New Season Fallow Buck
Every year, at the start of every new Fallow Buck Season, I invariably find myself remarking, just how heavy many of the Fallow Buck are.
(Above: The first Fallow Buck of the new season)
Having been handling mainly Roebuck for the best part of four previous months I have, by the beginning of August, become accustomed to the relatively small body weight of Roe. With a typical larder weight of around 30 – 35lbs (Gralloch, head, fore-legs and pluck removed), these little dear are easy to suspend from a branch, gralloch and extract, often to a client’s own kitchen for butchering.
However, late summer Fallow at the start of the buck season are a very different matter, and so I found last week, when, with one of our new Capreolus Club members Mike, we shot the first Fallow buck of the season.
As it happens it was a very memorable stalk.
With my client Mike having climbed up into a two-man high-seat ahead of me, in a particularly dense part of woodland, I followed, to take my place beside him. Just three rungs up, I looked up to pass Mike the rifle only to see Mike ‘stock still’ and pointing off to his right in utter astonishment.
Handing Mike the .308 Sako 85, I ascended the remaining few rungs of the ladder to take a look at what all the fuss was about. There, no more than thirty yards off, and looking utterly magnificent in the dappled early morning sunlight, was, what was to be, the first Fallow buck of the season.
(Left: A 'pricket'. Fallow Buck tend to develop their antler growth each year and as they develop they may be referred to as: Buck Fawn, Pricket, Sorrel, Sore, Bare Buck, Buck, Great Buck or Master Buck)
After many years of stalking deer I do not find that my heart races with the sighting of every beast, however the sheer proximity and size of this boy provided an exception to the norm. No massive rack of antlers, no substantial palms and spellers, just a superbly built sorrel buck in pre-rutting prime.
Amidst the excitement, a few moments of chaos ensued. Having unloaded the rifle prior to my climb into the seat, Mike’s initial squeeze of the trigger resulted in nothing except a quick exchange of words before a 150 grain bullet was loaded into the chamber and sent speeding on its way. At such close range and with such a large animal, excited or not, the shot was never going to fail to be anything other than a perfectly placed boiler room shot. And so, after a dash of 50 yards, the first Fallow buck of the new season collapsed into the undergrowth.
It is upon gralloching these pre-rut animals that the reason for their substantial weight is revealed. The south of England over the summer months provides no shortage of nutrition to animals that are intent of gaining weight before the autumn rut. This buck had clearly gorged itself in the dense woodland and laid up piling on the pounds and establishing fat reserves that had me pulling fist full’s of fat from the body cavity. Larder weight?....a whopping 125lbs. That’s four times the weight of the diminutive Roebuck. Worth remembering if you find yourself a half mile from the 4x4!