Listen to the Locals
- Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Twice he had mentioned it to me and yet I had still failed to listen.
We stalkers can be an arrogant bunch when it comes to our grounds and our quarry, thinking that for all the hours we have spent and miles that we have trod that we know best where the deer will be.
Usually we are right (here I go again!) however when it comes to taking advice we are sometimes best to heed advice from the locals.
Deer are a highly adaptable species and quickly become accustomed to the routes that we tread and the times of day when we are about. Like a fox that you see passing the same route through your garden time and time again we stalkers despite our best intentions can also be found prowling our own well trod routes. I have even caught myself on several occasions looking in exactly the same spot as where I last culled an animal, as though the event would in some way repeat itself!
Whilst there is no denying there are hot spots on an estate due to cover, lack of disturbance and suitable browse, we must be prepared to adapt, especially when we are offered well meaning advice from others that also frequent the land as to where the deer can be found. Deer will find the spots where they are least disturbed and so we should sometimes cast our search a little wider.
On this occasion it was the head grounds man, twice he had told me that he had seen Fallow deer in the wood behind the house, it's not a large parcel of land, far from it and its highly inaccessible however as a hunter with a handful more IQ points than a fox I needed to adapt.
I had previously tried to approach the spot from my usual route but each time to no avail. However this time was to be different. Stalking with a beginner who had only an hour previously proved himself on the range we approached the area in question about 45mins before dark from a whole new angle!
A beautiful clear winters evening and previous sightings had us talking in quiet voices when over the brow of the hill there they were. A small herd of Fallow deer moving quietly toward the exact spot where the grounds man had said they would be.
Dropping promptly to our bellies in the wet grass we glassed the animals which by virtue of their position perfectly presented themselves against ground which would serve as an ideal backstop. Shouldering the Sako 85 my new client performed superbly. At around 100yards the first shot rang out in the still air and dropped a lagging Doe in her tracks. A quick reminder to reload and a little direction had my client straight onto the next Doe who to her detriment appeared more inquisitive than alarmed. Another shot from the moderated .308 saw the next Doe dash 20yards before also collapsing to a beautifully placed heart shot.
An adrenaline fuelled pumping of hands followed and then the 'gralloch' and long drag back to the car. Note to self....I must listen to the grounds man more in future and quit thinking I know best all the time!!