What a weekend on the deer


Distinguished Member
It all started several years ago at a wedding when I was introduced to a friend of the bride and groom who wanted to go deer stalking. We exchanged numbers and I suggested she contact me and I would arrange something – much to my surprise, she actually did call. After doing some research for a suitable stalk, I booked us with ian308 (on this forum) for a pm/am stalk.

I was really impressed with Ian and Mark – as was my friend. In her own words: “We spent some time practicing shooting, as it has been about 20 years since I'd shot a rifle at a target. I found both Ian and Mark to be really helpful and they both gave me really good advice about where to aim and how to manage this. The rifle they picked for me was .243 using 90gr sp bullet; an excellent choice: it was comfortable, light and easy to use”.

That stalk, I shot a fallow doe but she just couldn’t shoot a beast as they just didn’t present themselves for a shot so didn’t have an opportunity. However, she was hooked! On the drive back home we decided to book another stalk with Ian and Mark for March 2017 and we did - what a weekend it turned out to be!

March 18[SUP]th[/SUP] dawned and once again we were off for a pm/am stalk. On the way there we discussed our previous outing with Ian and Mark (not that we hadn’t reminisced about it many a time!).

I’ll start with my pm stalk. I wanted a fallow for the freezer – however events were to take over and I’ll never turn down an opportunity at a muntjac.

The plan for the afternoon was that my friend and Ian sat in a high seat; Mark and myself would stalk a large wood that held a large number of deer and if we had no luck we would go to another wood and sit in a high seat for the last hour of day. Mark suggested that he bring his Buttolo caller to see if we could call up something whilst in the high seat.

At first we saw nothing and we would soon be heading for the high seat but as we all know things change in a split second whilst stalking! Standing about 80 yards away stood a large muntjac buck and the game was on! As I raised the .308 to my shoulder the buck took off but only ran about 20 yards and took cover under a fallen tree and I couldn’t see it through the scope. Mark and I worked on a plan to see if we couldn’t bump it out so that I could get a shot.

Mark walked towards the animal hoping it would moved into a clearing to his right when I would whistle and if the beast stopped I would take the shot. The animal moved into the clearing but much to my dismay it stopped in the worst possible place for a shot as it stopped behind the only tree in the clearing. However, Mark could have clubbed it to death as he was so close to the beast. It lived to tell its own story and we were off to the high seat.

We set ourselves up on the high seat and I rested the rifle in one of the corners as it was a fully enclosed high seat. Mark and I started chatting as he had not been long back from a trip in South Africa, my home country. Whist chatting Mark gave the Buttolo a few squeaks but while the rifle was still in resting against the corner and before I was even ready a magnificent muntjac buck (by no means a medal but a good rep of the species) and a doe were in the middle of the ride stamping and barking. You can just imagine the scramble and noise made trying to get the rifle up before they disappeared.

The pair heard the scramble and were off back into the undergrowth leaving me still trying to focus the scope on the buck. A few squeaks later and the doe was back out in the ride and I took my chance sending the 150gr on its way. The doe took off like a wounded animal but only running about 20m before collapsing. I could still see the buck in the undergrowth. A few squeaks later the buck presented itself in a clearing. I took aim and squeezed the trigger and instead of the expected bang all I got was a click. I had forgotten to reload in the excitement. Time was running out and much to Mark’s credit he kept his cool, gave the Buttolo a few more squeaks and much to our astonishment the buck came racing back out into the ride. Mark gave a shout to stop the animal. I needed no encouragement to send the150gr on its way. Photos were duly taken and the beasts gralloched – it was a great way to end a fantastic stalk. We then went to pickup my friend and Ian. They hadn’t seen a thing but had still enjoyed themselves watching the surrounding wildlife.

Dawn broke to find my friend and Ian back in the high seat with Mark and myself in another. The previous evening I had made a conscious decision not to shoot any more muntjac as I wanted a fallow. After about an hour in the seat Mark and I decided to stalk the wood we had stalked the previous afternoon and every muntjac in the area seemed to be in that wood. We were about to head back to the vehicle when we finally saw a fallow doe and her follower at about 250 yards away. The stalk was on!

After getting into position about 150 yards and using a convenient tree as a dead rest I squeezed the trigger and sent the150gr on its way. The follower dropped on the spot but it was not to end there as the doe ran about 50 yards away. The most extraordinary thing happened. A really big muntjac buck presented itself about 50 yards away. Mark asked me if I wanted the shot and I declined and at the same time pointed out the fallow doe to Mark. Mark took the shot and both deer were then recovered and gralloched. We went off to another wood to wait for Ian and my friend.

We got a little bored and decided to stalk the wood and see if there were any fallow for Mark to shoot as he owns a game dealers. We fell over the muntjac once again in this wood and then we bumped into a herd of about 30 fallow; they saw us first and didn’t give us a chance. Mark and I discussed the possibility of my friend stalking this wood as we had seen so many muntjac. We then phoned Ian who had told us they had seen a number of muntjac but once again had no luck. About 15 mins later and my friend and Ian arrived. Mark and she were stalking for about 30 mins before they came back I’ll let her tell you of her experience of that stalk.

“The location they took us to had a lot of deer and there were plenty of opportunities to shoot. In the end, I killed the first deer I aimed at as I stalked through the woods with Mark. I won't ever forget it - either how beautiful the deer was, or how thrilled I was to have shot it cleanly through the heart. It just dropped so quickly.

One of the reasons it was such a great experience was because I knew all the people I was with were really rooting for me and were also thrilled with our success. My friend and I brought home 3 muntjac and a fallow. I'm sure there would have been more if we'd wished it. I've been on shooting events before and I thought that this was particularly good because of how supportive Mark and Ian were; they couldn't have done more to make it an excellent experience for us; the quality of the area for the sport was superb as was their knowledge of it.

We can't wait to go back again!”.