Miserable day for a MacEuston...

FISH BOY

Well-Known Member
Having been on the waiting list for three years, I received a call from Chris in early Jan saying the 4th Feb would be my day for the MacEuston challenge – namely a red, a roe and a muntjac in a day. I was excited but with a 100 mile plus drive and with snow making an appearance, nervously I watched the forecast for my day. Here’s how it went…


The day started with the alarm buzzing at 3.30am and my first challenge of the day was getting my rifle out of the safe without waking the children or the wife. Mission accomplished and I was on the road before 4 am with the family none the wiser. Bar the truck being blown about a bit on the M11 in a cross wind all went smoothly with the rain getting steadily more abundant the closer I got to the Euston Estate. As the gates rolled open it was now absolutely tipping down, I checked the forecast again and it showed heavy rain until 9am petering off throughout the afternoon, however the wind remaining a punchy 19mph SW until lunchtime. Strange as it may seem, I was thinking excellent, a bit of cover noise as I have done many summer woodland stalks with no wind whereby the sounds travels from the crack of a broken twig further than I could see resulting in just a nice walk.


6.15am and Im loading up Chris’s truck with my gear, quick catch up chat and plan for the day and off we go to the far side of the estate looking for a red. Chris strategically parked in an opposite wood, knowing the wind would be howling in our faces for our approach. The plan was to creep through and then along the edges of the wood, cross a 200m field and stalk the opposite pine wood which was relatively protected from the wind by the landscape where he thought they would be. At the edge of light and in the shadows we bordered the wood to the apex where we were going to cross when Chris stops abruptly two paces ahead of me with a right hand stop motion out of a Commando movie. I peek over his shoulder to spot what I can only describe as three enormous silhouettes gracing the field. Binos up and watched in awe the two huge bodied stags and a spiker powering into the torrential rain diagonally across the field to the wood Chris had originally chosen. He pinged them on his RF bino, 260 meters, and then said we have to make some ground. With only an oak tree in the middle of the field, there was absolutely no cover and I must admit I was a bit dubious about the move, but I followed him regardless in his shadow in the lowest slung shape I could muster. We moved with speed closing about 80 meters, testing muscles that hadn’t been used for years if ever until we made the thick set oak. Binos up, they hadn’t spotted us and we still had them coming in our direction. Knowing that the boys were not on the management plan, we waited and no more than 5 minutes later a small group of hinds followed out of the woods on the same path. With no cover, and with ten sets of eyes to beat, this was going to be the best opportunity we would get. Now up on the quad sticks with the 30-06, Chris pinged the RF of the rear hind – 180m, having done the numbers in my head, key to it now was timing as they were overlapping one another – then one fell behind. Having been steady on the vipers for a while watching them, my breathing and focus was controlled. My 150gr Federal Powershok set and returned with an audible thud dropping the beast on the spot. I reloaded and watched the other animals spooked but totally confused as to what happened, eventually breaking off to the woods they had originated from. Having never taken a red or even seen one up close, the walk seem to take forever, only then did it dawn on me just how big they are compared to roe which is my normal quarry. As I gathered my thoughts, having never seen anything this big on the ground by my doing, a sense of remorse came over me for such a magnificent animal but I was reminded by Chris that she had not suffered as he showed me my shot placement resulting in a near instant dispatch. Chris was pleased as his plan couldn’t have gone better as we had avoided disturbing the wood and potentially extracting manually.

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With the beast extraction accessible for the truck and trailer and only being 7.30am in the morning, we left her there to maximise the dawn light in search of a roe doe. We jumped in the truck and 5 minutes up the road we stopped on the edge of some open fields sloping down to a wood. The fields were separated by high bush hedges down to the wood giving cover and shelter on the side out of the wind. The wind and hail was once again at us coming up the hill but more from the right hand side so we edged down the left hand side thicket. With a spring of teal lifting in front of us from the wet grass, we edged down the hedge until we could view the edge of the wood where we could see an apply placed high seat with 4 roe mooching about under it. At 150m we could see a buck in velvet, an adult doe and young doe and another that sat down before we could ID it. We crept slowly getting to about 80m when all of a sudden a pheasant explodes from under our feet, cackling off under laboured flight alerting the roe family and probably everything within half a mile. The roe bolted across the field with even Chris’s best muntjac shout not able to stop them for a shot. Time to collect the red and have a nice breakfast.


