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Thread: In Clover

  1. #1
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    In Clover

    Managed a trip out again last Sunday morning, with the hope of catching the tail end of the rut. Arrived on the ground at around 05:00, parking the jeep off the road, getting all the kit ready and letting the dog out. I'd been told that a 4 point buck had been seen in a field adjacent to the M4, so to get to it I crossed the local road and entered the wood. This wood - little more than a coppice really - holds a good number of roe and muntjac, but stalking is restricted because of the nearby motorway. However, between the wood and a nursery plantation of christmas trees is a 300 yard wide field of clover and by stalking through the wood it's possible to spy any deer using it for breakfast. This same field has a natural valley running through it, at right angles to the motorway, so if a deer is in there you have a great natural backstop as well as an elevated position from which to observe and shoot.

    With blue skies above me it was promising to be a beautiful morning, and as I made my way carefully through the wood I used my binoculars to look into the field beyond. I immediately spied a doe about half way across the field in the base of the valley, with what looked like last year's doe kid, so hoped there might be a buck nearby. The wire fence between the wood and the field has seen better days, but there are a couple of handy fenceposts still in place. Sitting the dog down behind a gorse bush, I got on my hands and knees and crawled forwards so I could get a better look.

    The older doe now had her head up and was looking my way - whether it was me or the dog, something had caught her attention. Once she had her head down I eased the bipod fully up so the rifle would be ready for a sitting shot should a buck appear. Clearly uneasy, the doe had another look in my direction she then trotted away from me and up the far side of the valley, taking the kid with her. They then ran in an arc towards the motorway, which was about 200 yards to my right, and entered the wood at the boundary fence. Just before they entered the wood another, previously unseen, doe in the field joined them.

    Figuring I would give it another 15 minutes before moving off I settled myself into a more comfortable position and - still mentally kicking myself for failing to spot the third doe - set about a more careful study of the field. There was nothing in the clover, but a flash of chestnut in the rough grass on the far side showed that there were other deer nearby. Sure enough, the four-point buck revealed himself He made his way out into the clover, but pinging him with the rangefinder proved he was a good 250 yards away. Preferring a closer opportunity, I gave the Buttolo a couple of squeeks and up went his head, although he didn't look overly interested. Just then a doe appeared from the left, making her way along the rough border that the buck had just vacated. My calling skills - limited at the best of times - were no match for the real thing as the buck caught her scent and trotted up to meet her. Taking a couple of moments to scent mark, she then moved off into the rough grass with the buck close behind. I lost sight of them for a moment, and then the doe reappeared 50 yards or so to the right . The buck, however, retraced his steps and came back out into the field. Whether he was a one-minute wonder or he'd simply been given the brush-off I've no idea, but he continued to graze his way down the far side of the valley, heading towards me.

    I tried a couple more squeeks and on he came, now at a trot, but still stopping occasionally to graze away at the clover. Now in the base of the valley he was around 125 yards away, so settling myself behind the scope I waited for him to turn boradside on. This he obligingly did and with the crosshairs just behind his shoulder I squeezed the trigger. He leaped at the shot and then ran 30 metres towards the motorway before collapsing and disappearing into the clover. Gathering up the dog and my sticks, we crossed the fence and started the short walk to where the beast lay. The dog picked up the trail and worked her way up to the animal, giving him the normal desultory sniff and then sitting by his side. Checking his eye with the end of my stalking sticks I then dragged him back to the fence to perform the gralloch, feeling all of the 49 pounds he subsequently reached on the scales in the larder.



    It was only 06:00, but as I prepared the buck I could hear the cars and trucks hammering along the motorway and thought how much more fortunate I was than them.

    willie_gunn

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Nice one Dom
    They seam to like clover on one of my patches, around 300 acres of the stuff but they can vanish in it just quickly.

    Jonathon

  4. #4
    nice write up and buck dominic

  5. #5
    Nice write up & a very nice buck Dom.

    ATB
    Chris

  6. #6
    Well done - I enjoyed reading that. I've got some ground right next to the M4 as well, and know that getting into position for a safe shot can be a real challenge. Seeing all the commuter traffic never fails to make me appreciate the time I get to spend stalking.

  7. #7
    Nice one mate
    always nice to read a honest write up
    met a great fella the other evening and he passed up a chance for a beast because he felt the shot was was not right
    can't ask more than that


    maybe next time we will be more fortunate
    ATB

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    That's a great piece of footage - I can even hear Fallow whining in the background!! It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I can't thank you enough. We saw three deer species (fallow, muntjac and roe), got to stalk some great ground, and I got to see not one deer tracker but two!

    For anyone interested, the buck originally came out of the wood that you can see in the background and crossed into the corn (you can see the horizontal 'path' it used). This would have been the time to take the shot, but it was somewhere around 150 yards and, as Stone says, I didn't feel comfortable taking the shot off the sticks. It then came up the tramline band was about four steps away from a clear shot. Oh well, that's stalking!

    Thanks again

    willie_gunn

  9. #9
    Cracking footage Rich
    As you say Dom, Thats stalking.

    Regards
    Jonathon

  10. #10
    Cracking write up. Sounds like a great place to stalk!

    Great pics too, is that heavy for a Roe buck then?

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