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Thread: In which the Pine Marten picks on Asiatic deer species.

  1. #1

    In which the Pine Marten picks on Asiatic deer species.

    Part 1: Chinese water deer

    After eight months of anticipation, during which quite a lot of important things happened, I have a Chinese water deer in my sights, and they’re weaving all over the place. Thirty seconds before, I had been chatting with Sikamalc, having set forth from the B&B five minutes earlier, we’d just turned the corner of a field near a large haystack, when he stopped and urgently whispered “There! Use the haystack!”. It was like being awoken suddenly, I hadn’t really mentally started stalking yet, but I put up my rifle, put the deer about 100 metres away in the crosshairs. Unfortunately the sudden adrenaline rush meant that my reticule was doing figures-of-eight all over the deer’s body. I couldn’t stabilise it, and I didn’t want to risk injuring it, and then it moved off, so I stood down. This turned out to be a mistake, because it only sauntered off a few metres. “It’s stopped again” says Malc. What? But I haven’t come down from the previous excitement yet! OK, back up on the haystack. This time I try to control my breathing, it’s better than last time, I hold the crosshairs on the chest, squeeze the trigger, squeeze, squeeze, and the deer’s off again, before I had time to squeeze hard enough to let the shot off. Perhaps a case of exercising a little too much trigger control there. All of that took about a minute and a half. “You’re going to have to be faster than that, mate. That could be your chance for the morning”. Yes, I know, damn it. Now in my mind I’m falling back on my usual silver linings: I’ve seen my first Chinese water deer. I didn’t risk wounding it. And then I think that it’s not even 8am, the sun’s very low in the sky, and we haven’t finished yet.

    We move off to another area. At the crest of a hill we stop to glass the area to the right. After a few minutes, from about a kilometre away, we (I mean Malc of course, but I’m going to say “we” for stylistic purposes) spot four deer grazing on a field near the end a hedge that stops halfway through it. They’re just under the top of a ridge, presumably a little sheltered from the wind, so we head off around the area to arrive downwind of them, with a possible hidden approach path. This is different from before, there are no surprises here. We know exactly where the deer are, that they’re out in the open with little cover, and that we will stick out like sore thumbs if we peep over a ridge. We walk to the edge of the first field, stop to glass, but can’t see them. We can see the hedge though, on the other side of which they should be. They probably can’t see us, so he move, increasingly stooped, across the next field until we enter a shallow dip. Now we can’t see them, we think they’re over the crest of the ridge, through the hedge, but we don’t know, so we’re low, slow, quiet. My pulse is racing now, but it’s not panic like before. This is just alertness, concentrating on not ruining this opportunity. Near the end of the gully, we can just peep over the ridge to glass the next field. There’s one deer a long way off, in a totally different place, and we think they’ve moved since we first saw them. We move up the slope towards the hedge, and suddenly we’re proved wrong: there they are, still grazing peacefully, through the hedge, down the other side of the slope. We pull back, back up the gully, meaning to approach them upslope from our side of the hedge. At this point, Malc says “I’ll leave you to it”. I’ve never done this before, but I’m not particularly worried about my ability to move stealthily. So off I go, slower and slower, lower and lower, keeping below the skyline. I can glimpse the deer as they move in and out of holes in the hedge. Then I’m on all fours. Just before the ditch in front of the hedge, I bring my binoculars up, but I realise that I can’t tell whether these are bucks or does, and that my selection criterion now is whether I can find a clear line of sight through the hedge. So I ditch the binoculars and start to move sideways towards a likely-looking hole in the hedge. There are a couple of twigs across the left-hand hole, but the right-hand one is clear, so the deer in that window is the target. I’m lying on my front, rifle shouldered, I control my breathing, this should be a straightforward shot, perhaps eighty metres away. This time, it’s a relaxed shot from a good rest, so I set the trigger to avoid a repeat of earlier events. Then I just sort of imagine firing and bang! The deer goes down on the spot. I reload, watch for signs of movement through the scope, there are a few twitches. “It’s not going anywhere! You can go and see what you got” says Malc.

    The feeling of relief is immense, then pride starts to creep in. It’s last year’s doe, a beautiful little animal. I look around for something to give it a “last bite”, but there’s just nothing around yet in February. Malc gives me a hug, which can’t be part of the usual service. My first Chinese water deer. But with hindsight, that’s not the point: I owe Malc my first real stalk on my own. I have photos, a deer, and I’ll look at the pictures, and eat the deer. But what will remain will be the knowledge that I know I can do this. So Malc, my heartfelt thanks for that, because that's something that I can keep.

    Attachment 38417

    (Part 2 to follow)

  2. #2
    great write up! makes me want to get out again.

  3. #3
    Well done PM that’s a lovely doe and a nicely placed shot that demonstrates perfect breathing and trigger control.

    I reckon you deliberately let that first beast go so you wouldn’t be back on the Tube before full sun up!



  4. #4
    Great read,well done


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Klenchblaize View Post

    I reckon you deliberately let that first beast go so you wouldn’t be back on the Tube before full sun up!


    Thanks K, but it wasn't quite time to go home yet. There's a Part 2 to this story coming up later on!

  6. #6
    Very well done PM , a morning to remember for a long time , lovely eating too !

  7. #7
    Well done.

    Great write up no doubt to be followed by a great cook-up.

  8. #8
    Well done and look forward to Part 2! Glad the Fusion kept to their end of the bargain!

  9. #9
    Regular Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Well done PM and thank you for sharing with the write-up. Yum!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Foss View Post
    Well done PM and thank you for sharing with the write-up. Yum!
    You're welcome. I'm not done yet either! As regards cooking, the CWD meat looks very much like veal both in colour and texture, I'm going to attempt a "blanquette de veau a l'ancienne", except that it will be a "blanquette d'hydropote a l'ancienne" instead. If that turns out as good as I think it will, I shall share the recipe with the hungry Masses. It will need some extra fat in it though so maybe a pig's trotter, something like that.

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