Dogs and Deer Stalking
- Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Up early this morning at 4.30am! Entering the kitchen my dog Bibe was as ever raring to go as though she had been waiting in readiness all night.
Bibe,( pronounced Beeba) is a working Weimaraner, full name Trubon Bibe Tres. She is well qualified with multiple WCGB/WA Top Field Trial dog, 1st Novice GWT and German tests VJP and HZP. Having spent most of her life doing trials and picking up, I have recently taken her on as a deer dog to assist me with Deer Management over the land that I stalk in East Sussex.
Today we were to be looking for an injured Fallow Buck which had been spotted on a local farm. Having got Bibe into her neoprene camouflage jacket and having downed my obligatory shot of caffeine we were off!
It was a bitterly cold morning as we arrived at the farm just before first light. Getting out of the car both Bibe and I were instantly confronted by a young fallow doe just fifteen yards over a nearby hedge. All seemingly equally surprised we proceeded to eye each other suspiciously for several long moments before the deer eventually slipped away.
(Above: 'Bibe' and the injured Fallow Buck)
Stalking into the wind we set off around a couple of fields before crossing onto the farm where the injured deer had been seen two days earlier. There was a strong cold north easterly wind biting into our faces as we scanned the fields and I could see Bibe taking in all the scents and sounds, however there was nothing moving.
We carried on and crossed back onto the farm where we had started as I felt there might be deer sheltering nearer the woodland out of the cold wind. Over the lane and we were stalking again.
Suddenly I hissed at Bibe to sit and she instantly obliged dropping to her backside and looking around to see what was up. About five hundred yards away stood a pale Fallow Buck. It was standing where we had been only 10 minutes earlier! I spied the Deer through my 8x56 Binoculars. There were in fact three deer in all, two Bucks and a Pricket all of which were looking straight at us!
Holding our nerve for several long minutes, the deer eventually resumed their grazing and moved slowly through the gateway and down the gently sloping field. I could see that the pale buck had a painful looking and badly injured foot, which it held tenderly off the ground. This was clearly the deer we were after however it wasn’t going to be an easy stalk.
We back-tracked and got ourselves in line with a dense ivy covered tree. Approaching from here would get us to the country lane. Once at the lane I got to my hands and knees in order to cross a gap and avoid the deer seeing us. The action had Bibe quivering in excitement and to make the point she nudged me in the eye with her cold wet nose for good measure!
We had made it to three hundred yards without them seeing us. Soon we were on the lane and from here we could make further progress out of sight until we reached the gateway to the field. With the sixth sense that animals seem to possess the rearmost Buck seemed to gallop off, we thought it was all over, but NO they we still there.
Into the field we went, I sat Bibe and started crawling across open ground, worried that they might shortly leave. After about 30 yards the excitement got the better of Bibe who despite my instructions to stay decided to join me and crept gingerly toward my position! The deer watched her creep but fortunately seemed little more than inquisitive.
The look on my face must have made it clear to Bibe that I was far from amused and once again I made her lie down. Crawling like a snake for another 10 yards, I glanced around and was this time pleased to see Bibe had stayed put!
Now a little closer I had made just enough distance to get a shot over the grass at the injured Deer which was now stood just 100 yards across a shallow dip, with a gently rising backstop.
My shot rang out across the valley, the 100 grain bullet from my .243 Howa 1500 finding it’s mark. The Buck reacted typically to a heart shot but I was astonished to see it still jump three fences before collapsing!
I called Bibe up and we sat enjoying the birdsong, a moment of calm after the excitement of the stalk. Downing a quick coffee whilst we waited the customary period, we then returned to the Land Rover and drove down to the field and location where the deer had collapsed.
I harnessed Bibe and with her tracking lead attached instructed her to seek the deer. She soon appeared to pick up a strong scent trail, under two of the fences and over the next. Soon I was pleased to see that she found the Buck. I allowed her a quick lick of some blood by way of reward before calling her away. She now had the easy role and was clearly amused as she sat watching me struggling to get the heavy beast back over the three fences!
After 20 minutes of struggling, sweating and swearing the deer was back at the Land Rover, and I allowed Bibe back in the warmth of her 'car bed' to further observe me as I carried out the gralloch.
The buck’s foot was in truly terrible shape, black & 'dead'. It had also managed to get it’s antlers tangled badly in barbed wire. All things considered a good morning’s work and a worthy outing to dispatch a deer that was in serious need of culling.
Stuart Morrison & dog Bibe work together as East Sussex Deer Management.
For more articles about Deer Stalking with Dogs click on the following link: the-joys-of-a-deer-dog