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Thread: Herts cull weekend -First outing

  1. #1

    Herts cull weekend -First outing

    So to Hertfordshire for the cull weekend. I was looking forward to meeting like minded people, picking their brains and gaining more experience with my new rifle. I was immediately impressed with the welcome and setup at the club, but you don’t want to hear about briefings, catering equipment, cakes and log burners do you?….. you want to hear about shooting, right?

    I lacked a little confidence in my new rifle, so Ian had allowed some extra time on the club’s range. Ian helped me to select a preferred round from the four that I had brought along. Norma 139gn SP 6.5 X 55 it was to be. After 3 quick shots and a very good group, I had renewed confidence and was ready for my outing.

    Trevor drove myself and Charlie to an outlying piece of ground, in persistent rain. On the way a coin was tossed to decide who got which seat, and I won. My choice was a covered high seat or a free-stander in open ground. I opted for the covered option, after a dignified period of contemplation and masked delight. Installing myself in the ‘wendy house’ overlooking the beet top, beans and carrots, the situation looked promising, especially for Muntjac. However Trevor had warned me how close the public footpath was and how the land next door belonged to an unsupportive neighbour.

    The skies darkened further, mist rolled in, and I hunkered down against the cold wind in my cosy seat. My thoughts went out to Charlie in his seat, but only briefly as I became distracted by a Star Bar and a steaming cup of coffee on the bench next to me . Visibility was dropping rapidly and conditions were fast becoming unshootable; I thought that our chances were gone. Just then, 4 young fallow came sprinting in to the feeding ground. A friend of mine would describe their approach as “Coming in on rails”. Immediately the group had their heads down feeding, in a close bunch.

    Remembering a conversation with another stalker from earlier, I looked to see if there was a mature doe that I could take first, but none seemed to fit the bill. I decided instead to try and take the front doe, in hope of then picking off the hindmost, thereby pinching the other two, but the deer were too close together to risk any shot.

    After 5 minutes I was still waiting for a shot to present when a power tool started up in a nearby house. This spooked the deer and they seemed close to flight. The second most deer, a buck, suddenly presented a broadside shot with a clear backstop. I swung the rifle round, placed my illuminated reticule on the chest and squeezed the trigger.

    There was the sound of good contact and I immediately reloaded. The deer appeared to sway slightly, almost stunned for a moment, but then quickly gathered itself and ran into open ground, prompting the rest to do the same. The deer swung round in a broad arc and started to head towards me. I thought I’d seen a jet of blood, but as it ran past me in apparently good order I started to doubt my eyes. And my shot.

    I began to rehearse what I would say back at base “I was sure the shot was OK, it sounded good. It wasn’t a gut shot. I swear”.
    As I finished this thought I saw my quarry stumble slightly, then slow, then stop. Right on the boundary. He laid down on the footpath, in a rather orderly fashion, seeming to rest at first. Then his head lolled and he fell on his side. I waited for a few more seconds, but he clearly still had life in him and I could hear the gurgle of his lungs. I felt that I could not shoot again as the deer was partially over the boundary.

    I grabbed my knife and jumped down to finish the deer off. Only when I arrived at the deer did I realise that I was unsure of how to do this. I really was stumped. Realising that the only wrong decision was to not make a decision, I selected stabbing the beast in the chest, guessing that where one would normally bleed a deer carcass would be effective. Mercifully, this appeared to do the trick. It was my first lesson of many on the weekend, a gap in knowledge that I made sure to correct at the earliest opportunity.

    I dragged the deer to the foot of the high seat as quickly as possible. Reviewing the shot, the placement looked good, exactly where I had aimed. Although the heart was missed, the lungs were destroyed and bullet expansion seemed good, all with negligible meat damage. However, if the deer had run straight for cover it would have penetrated quite some distance and I might have been facing a difficult retrieve in ever darkening conditions.

