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Thread: No roebuck were harmed in the writing of this thread.

  1. #1

    No roebuck were harmed in the writing of this thread.

    This weekend, I had the pleasure of returning once again to Sikamalc’s patch in West Sussex in pursuit once more of the roebuck that have eluded me for the past three years. This was quite a special trip in that I had the luxury of travelling there by car courtesy of my newest stalking buddy and, conveniently, neighbour, Foss. I didn’t have to ruthlessly pack everything tightly in as few bags as possible, I didn’t have to take collapsible iceboxes and foldable trolleys to take a deer home, I didn’t have to make myself inconspicuous on public transport, it was all just so easy! This is how everyone else does it! On the way there, talking to Foss, I discovered that he really doesn’t need to pay for any additional stalking, and that he genuinely just wanted to come stalking with Malc and myself, for which I am very grateful, especially since we’d only met once before at the SD London drinks evening about a year ago. So Foss, thanks very much indeed, I really appreciate it, and let’s do something like this again sometime! Perhaps Scrumbag and/or Geoshot, also local gents, may like to join in?

    We met Malcolm for lunch at a pub near the bothy, where it quickly emerged that he and Foss had spent years staking in the same part of the Highlands, to the extent that they knew the same people, the same rivers, rocks, slopes, individual tree stumps and specific holes in peat bogs, so when they started talking, they were unstoppable. No difficulty in making friends there, then! But at some point, lunch had to stop, so we went off to the B&B to suit up before heading off to the bothy. It was hot, it was humid, and all our gear is to designed to deal with the more usual cold and wet weather, but like air conditioning in the UK, it’s just not really worth investing in warm weather equipment for the one weekend every five years when you may need it. So inappropriately dressed, Foss was set up in a highseat (the same one where I spent a morning the same time last year, being eaten by midges) and given a block of forestry to peruse at his leisure, whilst I stalked on foot with Malc.

    The stalking part of this story is going to be short. Specifically, 5.62km at an average speed of 1.92km/h according to my Ordnance Survey iPhone App. The vegetation was very high, the wheat wasn’t yet harvested, and essentially, no deer were showing. We spotted two does lying in two different fields, their heads just popping up from the wheat on occasion, mostly we were looking at a pair of ears, but there were no bucks in attendance. Plenty of evidence of where bucks had been chasing does or each other around in the wheat the day before, but they weren’t coming out to play for us. However, no experience is a wasted one, because Malc did teach me how to use the Butolo call he’d told me to buy, so next time, next time…

    It was 9.30pm by the time I walked up to Foss’ highseat on the off-chance that he was still there, since no-one had any mobile phone signal, and sure enough, there he was, having been around his beat in the interim. I’ll let him tell his story, but he hadn’t seen much either, just a roe doe and a fallow hind. We stopped for a hugely anticipated ice cold pint of cider on the way back to the B&B, before dining on a fantastic pork pie and a bottle of Sauternes that Foss had brought. I tell you, this trip was just five star all the way! Then a very short night, before the alarm went off, and Foss’ first words were “I hope I didn’t snore”, forcing me to immediately try and be friendly and polite, whereas actually I wanted to make an expletive-laden tirade about why on earth I choose to pursue hobbies that involve sleeping even less than I do at home with a small baby.

    By 4.15am, we were back at the bothy. “You look the way I feel” said Malc kinldy to me by way of greeting. This time, I was to return to the highseat from which I’d shot my first deer, a fallow pricket, almost three years ago now I think. It didn’t look the same in July, with all the vegetation being taller than I was! As soon as I had sat down, it started to rain. Well, at least this seat has a roof on it! Visibility wasn’t great, it was all quiet with no birdsong, and I have to admit to fighting to keep my eyes open. I had to give myself things to do to stay awake, so I set up my camera on the rail as I thought that if a deer turned up, I could try and film the action. In the event, that turned out to be useless, I had to resort to taking highseat selfies.

    Attachment 44524

    I didn’t see so much as a squirrel, just a buzzard that set up residence in a tree to my right, perhaps waiting for me to provide breakfast.

