First UK Deer and Fox

MackayRSA

Well-Known Member
Firstly I have to thank Oowee for his hospitality. He was an absolute gent and a very gracious host and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the sport here in the UK.

After a very pleasant drive across the hills of Somerset I was treated to a very friendly welcome, a cup of coffee and some great conversation, swapping stories of African hunting. A quick shooting test later and it was off to the ground to spend some time in a high seat after a Roe Doe. My nerves were definitely a bit on edge. Using a rifle in temperatures below 10 degrees centigrade is something new to me. I am more used to hunting in shorts and t-shirt weather in the bushveld of Kwazulu-Natal, but it definitely was not enough to put me off!

While the roe were visible from the high seat they were staying well out of safe shooting range a couple of fields away, and annoyingly in a position where we would have to walk back on ourselves to approach down wind. As the light was fading fast and they showed no signs of coming closer, Grant suggested we try the downwind approach, so with the bare essentials in hand we took the long route round. Now despite the old adage that patience is virtue, we had a bit of a hurry on with the aim of harnessing the last of the evenings light. This resulted in us bumping into a second group of roe, who did not hang around! There are plenty of deer on that ground, that's for sure!

Eventually we found ourselves in a position to possibly make a shot. Our target roe at around 100 yards from our position hidden behind a line of trees. I passed Grant the sticks and set up the rifle, convinced that this was it! The roe however, had other ideas. I still don't know how they picked us up but they were feeding peacefully one second, and gone the next! It seems one thing that deer, antelope and gazelle all seem to share is the ability to disappear. They don't run, they just dissolve into thin air. Oh well, there is always tomorrow! Time to start looking forward to my first outing on the foxes.

Now all this night vision equipment was brand new to me. I didn't know what to expect, but having dealt with jackals in South Africa I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong! Arriving at the location in darkness, Grant and Ed soon had our first fox of the night in sight on the thermals. He was interested in the squeaking, but canny enough to stay in a spot with no safe backstop. Grant definitely did not consider his vehicle a safe backstop, that's for sure! Common sense, prevailed and we just watched him slink away through the IR until a stage whisper from Ed alerted us to a second fox coming in from the right. Quick change of position, and once again no safe backstop. But wait, fox number 1 was back and in a much better position.

So back I go, following him with the rifle, just hoping he stands still for a second or two. He did not make it easy, but eventually a bark from Ed paused him long enough for me to send a .223 calibre present his way, which had him belly up in the grass. Delighted with my first fox!

The night proved to be a very successful one, with Ed grassing a runner at a shade under 200 yards with an excellent shot. Grant accounted for a further 2, both of which tested his reflexes. Fair to say, by he end of the night I was hooked!

First light found us once again in the high seat, watching for deer sign through the hazy morning light. Grant's vigilance never failed, and soon he had spotted 5 back in the same position as the previous evening. This time we decided to immediately stalk round and take our chances. For a second I thought we were following our footprints from the previous night! However, this time we got the sticks in place and the rifle up with the roe in sight. They did not make it easy, milling about and overlapping, then stepping behind cover before a shot was possible. Patience prevailed, and one inquisitive doe took a few too many steps away from the group. Grant gave me the go ahead, provided I was happy with the shot and the sex of the animal, and that was all I needed. I took the shot.

Grant informed me she was down, and I could finally breathe again. It felt like I had been holding my breath the whole outing! We gave it a couple of minutes and wandered down to the site. To my horror it looked like I had placed the shot a touch to far back for an instant kill, so I made sure to correct my mistake with a second shot. While the fact I had to take a second shot made the event a touch bittersweet, the fact that I could correct the situation extremely quickly made me feel better about it.

All in all, I had a cracking time with Grant and a great intro to the sport here in the UK. With lots more for me to learn and experience, my appetite for British deer stalking has been well and truly whetted!
 

MackayRSA

Well-Known Member
Haha, definitely recommend it! Remember, its not just the gazelle and antelope out there. Here's a pic of one of the pigs we dealt with on my cousins farm
 

dartmoordog

Well-Known Member
Great read mate. Never hunted in RSA, but have been there a couple of times on extended visits........A most wonderful country, well worthy of a visit.
 

takbok

Well-Known Member
Glad you're getting a good welcome to stalking here - it makes all the difference! Thanks for the interesting write up.
 

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