    There was much to be learnt from the experience, much to ponder, but the new rifle had claimed its first fallow.
    Herts weekend Mar 2013 - Friday night fallow - The Stalking Directory Photo Gallery
    Thanks for reading. I know that this would have been less painful as a video.
    Last edited by pob; 15-03-2013 at 13:10.

  2. #2
    Nice writeup. Well done. I expect Ian brought you up to speed.

    Suggest you also study Culling | bestpracticeguides and read the humane dispatch sections.

    Better still, subscribe. Best 15 you will spend on stalking.
    Last edited by Sharpie; 15-03-2013 at 14:58.

  3. #3
    Nice write up I had thought about booking a place but didn't manage to sort work out in time and I must say being just down the road I did feel slightly sorry for those taking part with the weather.

  4. #4
    Yes, I asked lots of people and got a lot of advice.

    The chest seemed a popular choice; with added wiggle.

    A few went for the atlas joint(?), between the base of the ears. I wasn't so sure how that works with a moving head.

    One said, "Don't use 6.5"

    That link is very useful. I've visited that site many times actually, before my DSC1. They seem to suggest drawing a knife deep across the throat.

  5. #5
    From the sounds of it and from the picture you could have just left it quiet for a few minutes and it would have finished bleeding out it wasn't going anywhere else with that amount of damage

  6. #6
    That's exactly what I did on the Sunday morning.

    You have given me an idea for a second long and rambling tale......

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by pob View Post
    Yes, I asked lots of people and got a lot of advice.

    The chest seemed a popular choice; with added wiggle.

    A few went for the atlas joint(?), between the base of the ears. I wasn't so sure how that works with a moving head.

    One said, "Don't use 6.5"

    That link is very useful. I've visited that site many times actually, before my DSC1. They seem to suggest drawing a knife deep across the throat.
    Unless you really know what you are doing, please don't try the atlas joint. Its very tricky, I find it difficult enough to get to swiftly just when cutting off the head. Also it doesn't kill the deer, just paralyses it same as a high neck shot. This is what I have been told.

    The way I was taught, is (after assessing risks) to approach from behind, grasp the muzzle to hold the head firmly (and prevent screams, which can be upsetting to bystanders), then insert the knife upside down into the jawline until you reach the bone and cut outwards. Keep on cutting until you have severed the carotids, jugulars and windpipe. Maybe cut all the way round to the other side. By cradling from behind you might avoid the blood spurts. And less risk from antlers.

    Cutting from the inside out is safer and ensures you do it completely.

    Also saves chipping a cherished blade against bone.

    I've practiced this in the larder, and I'm confident I could do it well, but it caused me to get a bigger knife. My swingblade and backup clipper would be marginal. Best Practice say minimum 5 inch blade. Also useful for bleeding e.g. head or neck shots.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by al4x1 View Post
    From the sounds of it and from the picture you could have just left it quiet for a few minutes and it would have finished bleeding out it wasn't going anywhere else with that amount of damage
    ​+1 You always give them a good few minutes.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpie View Post
    Unless you really know what you are doing, please don't try the atlas joint. Its very tricky, I find it difficult enough to get to swiftly just when cutting off the head. Also it doesn't kill the deer, just paralyses it same as a high neck shot. This is what I have been told.

    .
    Agree that the atlas is not the best way to dispatch and that a neck cut is probably the best option. I have heard people saying the atlas cut only paralises however a cut to the spinal cord at this level would be fatal no doubt. The old medical aide memoir of C 3, 4, 5 keeps the diaphragm alive (in humans) means that any cut above this level will deprive the diaphragm of nerve innervation. Now the atlas is C 1 i.e the first vertabrae and the atlas cut is between the atlas and the skull which is the top of the atlas. Surely any cut at this level will stop inervation to all nerves. Im no neurologist but Im pretty sure im right. No doubt someone will tell me if im wrong.

  10. #10
    I was told the autonomic nervous system keeps things going for a while.
    Last edited by Sharpie; 15-03-2013 at 17:21.

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