A free stalk!? Yes please.

Matt4567

Member
Back to reality with a bump and my crowded train at least gives me a bit of time to write up my second and third stalks, which took place this weekend courtesy of the very generous teyhan1 (aka Glynn), who picked my name out of a hat full of SD hopefuls on Thursday. So first off, thanks again to Glynn for providing free of charge two stalks, excellent food, good company and a ton of knowledge.

The weekend started with a drive down from Leeds on Saturday morning. Whilst stopping for a coffee, Glynn text to let me know he was dealing with a break-in, which set the scene for an eventful couple of days involving an interrupted second visit from our new friends followed by a brief bit of stalking of a different kind. Suffice to say deer aren't the only creatures a thermal is good for.

But aside from all of that (our unplanned stalk was unsuccessful), here's what I recall of the deer stalking. First stalk on Saturday afternoon we started off sometime around 4 walking up a hedgerow towards the woods, which then sloped steeply upwards to a ridge running perpendicular to our path. As we approached we scanned the woods with the thermal and spotted a deer around 30m in front of us, holed up in the thick undergrowth and totally concealed. We waited for maybe 15 minutes just at the woodland edge; two blokes trying to hide behind a tree that was smaller than either of us. Eventually the deer's ears pricked up and pointed in our direction. Maybe it had seen us, maybe it was the wind. The backdrop was poor and the wind was unpredictable as it came across and over the ridge, but either way it didn't like something and casually picked itself up and wandered off up the hill. Visual contact about two seconds as it passed between two trees. We stalked it across the bottom of the slope for a while but the wind was all over the place and it made its escape. We spent some time back and forth across the slope with no luck, so decided to wait for a while for a small group to make their way down from the top. They weren't having any of it and with the wind as it was (plus the 45 degree muddy slope!) we weren't going to be getting up there tonight. We tried again along the bottom for a while, but no further sightings and we called it a night.

Sunday morning we were out at 6 and back near the same area. Spotted a group of animals in the far corner of the field we were in the night before, but concluded they were sheep as they were lying down in the open. No sign down the far end of the wood either so we made our way back to the start and set out across the bottom of the wood, the ground sloping steeply up to our left. We soon spotted a small group of deer coming across the field to our right, in the opposite direction to us. They crossed our path behind us, about ten metres in front of the car, then turned back across the hill past our position in the mud, tight against a bush. They came out of the thick undergrowth about 20m in front of us, Glynn counting down the time until they would emerge. Coming out from the large tree... now. I couldn't see a thing. The combination of dark deer and poor light, a tired eye from scoping too much, and inexperience with the range and magnification meant I didn't realise the dark patch of shapeless undergrowth I had my sights on was actually a deer, broadside on, until it moved off and I caught a vague silhouette of a leg and tail.

With the light improving we headed back to where we started the previous night and made our way up the hedgerow again. Those sheep we had spotted earlier had grown necks and moved on up into the woods. Plenty of deer now. In the field to the left we spotted a group, just coming out of the treeline. Looking through a gap in the hedge I had one in the sights at probably about 150m or so, but with no way to steady the rifle I couldn't make the shot. We were about to jump into the ditch that the hedge ran along, in order to get a better shot, when the deer spooked and moved up into the woods, grouping together behind some brambles. We crossed the ditch into the left field and soon spotted a couple more deer coming into the far side of the field, but they wandered back into the woods before we could line up a shot. We decided to move up the hedgerow and wait out the deer I had in the sights previously. We stopped by a gate under where they were hiding and after a while they started to move. Range was maybe 80m, up the hill, deer moving left to right. I had one in the sights, but it moved behind a tree. Seconds later another came out just to the right and stopped between two trees- perfect. With all the missed chances I wasn't letting this one go! I poked the rifle through the gate, lined up the shot and bang- hooves in the air and dead on the spot. A lot more adrenaline than last time- no doubt helped by the chase. Then, hang on- there's another, I can take that. No. The voice of experience saved me a second long drag out the woods! Glynn talked about the 9 stages of deer stalking, and no doubt just then I was in the kill anything that moves stage!

A gralloch and a biology lesson later we dragged 38kg of fallow back to the car and headed back for a bacon sandwich. Hanging it up in the garage later that evening I was glad I had the practice with a muntjac last time- this thing is a much more serious proposition and my makeshift hanging arrangement required some reinforcement. But now its up and the new chest freezer is on order I'm looking forward to a weekend in the shed playing with knives.

So thanks again to Glynn and his family, and thanks also to numbers 1-23 and 25-65 for kindly standing aside- I don't often win things so I am very grateful you let me win this one!
 

teyhan1

Well-Known Member
Well done Matt.
it is easy to go a bit mad when faced with a few beasts in front of you. Just remember that pulling the trigger is the easiest bit.
However a good shot whilst under a bit of pressure.
DSC1 next??
 

Free range rob

Well-Known Member
Congratulations, pleased it was a good trip for you.
Well done to teyhan1 for the offer.

I know the dsc courses are a contentious issue on here, but I learnt a lot from doing it and found the whole thing very enjoyable if a little nerve wracking
 

paul o'

Well-Known Member
Your very welcome our plan to get you out worked out very well by the sound of it :doh:,well done to you for entering and a big hand clap for Glynn to arranging the outing for the winner :tiphat:
 

LeftHandGuy

Well-Known Member
What a thoroughly great story. A good offer, good stalking, a good shot, a good result and a good read.

I’ve just got to work, and this has put me in a really good mood for the day. Thanks gents!
 
Well done Matt, only ever had a chance to shoot fallow once in Oxford, but weather was atrocious and we saw nothing. Back to the Roe in Ayrshire for me
 

Kjf

Well-Known Member
What a thoroughly great story. A good offer, good stalking, a good shot, a good result and a good read.

I’ve just got to work, and this has put me in a really good mood for the day. Thanks gents!

I agree , nice one lads :thumb: :tiphat:

Kjf
 

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