My duck has been broken!!

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Pull up a chair, grab a beer & some popcorn and I'll tell you all about it!!

I got the date set with SikaMalc a few weeks ago and got all excited, then on Wed came the dreaded call that it may get knocked on the noggin, due to a snapped glow plug!! I thought I'd still get my stuff loaded in the car ready to go straight from work should Malc ring and sure enough, around 2.30pm the truck was fixed and it was back on. Credit to Malc for travelling down himself and offering to put me up in the estate Bothy to save B&B fees.

So by 3.30 I was on the road but needed to make a quick detour to meet Digger9523 to collect my jacket at his stalking ground in Sussex. Nick insisted I have a quick mooch around his stalking ground, which we did, but never saw anything and I carried on my merry way to Malcs.

Finally got there around 7ish Thursday evening and got shown to the living quarters. I'd never heard of a Bothy and it turns out too be a lodging room that the gardeners, underkeepers and staff of the estate got to live in whilst working. And proper smart it is too set in some gardens with all the mod cons and trophies adorning the walls.

After a brew up Malc obviously wanted me to use his rifle to make sure I knew which end to point at any deer we may see, so we headed to his range. The rifle is a Tikka lightweight .270 with mod and Leopold scope and a nice light rifle it is too. 1st couple of shots off sticks at 75m were ok so we moved back to 100m. These were ok too, although I need to work on my trigger pull a bit as I seemed to have a tendancy to pull low left slightly. Malc was happy, which was the main thing.

Back to the Bothy and Malc proved what a great host he is by cheffing up a steak tea for us both with sticky toffee pudding for afters!! I don't get treated that well at home!! After a chat and a glass of white it was time to get our heads down ready for an early start, and it was at this time I realised that, a) I was getting more excited as I could not sleep and b) dogs really are like their owners because Toddy and Malc both snore!!!

Before i knew it the alarm was going off at 5.15 and up we got, both cursing the fact that it was pishing down!! Geared up and raring to go we headed over to the 1st bit of ground near a golf course that has plenty of fallow, aiming to take a cull buck. On the way we must have passed 30+ fallow all out grazing on the golf course which gave us hope of seeing some on the ground next door. We jumped out of the truck and headed round to a field that sometimes has Fallow on and got prepped. It didn't take long and I was pleased to be the one to spot a group grazing in the distance.

Well the game was now on, not 10mins after getting out of the motor. We skirted around the edge of the field to get the wind and lay of the field in our favour and headed steadily towards a tree in the center of the field which was helping the stalk. They were none the wiser but when we got there it seemed they were all does and this was where I commited my 1st schoolboy error. I was so keen to glass the deer to check for a buck, that I rested my sticks against the tree and spent the time watching them, rather than getting ready for the shot!! When Malc did id a young buck at the back I wasn't ready, so had to rush a bit to get on the sticks to ready for the shot which was approx 110yds. Schoolboy error No2, I never got the safety off correctly, so when I steadied for the shot, nothing happened!!! Now considering all this wasn't going so well, I was still very calm and focussed throughout, so flicked off the safety and............................................... ..........

This is where you'll be expecting me to say I took aim and grassed my 1st deer. Well your wrong!! I pulled the flaming shot and missed!!! I reloaded straight away and strangely they didn't all run so followed him round ready to take another shot. At this point we could not tell if he was injured and although he was still standing, he was directly in front of another so I could not take another shot. A few seconds passed and they all then ran and he was perfectly ok. We went to examine the area in case I'd wounded him, which I was getting worried about but it seemed I had pulled it that badly that I'd shaved some fur off which was laying on the floor!!

As you can imagine I was not feeling great at this point and started 2nd guessing myself but after some re-assurance we headed off in search of a Roe buck instead. A bit of a drive around and we spotted a Roe in a field but after a stalk it turned out to be a doe. We then tried another area but the weather turned nasty so we headed back for some lunch.

After a pleasant afternoon gassing and listening to many a good story from Malc we headed back to the same area where I missed in case they had returned. We checked the same field but nothing showed, so had a stalk through some woods where there is a rutting stand, all the time Malc pointing out things my novice eyes were not picking up! Out the other side of the woods we waited on the edge of a field where they sometimes show for maybe 15-20mins, also giving the imposing dark clouds chance to blow over!

Nothing showed so we turned about and although the wind was not in our favour Malc spotted a couple of Fallow down in a dip around 80-90 yards away. No schoolboy errors this time as I was up and ready on the sticks waiting for confirmation. There was a doe clearly in view but the other one was obscured by a tree next to a brook. I was on it through the scope and as it popped it's head out past the tree my side I could see a button, but Malc could not so I needed to wait. It turned round and came out from behind the tree and malc confirmed it was a young buck so I could take the shot.

Again I was calm and focussed before the shot and took on board some guidance that Malc had given me during the day, about getting on aim and pulling the trigger rather than dwelling and trying to be too precise. Coupled with the whisper from malc of 'don't miss this one Stratts', I squeezed and hit home. I re-loaded ready to take another shot as he had kicked the legs out and gone down directly behind a tree, so we were not 100% sure it was a clean shot. This is when my heartrate started going and the shakes set in!! A few deep breathes and we set off towards the deer, rifle readied just in case it was wounded but there was no need as it turned out to be a clean heart shot. I don't make the same mistake twice!!

We got to it and I remembered to do the eyeball check with my sticks and Malc set about the gralloch. I had the pleasure of dragging it to the truck which is when I also realised just how unfit I am!! Back at the larder he did a bit more and offered me the carcass, which was gratefully accepted and I turned some of it into burgers yesterday!!

So, there you have it! I hope I haven't bored you to sleep and I am now well and truly hooked, although I think it's pretty clear I was already!! Thanks again to Malc and everyone else who has supported me and my fellow bursars and hopefully this will be the 1st of many,


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  1. seanct's Avatar
    Well, I'm in the car going from one job to the next (as a passenger) and that read has stopped me from going to sleep. I can't stay awake in a moving vehicle unless I'm driving. Well done stratts you've done good! Thankyou for sharing that with us.

    Now I have another ten minutes before I land at my destination so good night.