Three Firsts in One Outing

The short version for those with limited time to spare:
- First outing with new (first) rifle
- First deer with said rifle
- First fallow buck

The longer version for the leisured classes:

A few weekends back during the extremely deadly climate-change-proving heatwave otherwise know as 'Summer', I took my wife for a well earned long weekend away to Somerset. Long-suffering spouse that she is, she was well aware that I had an ulterior motive. To cut a long story short, after two visits during the weekend to Ivythorn Sporting totalling nine hours (yes, she came with me, and yes I made it up to her) I walked away with a new Schultz and Larsen Classic DL, .308 Win, Gr1 wood, and a 19.5" semi-weight barrel:

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Got a DPT mod too. The service from Steve Beaty was superb. He and Louis went above and beyond to make sure I walked away happy, with the rifle zero'ed at 100yds and a couple of boxes of Federal 150 grain SP. It took two visits because there'd been a bit of a mixup around the model I wanted to try, which led to the need to inlet the barrel channel on two separate stocks, as well as inletting for a two-stage trigger, and a couple of goes on their range both from a bench and off sticks.

So a couple of weekends back I finished work a few minutes early, and headed down to meet the guy who takes me out on his ground. I'd hoped for cooler weather, but it was reading 29C at 18:00 so we were clearly in for a muggy one. As we drove through the woods he explained that there were a lot of fallow around but they weren't moving until last light, so inevitably the first thing we saw when we parked up was a group of 12-15 fallow heading off through the trees in front of us. After kitting up we quietly headed off after them, but with the leaves like cornflakes we didn't dare move off the main tracks, and after 20 mins or so we heard them heading back the other way, out of sight on the other side of the wooded hill. It was hot, humid, and the flies were making themselves known, so rather than spending more time out on foot we headed for our regular high seat with a couple of hours to go until sundown.

We settled in, facing due West straight into the sun, looking downhill across a grassy field and up the other side into some woods. Thankfully the sun dipped behind a bank of cloud after 15 minutes, giving us much better visibility and respite from the heat. So we waited. After half an hour or so a very white fallow doe appeared at 4 o'clock behind us, with a pale beige/cream fawn following on. They trotted past our position, none the wiser, and took a few minutes to clear the field and head into the woods opposite. I had seen a white buck at distance in failing light on a previous occasion, but I greatly enjoyed this much clearer, closer encounter.

Ten minutes or so later another fallow doe appeared with a follower, this time from 8 o'clock behind us. As they headed past us the fawn bolted so I assumed we'd been spotted, but after 50 yds or so it stopped, and the doe ran to it, and the fawn ran off in another direction. They played like this in front of us for about 10 minutes, running to and fro. Absolutely captivating.

As the light started to go, things quietened down. My companion gave a few squeaks on his Buttolo but no roe appeared, so we contented ourselves with calling in a fox to see how close he'd come. We got him to about 10m before he worked out he was being scammed, and wandered off, head in the air.

By 9pm the light was fading but the temperature was holding up. I was just starting to wonder if we would be going home empty-handed when another fallow wandered in from 8 o'clock behind us. My companion whispered 'buck' so I took a closer look and started to pay attention. A nice sized pricket, he wandered across the field in front of us before stopping to browse at about 80 yds. He was quite a way downhill and quartering on a tad, so I waited for a few minutes before taking the shot. For a moment after he stood still, then started trotting. I held my breath, keeping my scope on him. After about 50 yds he stopped, span round in a couple of circles, then finally dropped onto his side. I kept my sights on him in case he tried to get up again but after a few more seconds he quitened down and went still. And I breathed out.

The wound you can see in this photo is the exit wound. It is too far back because I failed to accurately judge how much he was quartering from my uphill position. The entry wound was directly above the back of his front leg, just above the halfway line, so I should have aimed further forward. Clearly something to bear in mind next time I am judging the angles.

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After paying our respects, we loaded him onto the truck and found a suitable tree. He was in good condition, with a lot of fat. Luckily the bullet had only just nicked the guts so the meat was unspoilt once we washed it out.

Just to round off the evening, as we drove out in the dark, the white doe and her fawn made a re-appearance on the track ahead of us, closely followed by a badger. So overall, some great memories of my first outing with the new gun. I have the heart in slices in my freezer and two bags of steaks waiting for me to collect. Fantastic.
 

opticron1

Well-Known Member
Great stuff, as ever there's more to stalking than just pulling the trigger! Nine hours in the dealers...… that's going to require sooooo much grovelling!:D
 

CPShines

Well-Known Member
Cheers. It was good to get rid of those first time questions about the gun - did I zero it right, etc..
 
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