All Quiet on the Deer Front
Peter Jones sums up some of the more memorable stalks of the last two weeks.
For those that read my blogs you may be aware of my comments about stalking through September. In Hampshire the end of August, September and early October I find tends to be the quietest time of year for deer stalking and this has been the case again this year.
That said quieter days have been interspersed with some really memorable outings. Most recently three spring to mind. On all three occasions the day would have been a wash out save for some great stalking and marksmanship that salvaged the outing and turned an otherwise quiet day into something memorable.
The first was an evening stalk with Tariq F. Having got off to a slow start we positioned ourselves at one of my favourite spots overlooking a large grass field that boarder's woodland when after a short wait we were rewarded as two Fallow prickets emerged from the wood 250 yards out.
Lying prone we watched the beasts as they made their way leisurely toward us browsing at the tree line with craned necks. At 150 yards we needed wait no longer as one of the prickets turned broadside and Tariq executed a text book heart lung shot spat from his Blaser .308 that sent the pricket charging back in the direction from which it had come.
Observing the animal through our respective lenses we could clearly see this was a dead deer running a fact confirmed moments later as the deer staggered and collapsed at the tree line.
The second stalk that springs to mind was with Matthew R. Once again an evening stalk that had started off slowly turned into an exhilarating stalk out to a group of six Roe. Having spotted the animals around three hundred yards out in the field and mindful of back stop and wind direction we spent the next hour belly crawling across an open grass field to within 120 yards.
From this hard earned new position we were able to select a young Roe Buck for the pot leaving the older more promising Roe Buck of the group for another year. Another animal grassed by a text book heart lung shot off the bipod.
The third memorable outing of the last couple of weeks occurred only yesterday. After an early morning start James S and I tucked ourselves behind some young saplings whilst we glassed the nearby wood line. Our reward this time came in the form of a 'Muntty buck' which broke cover and wandered out across the open ground in front of us some 250 yards out. With no time to waste we knocked off 50 yards before open ground prevented us advancing further.
As anyone who stalks Muntjac knows there is little time to spare when an opportunity of a Muntjac presents itself. A brief stationary pause in the animals otherwise determined trot toward the opposing wood line was all that James needed to pull off a truly excellent 200 yard heart lung shot from a set of my now well used Southwick Quad Sticks.
More 'rangy' than I would normally like but a real confidence booster for James who was using his newly acquired Weatherby Vanguard in .308 calibre. Save for this one event we continued on what James described as a 'Well armed walk in the woods!' with nothing further seen all morning.
As a guide the worst aspect of the job.... and there are precious few, is that some days are just plain quiet! This is not the end of the world with regular client's, they have had their fair share of good days and so take it in their stride however with a new client like any good host you want to put on a good show!!! However this just goes to show that sometimes when least expected memorable moments can happen. That's not to say they always will but hey as they say it's called hunting not killing.
(Images of all three clients with their animals appear in the gallery).