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Thread: Christmas eve outing

  1. #1

    Christmas eve outing

    I had successfully rushed to get to the end of everything that I had to do before Christmas. I had even wrapped my wife's presents and put them under the tree. In the afternoon of every Christmas eve we have to go to my mother in laws -its her birthday- but my industry had won me the morning for myself and there was only one thing I wanted to do with it. So I rose at my usual six AM -had a leisurely breakfast, headed to my favourite high seat and was still settled an hour before dawn.

    This steep wood faces Southwest and so it is dark in the mornings. In this wood, an hour before a mid winter dawn is still just too dark for my Swarovski Z6 2.5 -15x56 but my clothes were warm so it was simply a pleasure to sit and watch the wood expand around me as the first hints of dawn came.

    The gentle wind was perfectly straight onto my face. I could look forward to the prospect of something coming from any direction in the two trails that lay below me. One trail passes no more than 12 feet below the high seat and sometimes you can have an absolutely breathless wait as a deer passes only feet below you and you try to silently move into position for the shot that will present itself when the deer is retreating. Other times you have a brief view of a deer on a popular trail in the bowl of the valley below. Here you must be decisive because there are many trees and the visible section of the trail is short before the curve of the hillside swallows it up.

    The colours came back to the wood and later I felt the dawn come on a fairly non descript sort of day that offered neither sun nor wind nor rain. My excitement rose a couple of times at flickers of movement in the woods below but I knew they were only grey squirrels even before the adrenalin from the sudden movement hit my heart. It always feels somewhat odd experiencing the effects of a shot of adrenalin from something that your brain has already decided is not the exciting thing it had anticipated when it ordered that adrenalin.

    Then a Muntjac came from my left on the upper trail. The upper trail is very straight and you can see a good 75 yards down it. However you have to change the rifle to your left shoulder to shoot and the deer must not see the movement. He glanced to his left as he trotted and I made my move.

    Then it was the horrid moment of wrestling with the Blaser cocking button under the large scope. I had been practising this by the fire in the evenings till my thumb peeled back painfully from the nail. At home I can usually get it cocked silently but I find the slow precise movement made under strain hard and the opposite of what one should be doing preparing for a shot. The Blaser is a lovely rifle with lots of good features but this noisy cocking button is its big weakness in close hunting. Practice is the only solution and I need more of it. I would say that morning I got the rifle cocked with 20% of the noise it would have made if I had just pushed it up without great care. I was not pleased but Mr Muntjac was still over 50 metres away and he heard nothing.

    He passed a big Beech tree at 50 metres range which still held the bullet that killed one of his lady friends and then suddenly he turned, just as she had, and looked out over the valley.

    The 165 grain twin cored 0.308 bullet took him through the heart. He took a step, lay on the verge of the slope and twitched for a moment before relaxing in death. The relaxation caused him to plummet down the steep hillside, just as it did two other deer I have shot on this path. They stay on the slope while they have body tension but it is too steep for a limp body.

    I was suddenly clutching my rifle and gasping for breath. Had I actually remembered to breathe from the point when I had seen the Muntjac or was it just that it had happened so fast, all within 25 metres of a Muntjac's trot, that the excitement had simply taken my breath away?

    I knew he was stone dead but I still waited the customary time just to enjoy the thrill of the moment before descending the hill and struggling back up it with my prize. He was not the big antlered buck I have been seeing in my cameras but he was a Muntjac buck, my first Muntjac buck and my tenth deer. Ten deer of both sexes of Roe and Muntjac was my initial target for myself when I started in May and this fellow completed the set for me. He was the perfect Christmas present to myself.

    When I arrived home my 8 year old daughter Lara said "You have a twig in your hat Daddy, can I help you?" So we skinned and butchered Mr Muntjac. Lara fried the liver with onions and tomatoes while my wife complained that we were getting in the way of her early Christmas dinner preparation and then we took half of the meat to the woodland owner, who gave us Christmas cake. I got a taste of his home made ale, Lara got her first cup of undecaffinated coffee and we both went home pleased.

    Later I had to tolerate my brother in law wearing his jumper that says something like "I am a Vegan because I love animals" and expressing horror at a caffine and Christmas hyper Lara blurting out to the room that "Daddy is dosing off now because he went out this morning and shot a Muntjac buck and I skinned it and the skin is hard to get off a Muntjac but they taste really good, I don't think Daddy has done Mummy's Christmas stocking yet because he went hunting".

    "Oh how charming!" my brother in law concludes theatrically. "Yeah bro" I think to myself "you love animals and I love animals. I shoot some of them and you and your boyfriend keep a bunch of cats that you don't let out of the house in case they hurt themselves. Its a wide and crazy world brother. I may be socially unacceptable and deviant in your circles but was made this way. I am as happy as can be about it. Deep down, in spite of it all, I love you too."

    It was a good evening. A family Christmas after a really satisfying hunt. Family and hunting -two of the best things in life. Neither are easy to get right but you love them and when they go right enough, life is right.

    Its a very ordinary little story but one that pleases me.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Nice story well written Sivius. I have a gay vegan brother in law too. They are quite special!
    So much to learn and so little time left

  3. #3
    Thanks Nigel. It was a bit nerve wracking submitting a story that said "I went down a local wood and shot a scruffy little Muntjac from a high seat". I hadn't gone anywhere exciting, done anything clever or shot anything that anyone would envy me for. But I had really enjoyed my day and I wanted to see if I could write the story in a way that shared that. Cheers, Paul

  4. #4
    Bravo, I enjoyed that very much, you caught the essence of why we hunt!

  5. #5
    Very nice write and yes i am envious ,no munties near us yet,regards doug.

  6. #6
    A very good write up if you ask me,nice to see your daughter getting involved at an early age,well done.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Well done nice write up and nice to see you family happy to know where dinner comes from.In Law.s eh cant live with em,cant live with em
    she buys shoes i buy ,shooting,she stops buying shoes,il be amazed

  9. #9
    Nice story, you can choose your friends :-)

  10. #10
    enjoyed reading that, well done on the muntjac

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