been stalking various times with my grandad as he shot, and only having taken one red stag previously in Scotland for my 18th birthday a few years back, I consider myself a novice in stalking, and so was very excited to get out stalking and also nervous about my ability.
The BASC Deer service were very helpful, full of information and couldn't have done more when it came to answering questions and advice when it came to booking 2 days stalking back in May.
On the day I met Des, who is the stalker employed by BASC; a really nice bloke, full of info and stories. He made me feel at ease and I fired some good groupings before the 1st evening stalk. We stalked slowly through the rides, scanning clearings of felled forest for muntjac or roe buck. After an hour or so of stalking, I spotted a buck about 60 metres away in a clearing, with a doe bedded down next to him. Des set the sticks up (my first time shooting from sticks) and I fired. It all happened very quickly and the buck backed up on himself, did a bit of kicking and went down. I was over the moon; ecstatic, Des commented on my shaking hands from excitement! A nice buck to get for my first one; first of many!
The next day, after a 4am wake up, we went out for the second stalk. Des decided to stalk the rides to a high seat. Seeing two fallow does on route, we arrived at the high seat on a cross roads of rides. We could see right up 4 rides, so good vision all round. After 45 mins or so, Des called out 'muntjac!'. I swivelled round to face the ride he was looking up. I aimed behind the shoulder and fired. The young buck scuttled off into the forest. We left it 5 mins and found signs of a hit; blood, hair. And there was my first muntjac, about 30 yards in a nice mature conifer plantation. Again, I was very pleased, especially as this small deer was a good 90 metres away from the highseat.
Lots of venison for the freezer and a nice roe skull to go on the wall, and a massive increase in knowledge and confidence for any future stalks. I'd recommend the BASC scheme to anyone, whether novice or seasoned stalker. Des definitely wants to put you on to a shot, it's reasonably prices (fairly expensive stalking fees per outing but no trophy fee), and is a lovely area. Loads of other wildlife; saw hares, cuckoo, yellowhammer, other deer species, birds of prey etc. Plenty to see.
Will definitely be going back when I start to run low on venison!
Thanks for looking.
And here's another first for me more recently; interesting to any wildfowlers out there!
My first trio on geese this 1st of September!