Autumn Cull Days
- Wednesday, 19 September 2018
On the 14th September the Capreolus Club held the first of this seasons stalk days, at its exclusive estate in West Sussex.
(Above: Members arrive for refreshments before the stalk)
With Fallow Buck, Sika Stag and Roebuck on the agenda, these cull days are a popular feature of the Capreolus Club diary and with deer being seen from all high seats, amidst some late autumn sunshine, the first of these stalk days got off to a fabulous start, with three Fallow Buck and one Roebuck being taken by six rifles.
For those deer stalkers who enjoy the occasional driven bird shoot, the format will be familiar, as the session starts off at a very pleasant pace, with members arriving for light refreshments and a bite to eat before being dropped off at their allocated high seat.
Hopeful of some beginners-luck, I was accompanying new club member TJ and neither of us were to be disappointed. En-route to the high seat we spied both a group of Fallow Doe and a Roebuck. Frustratingly however, with no shooting sticks to hand (a school boy error, I should know better), the opportunity to take the Roebuck was lost.
Twenty minutes in, and still inwardly kicking myself for not carrying a set of sticks, I was relieved when, spooked by a near-by shot from a neighbouring club member, a Fallow mother and Fawn cantered past right under our seat. A half hour later and we too were to be rewarded as an extremely large, heavy Fallow Pricket, exited the wood line to our right around 80 yards away and began to amble slowly down the edge of the field, grazing at the grass.
Calm I advised, “no rush, plenty of time”. I could hear TJ take control of his breathing, “when you are ready…and squeeze”. I need not have worried, as the Fallow collapsed on the spot, victim of a well-placed 150 grain Federal soft point, the perfect pairing to my Sako 85. “Reload” and “well done, great shot”. Needless to say TJ was delighted!
(Above: members reconvene after the stalk)
Still experiencing the warm glow of a job well done, and would you believe it, a small group of Fallow does suddenly became visible across the field from us, exiting the long grass. Suddenly the mood changed again to one of concentration and focus. Sure enough, just moments later the group were joined by a young ‘Menil’ male in beautiful light coloured summer pelage. 110yards and no backstop at first, we needed him to travel 50 yards to his left to ensure the chance of a safe shot. With other people on the ground safety is paramount. Anxious minutes passed as the beast drew ever closer to our required kill zone. Again, breath, relax….and another shot rang out, sending the females scattering for cover, sans their accompanying buck, who had also collapsed to another very well placed heart/lung shot.
One of the joys of these days, is that after the stalk session members are able to regroup and discuss excitedly about the sightings, close encounters and successes of the evening. All accompanied on this occasion by some hot soup, pork pies and a dram of my own personal favourite - Lagavulin 16yrs.
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