I had booked off Friday and was looking forward to a trip down to the Chalke Valley, Near Salisbury. Once I had checked and rechecked that I had everything I arrived at Ivythorne for a 10:00am zeroing session. The range was empty and I took my time to put 8 rounds into the targets at 100 meters. Initially whilst the group was satisfactory it was a couple of inches to the left which was quickly corrected.
The drive down to the pub where I was staying was uneventful and my brilliant guide Mark duly picked me up at 14:30. We drove leisurely around the land for about an hour and whilst we saw a couple of Roe Does only one Buck was spotted and he headed for the hills as the wind was not in our favour.
Mark suggested a cup of tea and a return within an hour. When we arrived back we headed for the highest ground on the permission and spotted a lone buck standing about 500 meters away in a crop. We were in two minds whether to try and drive around the estate and come at him from behind and above but he made up our mind as he turned diagonally towards us and ambled along through the crop. The wind was blowing towards us and a quite drive to the top edge of the field was completed without spooking him as he was more occupied by another Buck that had made an appearance on his turf. We now had the opportunity to creep along the side of the field with us hidden by the lie of the land from the bucks.
Arriving at point where we could see one of the Bucks standing in a crop roughly tall enough to expose only his head and neck Mark checked that I was happy to go for a neck / head shot and presented the sticks for me to use. I quickly had his neck in my cross hairs and Mark squeaked to stop him.
Whether it was nerves or a pulled shot due to snatching at the trigger I’m not sure but I missed with my first shot swearing under my breath whilst quickly chambering a second round.
The second put him down stone dead with an entry wound and exit slightly higher in the neck than I would have ideally liked but the RWS 165 DK had done its work. Mark was very careful to find a point of reference that we could use to find him as the crop was quite high and sure enough we walked to within about 6 feet of him before seeing the tell-tale sign of a flattened crop. A quick touch of his eye with the sticks confirmed that he was dead and I had my first young buck (roughly 3 years old) of the weekend. The Buck was in fantastic condition and whilst by no means a medal head had some lovely pearling on his antlers.
The next morning saw me up at 3:30am and on the permission by 5:00am. I was shown a beautiful medal buck with his girlfriend (they have been together for a couple of years) which was for shooting on another day and then I was taken to a new high seat which had been placed overlooking some young trees and a pathway / track through the forest. Just as I was about to climb into the seat we glassed a lovely buck about two hundred meters away but he was spooked by something and disappeared into a patch of forest.
I climbed gingerly into the seat – I hate heights and whilst the seat was not that high the fact that the ground was falling away from me made it seem higher which wasn’t adding to my confidence. My guide had explained that he was going to do a leisurely circular walk to attempt to drive deer towards me. He explained clearly that at no time would he present to me on the safe arc of fire that I had from the seat.
Mark walked off to the right and I took this opportunity to glass and check my field of view through my scope. Sitting now relaxed and attentive to what was happening around me my attention was immediately drawn to my left by the sound of a snapping twig. Suddenly a Buck presented about 50 meters away foraging on the path as he came towards me. I slowly selected the fire position on my Mauser and followed him with the cross hairs between some trees. The Buck thoughtfully stopped with his side ahead of some trees and my shot hit him straight in the engine room. I have absolutely no doubt that he was dead before his body slid down the bank being bowled over by the shock of the bullet strike. Mark had only walked about 50 meters to my right and was very surprised to hear the report so quickly.
It was just a perfect end to an afternoon / early evening and a morning stalk. One Buck, off sticks after a classic stalk and one off a virgin high seat.
One very satisfied novice stalker, slightly embarrassed by the three shots to grass two Roes.