As the Fallow Deer season gets underway James Schneider visits one of the Capreolus Club’s Fallow grounds in East Sussex, an area designated as part of a rewilding scheme.

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As a member of the Capreolus Club Plus - deer stalking syndicate, it’s my first visit to the Club’s new ground near Mayfield, East Sussex and I am sat in a high tower with concealing green burlap material stretched around a metal frame. The structure is large and comfortably suitable for two. The seat is firm and safe, and its position atop a ridge overlooking woodland and spectacular meadows below provides commanding views.

Today there is a welcome cool breeze and I enjoy the scent of not-so-distant sea mixed with East Sussex dark, wet earth. The abundant pastures are a vibrant shimmering green and rich with all manner of nesting birds and butterflies.

There is a gentle stream descending from my right, which as afternoon turns into an unusually cool evening, higher up the Weald, invites mist to settle. Water flows freely as the stream meanders leisurely within a canopy of ancient trees. Browsed understory has been shaped by transitory deer into an efficient tunnel which allows stealthy movement; a Fallow highway that runs the length of the stream in front of me.

I have with me my Sauer rifle in 6.5x55 calibre, with Swarovski scope, a tried and trusted set-up that has served me well with Fallow on numerous previous occasions.  

With a freshening breeze, the sun shines and delivers its last remaining warmth, as it nudges along the charcoal pastel woodland on the horizon. The panorama is one of sheer beauty.  

We are in a rewilding area and so I allow two foxes to safely run unhindered along a distant hedge. Birds, bunnies, all on display. The remaining sunlight illuminates undulating hills before me. It is late evening and I sit in the now-fading light as the crescent moon appears against a dark blue/black sky, the conditions are ideal for stalking.

I hear a distant rifle shot and resounding thump, which snaps me back to attention, it seems the Fallow are elsewhere on the ground this evening and it has been the turn of one of my fellow syndicate members, because for me, as the dark descends there are no Fallow to be seen.

After retiring to a highly satisfying dinner and banter by the fire at the medieval ‘Middle House’ in Mayfield, anticipation is that the morning will bring better results. The pub and hotel dates from 1571 with creaky doors and uneven floors, testimony to many interesting tales. I enjoy a solid evening’s sleep and awake refreshed.

The following morning is dark and warmer than the day before. As a fine mist falls, I set off in the darkness to explore several different areas. The ground shows promising activity with spoor and tracks visible among a number of trails and corridors.

I settle into a high seat overlooking both woodland and meadow. It becomes a decidedly more comfortable experience as the morning sun begins to rise, bringing with it a welcome warmth. Before me is the proverbial “Green and Pleasant Land” with lush grass and a gentle, persistent rain. I am warm, dry and relaxed. Never bad weather, only bad kit as the saying goes and I am enjoying the morning.

Three hours later, but regrettably, again there are no fallow…and that is just fine by me.

Fallow will roam many miles at a time, so with Fallow deer Stalking, unlike with other territorial deer species such as Roe, the deer are either there, or they are not. As such, with all wild stalking it is to a great extent, luck of the draw and regardless of any shots not taken, the bug is now well placed for a return trip next week, to further explore this beautiful garden of Eden.

James SchneiderTo read more about the Capreolus Club’s deer stalking syndicate, known as the club’s PLUS scheme simply follow this link: deer-stalking-syndicate

The Capreolus Club is the finest club of its type in the UK, to view the benefits of club membership, click here: membership-benefits

Alternatively to read more about Fallow Deer Stalking follow this link: fallow-deer-stalking



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