Driving back onto the estate, it was amazing to see the wildlife diversity with Canada’s, leyland and Egyptians sharing the water ways. With the red sorted and having overindulged in a full English, it was time to head for the woods. It was coming up to midday and the wind had dropped and the rain eased, allowing us both to be able drop our hoods for the first time of the day – jeez that felt good to feel so less restrictive to take even more in. Chris advised that the roe liked this corner to rest up and so to keep alert. We entered the wood from a back field and within 30 meters, Chris gives me the signal to stop. I glass the area he’s looking at and see nothing, he whispers through the window, above the fallen tree through the gap 75 meters out. I look again and blow me down there are two roe sitting in the ferns perfectly camouflaged with the only sign of movement being their bottom jaws moving. The window was literally the size of the wheelie bin and I’m thinking to myself what a spot, what a pro. He leans the vipers at an angle against a tree for a kneeling shot and I acquire a doe in my scope, but she’s sitting. Chris wants the shot when she’s up, so now with the safety off he starts barking, causing her head to swing round to focus on us. He barks occasionally for 5 mins and while alert she’s not having any of it. Having been in a rather uncomfortable position for a while now leaving round a tree, my patience gets the better of me so I shout out a considerable “Oi” to which she reacts instantly getting to her feet baring her white tush as she sleekly meandered off. No shot, my bad.


With her aware of a noise rather than our visible presence we wait for five minutes to let her settle. We join the grassy ride to keep our sound down while scanning into the wood. Its slow and tough glassing as the ferns are plentiful, offering the perfect hiding place while I am on full alert just looking for a flicker. 50 meters later and we have now made it to the corner of the wood, when suddenly the long grass erupts feet in front of us with the two does bolting into the next block of woods. We watch as they majestically skip through the pine wood, then half way through picking up another group making six all going in the opposite direction. Wonderful to see, but I am now thinking oh. Strangely not a single animal barked, so I glass into the wood again for good measure and low and behold there is a doe just standing there 70 yards out wondering what is going on. Im up swiftly on the vipers as a bipod, safety off and down she goes.

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Having been a few times before to the Euston and seen plenty of munties, I thought we would have seen one by now, but it was just after lunchtime and they were obviously sheltering up and being elusive. We moved up from the roe wood, onto the next block and entered as silently as possible and it wasn’t long before we saw a white rump disappearing further into the forest. With woodcock lifting and pheasants scuttling about with their heads down there was always something to catch the eye. We bumped a further five munties over the next two hours until we caught a glimpse of a nice buck going behind a thicket 50 yards out. Up on the sticks and what seemed to be an age before he finally reappeared before the federal caught up with him.

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Regardless of the terrible weather, all in all an absolutely fantastic day out. I know Chris lurks on here, and just wanted to say massive thank you for your skill, sharing your knowledge and your company – thoroughly enjoyed it. I know you only do four MacEustons a year so I look forward for my 2022 call, although I’m sure I will see you long before then.

PS - due to the torrential rain, the rifle was unloaded with the bolt closed with the mag inserted for the pics;)
 
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Border

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you had a brilliant day. Thanks for the write up with great pictures. Footnote duly noted, I do the same myself :thumb:
 

opticron1

Well-Known Member
Hard work, but a great day... well done to all. Yep, red deer are bigger heavier and more of a struggle than the "smaller" deer - wait till you try and drag a big stag off the hill! That's your next challenge:)
 

Cootmeurer

Well-Known Member
Nicely done and beautiful pictures (well - except for the blackface, that will keep you out of politics forever).
 

Kjf

Well-Known Member
Wow what an excellent write up,:tiphat:

But stop being a gay lord about travelling a meagre 100miles lol lol, I have to travel 200 miles south for munty and fallow and 200miles north for roe , red and sika ( and have travelled further north in the pursuit of deer)

All in jest mate( you jammy git) but we love our sport and it's what we do( wouldn't do it otherwise would we fella:cuckoo::cuckoo: lol , we must be loopy lol)

Well done mate, what a great outing:thumb:

Kjf
 

Dexter

Well-Known Member
Hard work, but a great day... well done to all. Yep, red deer are bigger heavier and more of a struggle than the "smaller" deer - wait till you try and drag a big stag off the hill! That's your next challenge:)
You haven't got any big stags on the hill opticron. They're like our fallow! :lol: That hind weighs approximately 80kgs. The stags are considerably more than that!
 

FISH BOY

Well-Known Member
You haven't got any big stags on the hill opticron. They're like our fallow! :lol: That hind weighs approximately 80kgs. The stags are considerably more than that!
Shu
Hard work, but a great day... well done to all. Yep, red deer are bigger heavier and more of a struggle than the "smaller" deer - wait till you try and drag a big stag off the hill! That's your next challenge:)

Building up to it. One day.... ;)
 

opticron1

Well-Known Member
Shu



Building up to it. One day.... ;)
Best thing is to make sure you've got an Argo and a "willing" team to help out!:)……. not a lot of fun otherwise, best stag I had was 113kg in the larder - I still wince when I heard the motor on the hoist beginning to creak! Won't get many like that in Sutherland, but a lovely beast:stag:
 

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