Out of the Fog
- Saturday, 26 January 2013
Early January saw me undertake a stalk on a damp and uninspired day in January with Peter at County Deer Stalking. The quarry in question was to be exclusively Fallow deer, resolving to save the precious Roe for another time when things were a bit merrier.
Eventually we ended up in a fantastic bit of woodland, overlooking out and down across a rolling field bordered by deep and dense woods. Settling in, we proceeded to scan the tree line aggressively through the binoculars, hoping to catch a glimpse of a head - or more commonly with Fallow, heads, as they meander somewhat boldly around in a herd until disturbed. Despite a couple of false-sightings, all was quiet and dusk was rapidly rolling into night.
Just at the point of packing up and heading back to the car for a well earned coffee before the drive home, Peter spotted them - a group of about five, emerging from the tree line into the dense low hanging fog covering the field, at about 200 metres. We chuckled - always just as it's getting too late!
We effected a crawl for some 75 yards, propped the rifle up on the bipod and glassed the targets. Certainly, they were Fallow and most definitely animals that could be culled, but that fog! Every time I felt confident of a clean, effective shot on an animal and began to control my breathing and heart rate for the shot, more fog rolled across and obscured the vision. The fog cleared - but now the animal had another stood right behind it! I chose another - the fog lowered! I chose another - it turned away! And so this game continued, the whole time the group slowly moving backwards, away from us, into the fog and the safety of the trees.
I thumbed the safety catch back on and we stood up. Night had completely fallen, so living to fight another day these Fallow were very lucky. Fog can play havoc when deer stalking, requiring a very sound use of judgement to avoid what could be an unfortunate incident.
Putting my wellingtons in the back of the car it occurred to me - we already had a nice, circa 70lb Fallow in the loading tray ready for the butcher, so perhaps nature was trying to remind us that the boot was already full!