I managed to get away from work a bit early on Tuesday onto my little pocket of land next door with about 2.5hrs of light left and the makings of a cracking evening in the sun. Of late due to a combination of early frosty starts making stalking difficult and what I now realise was me being too hasty while stalking, I hadn't seen many deer or shot one for a few weeks.
I've been reading threads about being witnessed for DSC2 as I have put my forms in and the thing that seems common is novice stalkers like me are moving too quickly and not glassing enough. So, with this in mind I made a conscious effort to really slow down and spend more time studying, not just 'looking' through the bins. I was also keen to use the new larder room I've been working hard on and avoid the micky taking of my now 7 year old twin boys when I go home empty handed!!
I set off around the outside of the first field and soon came across some fresh slots that I believe are Roe, which is nice as I've only spotted them once before on this bit of ground. I have to confess at only spotting their targets as three of them bounded off after winding me one day before Xmas!! I steadily plodded round the outside and came to a choke point between 2 fields which has trees and a gap over a dyke where i've seen munties before. Carefully moving through where it thickens up a flaming pheasant got up and scared me half to death, bloody things!!
I waited a few minutes to let things settle and as I rounded a little plantation I spotted movement on a bank about 150 yards away. There, on top of a bank along the top of a dyke bathing in the evening sun was a munty doe and I could tell from the head shape and size that she was not very old. As the sun was setting I could see why she had chosen this spot as there was a bramble bush she was munching on and there was a 20 yard wide area that was being warmed by the last of the suns rays. In this light against the grass the chestnut colours of the munty stood out a treat through my bins!!
This area of the fields has a few raised areas covered in teasels that are ideal to use as cover if you time it right! I waited until she was distracted by the bramble then got to about 100 or so yards slightly obscured by some of the vegetation. Now the waiting game started, as she was still skylined on top of the bank bumbling about in the sun and munching away happily which gave me about 20 mins to observe her feeding, sniffing the air, scent marking, etc, which was very enjoyable in itself. I had the rifle on the sticks ready in case she came down but she was having none of it and then she dissappeared!!
Frantically scanning to try and find her she then appeared about 20 yards closer but still on top of the bank!! By now the light was starting to go and I thought she was never going to come down but something clicked, whether she thought due to the dusk it was safer down below I don't know, but she decided to come off the bank. But, she was on a mission heading straight across the field towards some cover on the opposite side so I had to get my quad sticks around 90 degrees and intercept her path.
When she got in the line of fire I gave a load shout, which halted her in her tracks and I delivered the 165gr SP .308 and she dropped on the spot! That's the thing I've noticed with stalking muntjac is that it's a bit like foxing, where you may see nothing for ages then you have to be so quick to react and get the shot off or they are gone!! It certainly gets the heart pumping I can tell you!
After doing the usual checks and waiting the light was fast going and I ended up doing the gralloch mainly under the head torch which would probably not have been an ideal one for a DSC2 sign off!! I managed a nice clean gralloch though and confirmed my earlier thoughts on her age after consulting my chart as she was 30 weeks old. Once packed up in the roe sack, I had chance walking back to the truck to reflect on what was one of my most enjoyable solo stalks to date. It was also nice to get the carcass back to a dedicated clean area rather than messing about in my garage too, making the hard work of the last couple of weeks very satisfying,