A New Season Begins
James Schneider steps out with his son in search of Fallow Buck on the superb Capreolus Club PLUS scheme.
One of the most anticipated days in the UK deer stalking diary is August 1st, which marks the start of a new Fallow buck season. And if Mother Nature cooperates, the date usually corresponds with the Roe rut making for exciting stalking across different species. This year proved to be no exception, as I set out to explore the Capreolus Club PLUS scheme grounds in West Sussex and then in Hampshire the following day.
Accompanying me on the morning of the 1st as both Roe-calling expert and good-luck charm, was my 9-year-old son whose enthusiasm for our sport knows no bounds. Up before dawn and ready for the stalk, we arrived at the club stalk ground under clear blue, sunny, summer skies. The relatively flat grounds, well-tended fields and hedges stretched out in a verdant display before us, as we began our slow advance through the morning dew. Fresh, moist air and early light provided a peaceful atmosphere with the landscape rising towards the South Downs beyond.
Our objective was to stalk to the farthest high seat, call for Roebuck, and if no luck, slowly circle the 300+ acres of ground. However, as luck would have it, we were no more than ten minutes into the stalk when my eagle-eyed charge gasped “Dad! Deer! Deer!” He quickly made himself small and tucked in the hedge behind me as I set my Sauer rifle in 6.5x55 on the sticks.
(Above: A cracking Fallow Buck taken by a Capreolus Club PLUS member last year in Wiltshire)
We watched a young Fallow buck as he trotted along the far hedge. Still in velvet, he stopped, looked about, sniffed the air and then quickly moved off. It appeared as if he was following a doe, even though there were none visible and the Fallow rut was still a few months away.
A long minute passed as he continued to move in our general direction. The buck closed to within 80 yards and appeared ready to bolt through another hedge when I stopped him with a grunt, followed promptly by a clean shot through the shoulder. “Well done, Dad! Well Done!!!” came the excited response behind me. It was a gratifying compliment for a father to hear.
After a quick ‘field gralloch’ we delivered the carcass to our local butcher who was thrilled to have the first wild venison of the new season. His customers were eager and asking for venison to enjoy on the BBQ, and he wasn’t to disappoint. A few days later the butcher’s window display was a lovely site to behold with fresh venison kebabs, loins, steaks, sausages and burgers all crying out for the grill.
With more and more of my life now being devoted to deer stalking, the next day I joined fellow Capreolus Club members for our annual Roe calling event in Hampshire. I was helping to guide some newer members during their first Roebuck stalk and was very pleased to be doing so, on another of the club’s premier PLUS scheme grounds. We had great results once again, as I called in two nice Roebuck and both members achieved first Roe and Muntjac on the day.
(An excellent Roebuck shot during the Capreolus Club Roe-Calling event in Hampshire the following day)
My special memory of the afternoon was a beautiful Roebuck that emerged into brilliant setting sunlight, causing his summer orange coat to shimmer as if illuminated. He made for my call with head high, as ancient church bells could be heard ringing in the distance and the sounds of the countryside echoed across the fields. The scene encapsulated all that I love about this special time of year.
With Fallow, Roe and Muntjac in just two days, there is no doubt the new season is off to a great start. Similarly, the Capreolus Club PLUS scheme grounds, repeatedly demonstrated their quality. In addition to deer seen and shot over two days, the amount of ‘deer signs’ I observed suggested many, many more beasts lurking just beyond the wood line, where they rest in the shadows - and where I will visit them again soon. Very soon!
If you are looking to join a deer stalking syndicate, then why not consider the Capreolus Club Plus Scheme. Follow this link for more details: capreolusclub.co.uk/plus-scheme
James Schneider currently acts as the Capreolus Club’s new ‘Member Liaison’ and also frequently appears in many of County Deer Stalking top films. If you’d like to watch James in action on Fallow buck, follow this link to one of last year’s most popular CDS films: youtube