I've been seeing a lot of deer activity on my most local permission recently, but hadn't managed to get myself into a position of being able to take a shot. There are a couple of roads running through it, so quite often a shot has to be left. However, Friday afternoon saw me out & about, and after a week of hard frost & some snow, it was good to be able to stretch the legs & get some air (especially after a pretty nasty cold had floored me for a good part of the week)
One part of my ground runs alongside an old railway line that runs alongside the main road. The land slopes fairly steeply down towards this, & the deer seem to like the cover it affords them. A careful reconnoitre showed me 3 does feeding about 60 yards into the field, but unapproachable from the position I was in, and the prevailing wind direction. I had no option but to backtrack and come at them using the breast of the hill for cover for as long as possible. A bit tricky, given that if they lifted their heads at the wrong moment the game would be up as I'd be in full view..........
A fifteen minute walk saw me in position to start my stalk. I needed a few moments to catch my breath though, as I hadn't appreciated just how much that cold had knocked out of me And of course, every moment I hesitated gave the deer an opportunity to move off.
I slowly began to make my way to the crest, feeling pretty exposed. Luck was with me though, & as I began to clear the breast of the hill that shielded me from the deer I saw their backs as they had their heads down feeding. This gave me confidence that they hadn't been spooked or alerted at all, so I edged my way further until a better view presented itself. Out of a group of 3, all but one were unshootable as the backstops just weren't good enough (The angle was too shallow & I was concerned about possible ricochet from the ground towards the road)) The third doe was a little bit apart from the other two, & looked to be in great condition, as well as having solid earth behind her. I had no time to set up the sticks as the moment I stood I'd probably be seen & that would in all likelihood see my chances disappear, so the shot had to be off the shoulder from about 60 yards or so..........as luck would have it, the second I stood up she lifted her head & presented a great opportunity for a neck shot. 55grains of Gamehead found their mark & she dropped on the spot with barely a twitch. With a better position I might have had the chance of a second, but discretion was the better option in this case & the remaining two does were off.
As it was, I was extremely glad I only had one drag to make, as I hadn't fully-appreciated just how far down I'd come from the top of the hill during the stalk & it took it out of me getting back up there. All in all though, a grand start to the year
Rifle: Abolt Medallion II 22-250 with Simmons WT Classic 3.5-10 x 50. Mod: ASE Utra Northstar. Load: Sako Gamehead 55gr