First evening in the new seat

Back in January, a friend’s father kindly said that if I built a high seat for their fields, I could shoot the roe at my leisure. It’s a 40-50 acre patch of river meadows. Dead flat and therefore essential that any shooting is from an elevated position.
I busily set to and built a free standing seat nestled in front of a big oak tree, with a fallen but still live bough in front for cover, giving me safe shooting out to the front and round to the side with my back to the boundary.
Unfortunately, some big exams, a house move and a rifle locked down in a different county conspired against me to delay my inaugural trip until last night.
With a sandwich in a pocket, I arrived at 1830 and got myself comfy. I completely neglected to think about the length of the grass (they cut their silage very late).
After an hour or so, the roe started to move. However, they were barely visible in the long grass, akin to sharks fins sticking out of the water. There were two bucks (and 5 does) within 150 yards of the seat, one older with a bad limp and the other younger and in good health. I wanted to shoot the older buck. I watched him closely, limping through the grass. He was making good progress, however, and broke into a run when spooked. The grass was too long to get a clear chest shot and at 150ish yards, I wasn’t going to risk the high neck shot that presented itself. He disappeared over the ditch and onto the next grass field. I lost sight of him but then was pretty convinced I could see his antlers and an ear twitching in the top of the grass. Or was it just seed heads on the meadow grass? Who knows, but I spent at least an hour trying to decide. Maybe a thermal would be useful?
As the sun started to dip, the field lit up with a golden glow, the deer started to move again. The young buck was not more than 30 yards behind me, over the boundary and a young Doe came within a similar distance out to the front, snuffing the air and bobbing her head wondering what on earth No shot to be had, but absolutely brilliant to just sit and watch their goings on. I had a token squeak for a fox - little chance of seeing one with the grass so long but worth it on the off chance that one appeared in the odd flat patch. Having set myself a 2145 curfew so that I wasn’t too late home, I climbed down from the seat, content that there wasn’t any hard work to do and that I’d had a lovely, exciting evening just watching and listening. I’ll be back in due course to try and catch up with that old buck.
 

oxfordshirestalker

Well-Known Member
We've had some absolutely torrential showers here over the last few days. I was hoping (for my sake, not the farmer's) that this might have flattened the grass down in a few patches. Last night, as seemingly the rest of the country (other than the bell ringers in the adjacent village) sat down to watch the football, I ventured out to the same high seat again. Rightly or wrongly, I don't bother to stalk into the seat here unless on glassing before heading towards it I spot something.
Similar to last time, I caught sight of the limping buck early on, in the distance walking along the ditch line at the other side of the field. Once again, there was no clear shot to be had because of the long grass. I wondered if the evening would end up as an identical repeat to the other evening. There were 3 does in the field too - why is it that they always present safe shots when out of season? To cut a long (3 hour) hour story short, I watched him weave in and out of the long grass, losing and regaining sight of him. Often wondering if I could see enough of him to take a shot. Each time, moments later realising I would have regretted my decision and feeling glad I'd held back. Once again, a doe came out from my left. I turned my attention to her having lost sight of the buck. A perfect example of tunnel vision and losing situational awareness. Something that is drilled into us so much at work. Fortunately, I looked up from my binoculars just at the right moment to see him making his way towards the doe (who was on a flattened margin). I grabbed the rifle, closed the bolt and locked on to him, hoping he'd step out from behind the grass. He did a split second later. I popped the crosshairs halfway up in line with the centre of his front leg and squeezed the trigger. A loud bang meant that I had a momentary rest from the sound of the churchbells ringing methods in the distance (I don't mind it really) and he dropped on the spot. I had my 'cigarette break' (a kitkat) whilst watching closely for any signs of movement. There was nothing. I gathered my bits and bobs and headed towards where I'd last seen him and there he lay, a mature, 4 point buck. A quick suspended gralloch and off I headed back home. Skinned and butchered this morning. Clear evidence of an old fracture on the right front leg which would account for the limp. A good buck to take as a first one from the new seat. I boned one haunch out for the landowner and turned the other into steaks to go with the loins. I've diced what I could salvage from the shoulders for the mincer in due course but not enough time for that today.
 
Top