The alarm went off at 3.30am yesterday morning, but I must have snoozed it because next thing I know its 3.50am and I had planned on leaving the house a 4am. Oops thats a good start. Luckily everything (almost) was in the car, except the rifle and ammo. Anyway I left home at 4.15, so not too bad. The Dartford crossing was ok even though they had posted about delays. I managed to knock on Malcolms door around 6 o'clock. So after a cup of tea and a chat a few more stalkers turned up. Malc placed me in a high seat near the bothy, which I had been in before. I remembered to take a pad to sit on as it has a metal seat. But Malcolm did offer me one, which I should have borrowed as mine was just a little bit too small, differently a case of a bigger bum.
As I sat in the high set and it was half light I heard footsteps inside the forest, to the right of me about 30 yards away. The adrenaline started to go. Then out of the corner of my left eye I saw movement, I turned my head slowly, only to see where the edge of my vision would have been, a leaf fall to the floor. The owner of the footsteps did not appear and the only other thing that I saw was a very small grey squirrel, that started to climb the tree next to me but suddenly had different ideas and disappeared in a hurry. By then it was time to go back to the bothy. I had heard a shot ring out when I was in the highseat and luckily one of the other stalkers had connected with a doe.
When everybody was back Malcolm cooked us all a breakfast. Thanks Malcolm I need that has my first breakfast had been 4 o'clock in the morning. Everybody else left gradually so we put the world to right over a cup of tea.
Malcolm had arranged for myself and another stalker to go to another piece of ground. He dropped us off and when got pick up by Tom, who took us to a very nice wooded valley. The other stalker had been there before so he knew the lay out and was told to go to a highseat further down. We climbed up into the tree house. It was a fair way up from the valley floor. There was a painted box near the front, which I sat down on and tried to move it closer to the edge. It turned out to be a bee hive. I made a quick exit to one side and sat down. This was about 2.30 so the sun was still shining on the forest canopy, boy did it look pretty. That to me is what being outside is all about.
Tom told me about a fox coming down the slope to our right, which I could not see at the time as a few branches were in the way, and also if you remember I said at the beginning I almost had everything. The thing I forgot was my binoculars. That was because they sat on a shelf next to my electronic ear defender, which I did not need as I was using ear plugs. It could have been worse, it could have been the bolt or ammo I should have remembered the defenders as a bee tried to get into my ear. I get a little jumpy round wasps especially as I was once stung ten times in the head after I disturbed a nest by mistake.
About 2.50 I noticed movement in the valley, all of a sudden a fallow doe appeared. A minute or so later a young buck came out as well. I asked which one he wanted me to take and he said either. Some branches where in the way of the buck from where I was sitting. So I took the doe. It went down.. I reloaded, but it was not needed. This was the first deer I had shot with this rifle, in fact it was the first deer I had shot full stop . I have used the rifle a fair bit to set it up, the only thing I did not do this time was to set the trigger, so the trigger pull was a bit harder than usual. After a while we dragged it up from the valley floor.Luckily Tom is about half my age. We took the deer back to the larder and got it sorted, and the went back to pick up the other stalker. Who had not been able to get a shot but had seen some deer.
The M25 was a pain on the way home, not helped by me going round he top so as to avoid the Dartford crossing and the roadworks. Big mistake.
Thanks Malcolm and Tom and the other guys for a great day. And if have read this far thanks