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Thread: Another weekend with Willie-Gunn

  1. #1

    Another weekend with Willie-Gunn

    Last Friday I found myself making my way down to Willie-Gunns'.
    Arrived about 5ish and was greeted by a lovely meal while Dom explained the plan for the next 2 days. Then into the vehicle for the trip to one part of the estate, but the initial plan was abandoned due to a chainsaw going in the wood where we were planning sitting in a high seat. So about turn and made our way down a set aside field with a large amount of roe coloured docks.
    After stopping and calling to see if we could tease a buck from the margins but nothing showing. We continued along the spinney side glassing all the way, it just looked as though any minute a buck could appear from the hollows in this field, but none showed.
    We were about 50m away from the corner and we cut through the spinney to go into the next field which had wheat groing, along the headland and turned right to make our way along an ajoining tree line.
    There was evidence of deer everywhere we went from browse, paths and fresh pellets. The signs were looking good. We got to within 75-100m of the corner of the field where it met up with another larger wood.
    Waited with rifle on sticks glassing all the time, when Dom said 'buck'. Out on the corner of the large wood was a feeder and a nice buck was now making his way slowly towards the corner we were covering. In and out of view not quite knowing where he would appear next but then he emerged 50m in front of us heading our way. Slowly adjusted and waited for the go ahead from Dom. Then he turned and a low neck shot presented and the shot was taken and down he went.
    Waited and made our way forward, check for reflex. No life. A nice 4 point buck to start the weekend. Forgot to takephoto's in the field so one taken after larder work done.

    Up early Sat morning and back in the vehcile after a bowl of cereal and a coffee. We were to collect the 'boss' on the way. We heade to another piece of ground around 40miles away. Which consisted of a valley with vinyards part of the way up, arable and a few stock fields. Parked up by the buildings, kitted up and off to some high ground in the pre-dawn light. We could see a good part of this half of the permission so was the ideal vantage point.
    Dom spotted a doe and a follower in a set-aside field below a cover crop of maize. Then another spotted by the hedge running down 90 degrees to the one we were against but around 180m away.
    Plan now in place as Dom and myself made our way to the hedge, now for the crawl trying to aviod the cow pats, after 150m we could now see a nice buck chasing another doe in the cover crop, slowly made our way to the fence/hedge line. As we got to the corner, we bumped 3 does which made there way down the hedge we had just crawled along but on the other side. Dam. The buck was still on the crop but his attention was now on the doe in the bottom corner in the set aside. Dom called but he did not responed. A lovly looking buck with virtually black antlers.
    He made his way down to the bottom and then disappeared in the ragwert and docks. As much as we tried we could not find the buck again. After about an hour of looking we made our way back to the fence where the 'boss' was waiting. He had seen several other deer over the far side of the permission in the wheat. We made our way along the top to see if any other bucks were out but lady luck was not with us this morning BUT it was a great stalk and when we got back to the vehicle we had seen 16 roe in total. Sometimes its just as good to spot, watch and take in these buetiful creatures.

    Saturday late afternoon after more food then one man should eat during a day we were back in the vehicle on our way to the 'valley' again but this time to the other side of the road. Which consisted of large wheat fields with a block of mixed woodland. We had spotted five roe in total in the morning so we thought we should start this side. We made our way along the farthest hedge where we could scan the top side of the wood which had a cover crop of small maize by it. We got to a spying point and a roe popped out followed by 2 kids. It was only 6.30 in the evening and they were out! We kept on spying and 2 more were out farther along the wood. From where we were we could not make our way to the top without being sprung.
    Plan B came into affect, we headed back down the road to get to the bottom of the wood and come up through the wood. We could not see much in the lower half but the floor opened up as we got 3/4 of the way up and we got ourselves settled at the base of a tree, with the long bipod deployed Dom started to call. Wait and call again. Nothing seemed to be responed. We were just about to make our way to the other side when a chestnut movement caught my eye some 80m through the trees, bins up and a buck was making his way along the top of the wood.
    He kept on coming, pausing to mark some underlying branches. We could now make out a cracking looking 6 pointer. He kept on coming but he was now sky lined due to the fact he was only a couple of yards in the wood and we were below him down the banked wood.
    Keeping perfectly still we could see him coming closer and closer until he was no more then 15m directly 90 degrees to my left. BY now he had sensed that some thing was there but could not make out what we were. I daren't move my head to see him more clearly as he would see us. Dom was on the lower side of the tree we were sitting against and looking at him through the gap behind me. Fallow his black lab was great just staying put behind Dom. I think the buck was more interested in the dog.
    I was straining so much looking left without moving my head at one point I thought I was looking through my left ear. My eyes felt like dthey were on stalks and they were killing me.
    The buck now bounced some 20m back in the direction he came still not sure. I think he was straining his eyes just as much as I was to make us out, BUT he then came back and was now in the same place he was before. This had now been going on some 15-20 mins by now.
    Then he turned and moved down the bank slightly quartering away from us in front around a holly bush, Then he turned directly downhill in front of us. By now he was no more than 10m away directly in front of us. Dom wispered take him, but my angle was different to his and I daren't move the bipod as he was so close. I managed to move slightly so I had him in the scope. All I could see was this cracking buck looking at me down his long nose, then he lifted his head to 'open' up enough of his neck for the shot. Down he went no more than 10m from where we were sat.
    Now I could not move for a while because I was shaking so much. Dom and myself were grinning like cheshire cats and could not believe what we had just been part of.

    The last 30mins will remian in my memory for a very long time!!!!!!!!

    Just like to thank Dom for another great trip down south. Pippa for feeding me more than I should eat but I couldn't resist.

    Dom it's great to stalk with you again mate, we seam to make a habit of having great stalking together. Cheers mate


  2. #2
    Another great time was had by all then Jono & congratulations on the two bucks, shame you didn't have time for a meet up this time mate but see you soon.


    Life should be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving skidding in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO what a ride!

  3. #3
    A nice couple of bucks, and good write up, it is an amazing experience having something normally so wary coming in so close, an unforgetable experience.


  4. #4
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    As ever it's the company that makes for the experience - it was a pleasure as always to spend time with you.

    As you say, the stalk on Saturday evening will stay long in the memory. I don't think I've ever held my breath and kept that still for that long - my legs were getting cramp but it was worth persevering while he made his way around us trying to figure out what we were. I was sure the buck was going to get spooked and bounce off through the woods but we were fortunate that his curiosity got the better of him Just goes to show that fieldcraft and keeping still is what it's all about.

    Just wish we had been as lucky fishing on the North Tyne the last few days. We've left the river foaming from all the thrashing about with the salmon rods but nothing to show for it. Think I'll stick to stalking for now.

    Glad you enjoyed the weekend and here's to the next one.

    All the best

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  5. #5
    Bet that took longer to write up than you

    Guys it sounded an absolute cracking weekend
    catch up soon with you both and nice one Dom

  6. #6
    Nice one chaps, good write up Jon.



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