Having left the grounds alone for two weeks over Christmas it was a pleasure to get back to the main grounds in Hampshire to see if the peace and quiet that I had afforded the deer over the holidays would pay off.

It is of course important not to judge your stalking based on the number of deer slain suffice to say that the first five outings resulted in five deer. With two Fallow Does and three Roe Does it has been a great start to 2013.

Leaving the grounds alone for a few weeks on occasion can pay dividends. For many Deer Stalkers with small patches of land it is sometimes difficult to rest your ground, especially when the make up of the species of deer and their respective seasons (as with Roe and Muntjac) mean that the ground has in effect no off season. None the less if your patch of land is small then it is worth building a few rest periods into each year during which the deer have an opportunity to de stress!

If you are fortunate enough as I am to have sufficient acres this can be more easily achieved by resting certain plots of the ground in order to allow the deer patches of land where they can remain undisturbed. These patches can then be rotated throughout the year, the resultant benefit to the stalker is at the very least two fold.

Firstly the chance of seeing deer increases. Deer as I have noted before become extremely adept at spotting patterns of behaviour. There is a lovely sentence coined by Richard Prior he writes "Deer observe people as though their lives depend on it, which of course they do!" (Roe Deer Management & Stalking Swan Hill Press). The point being that if we are foolish enough to behave in a predictable manner then our quarry will be the first to spot it.

Watch for example the retired couple walking their dog along the same route every day. It has often fascinated me to observe how deer can disappear into the undergrowth as walkers go about their daily business only to materialise minutes later once the perceived threat has passed.

Well the effect is the same for deer stalkers. If you consistently stalk a given plot then before long the deer will almost instinctively be aware of your coming and will be looking out for you before you have even placed a foot in your boots.

By resting and alternating areas of your hunting ground you can keep your ground fresh. It is of course tempting when you don't see deer to keep moving on to the next plot and the next and the next and so on until you have stalked the whole ground, resist this temptation! It may salvage a quite day a couple of times but on the whole the effect will be that you will see less and less deer over all. To stalk the whole of your ground every time you venture out is a school boy error so don't do it!

The second advantage of leaving areas of undisturbed land is with reference to trophies. You can bet your bottom dollar that if you can be restrained enough to leave an area of woodland or hedgerow alone it will be out of that very same spot that the biggest buck of the season will emerge. Remember deer grow their biggest heads when left undisturbed and unstressed.

It is no coincidence that I write this peace just as I head off on holiday for two weeks. The deer have had it easy this winter two weeks over Christmas and two weeks in January. I dont know who's got it easier the deer or the guy thats stalking them!



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