I went out a couple of weeks ago with SikaMalc, I'm applying for my FAC shortly and was anxious to build on my field experience to go with my DSC1.
I turned up at the estate in West Sussex and was instantly impressed, Malc has a lovely bit of ground and a really nice setup.
We dropped off another chap in a high seat and headed for a small parcel of land between two strips of wood. Malc explained that both woods had prominent rutting stands later in the year and there was a good chance that a few prickets or sorrels could well be sniffing around.
We stalked slowly along a ride along the edge of the first wood, there was still a lot of cover and although beautiful all was quiet. We headed out into the fields between the woods and quickly spotted a couple of pairs of ears over the horizon. Keeping low we siddled forward and sure enough there was a herd of around 8 fallow does. We were comfortably in range, and set up on the sticks with them all lined up broadside like so many ducks in a fair. I ran the scope over each in turn in the hope that a pricket would be lurking with mum, no such luck. We left them in peace, without them knowing we were there. come November I doubt they will be quite so accommodating.
The light was starting to go so Malc led me quickly into the second wood and up to a ride where he knew fallow would be crossing. We set up in a likely spot under a highseat, within 5 minutes we noticed Malc's dog staring intently back where we had come from. There was white pricket making its way diagonally across quartering slightly away from us. Malc quickly got the sticks out and I started tracking the pricket in my scope through the dense cover. Malc whistled to stop the beast, which it duly did after taking an extra step... Stopping right behind a tree, unhelfully across its vitals. It moved forward behind thicker cover, so we took a few rapid steps to the side and set up waiting for the pricket to emerge again. Sure enough it did, but after a second whistle it repeated its earlier trick. Covering the heart/lung area again. By now the little pricket was very nervous, it knew something was up it just didn't know what. So as soon as it moved again I fired, I felt good about the shot, but the pricket showed zero reaction. Both Malc and I watched it disappear at pace with a certain amount of trepidation.
As we made our way across to where the pricket had been Malc's dog went mental, and rapidly found the blood trail. In the blink of an eye it led us to the buck, shot through the engine room but managing 100 yards on adrenalin.
I was ecstatic, it was my fourth deer but much the hardest shot. 80 yards off sticks through a small window in the trees. Malc was chuffed for me and I'm very grateful to him and his brilliant little dog. The drag back to the car (every bit of 500 metres away) almost killed me but I can't complain. What a result.
On the way back we stopped to collect the guy from the high seat, who had been successful. He'd shot, gralloched and, somewhat hilariously, lost, a very large sorrel. (Never fear, it was found)
We saw plenty more deer on the drive back to HQ, the place was alive with does.
A big thank you to Malc. I learned a lot and have another photo to help build my case. If only I had some ground of my own I expect it would be a done deal. Still, I've now stalked with a number of reputable pros which can only help.