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Thread: Caught up with an old friend tonight

  1. #1

    Caught up with an old friend tonight

    Hi All,

    On my bit of ground there is a long wood, and at the western end of this wood is a pheasant pen surrounded by mature oaks and understorey hazel coppice with a dense Holly thicket in the middle. This holly thicket is about 70 yds long and wide and is roughly square. In the spring the whole area is covered in beautiful bluebells and later on the bracken grows up and the whole place is hidden under a green jungle for more or less the rest of the year.
    The resident territorial buck is nothing special, and despite all our best efforts has held the territory for the last FIVE YEARS!!

    Why five years I hear you ask........... well this territory is right at the end of the wood, and in any direction, the wind forms a swirling vortex, which always gives our presence away to the buck which just retreats into the safety of the holly thicket and sits it out.What is even more frustrating is that once we have been busted by the buck it just sits there barking from the holly thicket for hours. Well we have taken countless stalkers after this buck, nicknamed the pheasant pen buck (of course) without success. Some came within a whisker of pulling the trigger, but each time it got away to continue its charmed life. I have been within 10 feet of the buck on about three occasions, with clients only to be busted each time before the clients could react, or they did try and react and the buck caught the movement, and legged it......

    Here is a picture I took of the buck four years ago, when the bluebells were out in the clearing next to the thicket, all I was armed with that day was binos and camera.

    http://i547.photobucket.com/albums/h...t/CNV00186.jpg

    Now normally we see this buck around three or four times at the start of the buck season and again a few times whilst out after it with clients then it just disappears in the bracken for the rest of the year. Last time I saw it was the middle of may last year.


    Well tonight, I waited below the wood with a German chap, against the hedge that runs up towards the pheasant pen, overlooking a young corn field in which I have watched up to four different bucks feeding over the last couple of weeks. I had a already seen a young velvet buck emerge out of the wood to feed, looking very nervous, and a three or four year old walked in, over from the boundry and into the wood further up when suddenly a young buck burst out of the wood in front of us being chased by the long lost pheasant pen buck.It chased the young buck up over the hill to the boundry of the next farm, before turning back, mouth open panting, and retracing its steps into the end of the wood and the safety of the holly thicket again. Antlers were exactly the same spindly shape as in the picture, and seeing as the buck was mature four years ago it must be getting pretty old by now. Sadly the nearest the buck came to our position on his return trip, was about 180 yds which was well out of the capabilities of the client, even off a bipod.

    On the one hand it is nice to know that he is still holding his territory after this time, however on the other hand he is well past his sell by date so maybe needs taking out to free up the prime spot for something better to take possession.

    What do you think, leave him be or take him out???




    Lakey
    Last edited by Lakey; 23-04-2010 at 23:37.

  2. #2
    Take him if you can I reckon he'll die of old age before you get him

    Its a personal thing and I understand why you would leave him I think I would. Good management suggests taking him i guess. I enjoy a good adversary and they then deserve all their victories and then leaving. On a different note I shoot a lot of vermin. There is a crow locally with a funny leg, he out witted me a few times and I missed him once. He continues to survive a solitary existence and despite several attempts to get him he survives. As far as I am concerned he's on a free pass now

  3. #3
    My vote is leave him, he's smart and tough and earned his place to live out his life. Lots would probably disagree but I figure the dumb or unlucky ones are the ones to go, the smarter ones maybe just maybe pass on some better genes and makes it harder and therfore more fun in the years to come.

  4. #4
    I totally agree with Nick and SDD.

    You have obviously got a lot of respect for the animal so just keep a watchful eye on him. If he starts to deteriorate fast or if he loses his status as top dog then take him out of the frame.

    Rocky
    The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple

  5. #5
    I'd also say leave him. He's been a worthy adversary over the years, let him live out what time he has left in peace.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingduckdog View Post
    Take him if you can I reckon he'll die of old age before you get him

    Its a personal thing and I understand why you would leave him I think I would. Good management suggests taking him i guess. I enjoy a good adversary and they then deserve all their victories and then leaving. On a different note I shoot a lot of vermin. There is a crow locally with a funny leg, he out witted me a few times and I missed him once. He continues to survive a solitary existence and despite several attempts to get him he survives. As far as I am concerned he's on a free pass now
    I agree that good management would suggest taking him out of the picture as his is occupying a really prime territory, and probably putting positively average genes around the place everytime he breeds, however try as we might, he seems to know everytime we get anywhere near his end of the wood. I dont think it is any co-incidence that he has lived so long in that particular place as it doesnt seem to matter which direction you approach, that swirling wind always seems to get a whiff of your scent to him to alert him that you are about. That is why he has got so old.
    My mate had a similar situation a couple of years ago, and he elected to shoot the animal. within days of removing the poor old buck, a medal quality buck had taken over the spot.
    I mean, it is not as if we havent tried to shoot this one many many times. He just seems to have a sixth sense of when danger is around, so he slinks back to the safety of the holly thicket. Very Clever buck this one!!

    Lakey

  7. #7
    I just would not make a special effort to shoot him.If he starts getting old and slow he will present himself to you for an easy shot

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mickjgardner View Post
    I just would not make a special effort to shoot him.If he starts getting old and slow he will present himself to you for an easy shot
    +1 on that, its the natural order that when he loses his smarts, he will get himself in front of you but, as said above, I would not make a determined effort to get him. I think it is clear to all who read your post that you will not take him to make up numbers, your respect for him is evident in every line.

  9. #9
    can you not walk in with 3 or 4 people, and leave one up a high seat?

    as said if he is average, he has had his day. several times by the sound of things.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bobt View Post
    can you not walk in with 3 or 4 people, and leave one up a high seat?

    as said if he is average, he has had his day. several times by the sound of things.
    I have thought of this idea many times, but I dont think that would be a fitting end for this buck. True, he is probably past his best and I will probably shoot him, as and when I get the opportunity, however out of respect and admiration for this animal it needs to be a one on one proper stalk rather than just pushing him out of his cover towards a waiting gun. As I said I have known this buck for the last five years, and he was past middle age then IMHO, so he must be an old man by now. He has selected this territory because it gives him an advantage, and the very fact that he has held it for so long, means that he knows everything about the bit of ground and more importantly, everything about the special advantages it brings to him. The window of opportunity on this buck is short, as much beyond mid may, the bracken grows up so high that it is im/possible to find any deer in the woods let alone this animal. that is why he has lived so long.If a client shot this animal all that he would see is a positively average(past his best and going back) old buck,he wouldnt have any idea about the early morning and evening duels with this beast and the frustrations over the years trying to bring him to bag.

    Lakey

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