Complimentary Stalk Day
- Tuesday, 13 March 2018
With the open season for the herding species of deer and females soon to close, Toby Worthington joins deer stalking and large game hunting club - the 'Capreolus Club', on a wet March afternoon, for the last of this-seasons complimentary stalk days.
(Above: Capreolus Club Stalk Day - March 9th, West Sussex - a tally of four Fallow deer and four Roe deer made for a highly successful day)
Having first introduced complimentary stalk days to its events calendar in the autumn of 2017, the Capreolus Club has now had over 30 of its members attend free stalk days. Unsurprisingly, these events have proven to be extremely popular and well received by its members.
The format is simple enough and not dissimilar to that of a driven bird day. Members arrive at a given time and are greeted by the club representatives. Tea and coffee is available along with an assortment of finger food and soft drinks. The rifles are then briefed and dispatched by vehicle to a number of strategically, well placed high seats to sit in wait for what ever species of deer fits the cull plan. Those members who have their own rifles and suitable experience are invited to shoot unaccompanied. For those members who are awaiting FAC's and/or require further guidance, one of the club's professional stalkers are made available.
On this occasion I was to share a two-man high seat (No 7) with new club member Vlad, and what a position it was set to be. Overlooking a field of winter Rape and adjoining woodland we had not even had the opportunity to climb into our seat before we spotted a herd of no fewer than 25 Fallow grazing some 100 yards out in front. With no immediate back stop on offer, we slowly and tentatively climbed into the seat and took up position.
Anxious minutes passed as the large doe herd gradually drifted across the field toward us, before finally one of the Does presented herself for a safe broadside shot at 75 yards. Unusually, for a well-placed heart/lung shot, the strike from the 150 grain bullet resulted in an immediate collapse, as the rest of the herd broke for the wood-line, leaving no opportunity for a second shot. It was a great start to what was to be a very successful hunt.
(Above: Venison Chilli Cheese Steak Baguettes from the open-air grill and a dram of Laphroaig rounded the day off nicely)
As the rain continued to fall and the minutes ticked on, the silence was broken by the occasional crack of a rifle shot in the distance, something that only added to the sense of drama and occasion - knowing that somewhere, not far off, another team member had 'grassed' another deer and the remaining herd might be racing toward our position.
Indeed, just a short time later and a loud report from club member Johan’s Merkel Helix, in 30-06, echoed out from seat No 6 just 300 yards to our left, a Roe Doe. Then as evening began to give way to night, five more Fallow appeared from the wood and sped across the field, again toward seat No 6. Minutes later and another shot rang out as Johan grassed a second deer, this time a Fallow buck.
With darkness descending, in what can only be described as a remarkably efficient round up, club members and their shot game were collected and returned to base camp, where stories of the evenings events were revealed around a roaring fire pit. Here, we were in for another treat, as club member Joe from ‘Game Changer BBQ’ cooked up some superb ‘Venison Chilly, Cheese Steak Baguettes’ which, when coupled with a dram of the Prince of Wales’s favourite - ‘Laphroaig’, was the perfect way to warm up after a successful hunt.
Eight beasts from seven rifles, including four Fallow deer and four Roe deer. Not bad for a wet March evening. Excited conversation, good food and drink, and it was no surprise that members seemed disinclined to leave. Testament to the general hospitality and ambience of the event which fosters a growing and increasingly friendly feel to the club - as members chat like old friends.
All told, a genuinely well managed shoot, that is a credit to the deer world. I look forward to being invited to future events when complimentary stalk days resume in late summer.
The Capreolus Club holds events throughout the year and members are invited to enjoy not just complimentary deer stalking days but also themed range days, excursions and bespoke trips.
If you’d like to discover more about the Capreolus Club, then follow this link to find out more about some of the benefits of membership: membership-benefits
Alternatively, to read more from Toby Worthington and his trip with the Capreolus Club to hunt Boar in Croatia, follow this link: capreolus-v-boar