    Attachment 44525

    Three and a half hours later, Malcolm and Foss approached in the distance, whistling first to warn me. They’d had no luck either, although they had had an opportunity, but again, that’s Foss’ story. “I was just telling Foss that you’re probably wearing your magic roe-repellent pants again” said Malc. Well remembered. Clearly my “magic wildfowling pants”, a pair of camo boxers that a friend gave me for Christmas a few years back, are no better for roe than they are for wildfowl.

    It just remains for me to thank Malc for as always, doing his utmost to try and put me in front of a deer and for the good-natured smartypantsness. And of course my thanks go to Foss for being a great new stalking companion: hopefully, the first of many trips, once of which will eventually end up involving a roebuck! Unfortunately, I’m all out of stalking for this year, so that muntjac buck of mine will remain alone on the wall until next season. Ah well, at least I still have things to look forward to .

  2. #2
    ah well you got a ride out, but no cigar,nice write up atb doug,
    DONT START

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by AN DU RU FOX View Post
    ah well you got a ride out, but no cigar,nice write up atb doug,
    Thanks. Actually, Foss did mention that he had sort of intended to bring some Cohibas to go with the Sauternes and pork pie. So we almost had a cigar.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Thanks. Actually, Foss did mention that he had sort of intended to bring some Cohibas to go with the Sauternes and pork pie. So we almost had a cigar.
    DONT START

  5. #5
    Bad luck, PM... tall crops, rain, no bucks and a hangover... minging combination!
    Really enjoyed the write-up all the same, thanks.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Casual-T View Post
    Bad luck, PM... tall crops, rain, no bucks and a hangover... minging combination!
    Really enjoyed the write-up all the same, thanks.
    We didn't have hangovers! You can't have hangovers on a single pint and half a 375ml bottle of wine each. We're not lightweights to that extent... I'm not sure about Foss, but I suspect that we both suffer from parenthood-related sleep deprivation, which we aggravate with an unwise choice of hobbies. Well, "choice" is the wrong word. From having now spoken to Foss a fair bit, I think that we're on the same wavelength in that we no more chose to do this than we chose to eat. It's more akin to being irresistibly drawn to follow the five notes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    We didn't have hangovers! You can't have hangovers on a single pint and half a 375ml bottle of wine each. We're not lightweights to that extent... I'm not sure about Foss, but I suspect that we both suffer from parenthood-related sleep deprivation, which we aggravate with an unwise choice of hobbies. Well, "choice" is the wrong word. From having now spoken to Foss a fair bit, I think that we're on the same wavelength in that we no more chose to do this than we chose to eat. It's more akin to being irresistibly drawn to follow the five notes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...
    Atavistic pleasures are like that, aren't they? Nice story though, good times with likeminded people. Thanks for sharing.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    We didn't have hangovers! You can't have hangovers on a single pint and half a 375ml bottle of wine each. We're not lightweights to that extent... I'm not sure about Foss, but I suspect that we both suffer from parenthood-related sleep deprivation, which we aggravate with an unwise choice of hobbies. Well, "choice" is the wrong word. From having now spoken to Foss a fair bit, I think that we're on the same wavelength in that we no more chose to do this than we chose to eat. It's more akin to being irresistibly drawn to follow the five notes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...
    watch out you will end up in the spare room with a pile of mashed potatoes and a fork!!!making models of the highlands,
    DONT START

  9. #9
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    Thanks PM - I could insert that into my game book and it would do very nicely indeed. I could also show it to my wife and she would get a hell of a lot more info than she got from me between yawns and feeding children yesterday. Incidentally, she found my "secret" stash of cohibas sitting prominantly by the front door after I left.

    I really enjoyed myself and would highly recommend the companionship of PM or SikaMalc to anyone - I'm very grateful to you both and look forward to a return visit. Indeed - PM is right, the only reason we didn't grass a buck was my fault fiddling with sticks and brambles, but nevermind - he certainly wasn't a trophy buck and, due to my conservation efforts, he's now got a better chance of becoming one. The rut wasn't on at all over Sat / Sun for us but I should imagine it would be a wonderful place to be when it is. I saw plenty of does but they were all laid up and also saw plenty of fallow so an exciting place. PM didn't mention that, at the end of the first evening, having not seen any bucks, one walked out right in front of the car on the drive of SikaMalc's.

    Thank you both very much to Malcolm and Pine Marten.

  10. #10
    Oh dear, I kinda feel guilty for actually putting the mockers on your stalking in the other thread!!
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