Three Deer Species in One Day
- Saturday, 09 March 2013
It's a well known sporting achievement to stalk a red stag, shoot a brace of grouse and catch a salmon all in one day - it's called the McNab.
Since stalking with Peter yesterday I've been trying to coin a new turn of phrase for the eventuality of hunting three different deer species and seeing more than thirty (30) deer in one day. I've come up with several possibilities, but none of them are repeatable pre-watershed!
The day kicked off with exploring a parcel of land recently taken on by County Deer Stalking, and immediately, we were impressed. Counting a group of twenty plus Fallow in a mixture of colours and shades some 600m or so away, we endeavoured a careful stalk through the woodland. Interestingly, the FLIR Scout PS thermal imaging camera came in to action here, not actually spotting animals in the woodland, but rather confirming where they were not - a great peace of mind when trying to move quickly and quietly through difficult terrain.
By the time we reached a suitable spot for visual identification it became clear that it was possibly an exclusive buck herd - with the corpus of animals being prickets with miniature snubby antlers. However, right in the middle was an absolute monster!
I'm always wary of launching in to stories of "cor, it was THIS big!", holding ones hands out at the sides to describe the "one that got away", but on this occasion I just have to succumb. Peter was quick to tell me it was definitely the biggest Fallow he has seen in the south east of England in the wild (e.g. outside of deer parks).
Sadly, the wind was against us and the group were very, very jittery and an opportunity did not present itself. Additionally, having spent over an hour crawling, shuffling, adjusting, leaning, balancing, tip-toeing, kneeling, crouching, stabilising and generally doing things that require a bit of effort, my internal boiler was starting to overheat a bit so I was thankful for the respite.
Onwards to other fields and the crosshairs came up on a Muntjac doe at about 30 meters away. Fortunately it was its lucky day and the animal was spared. I think I had set my sights on something a bit bigger and prouder than the Muntjac. While I normally like to go after them this little doe wasn't exactly making things sporting and we're not butchers. However, honourable mention again to the FLIR, of which seems to excel at spotting Muntjac scrabbling around in woodland.
So we ended the day in one of the old faithful fields, spotting a Roe doe at some 200m away which very kindly drifted into the middle of the field with a great backstop. Although, as one of three animals in the field we had to make absolutely sure she had the trademark 'anal tush', then we were set. It was at that incredibly suspenseful moment when day has already gone and it's a question of dusk slipping in to night. Clean shot to the broadside dropped her to the shot, all present and correct. It was a foul mouthed day in general though, as I managed to repeat my previous performance of dropping the little rubber eyepiece from the FLIR somewhere in the field so spent 15 minutes looking for it. Not the cleverest design on an otherwise amazing piece of kit.
So my love/hate relationship with Fallow continues. If I had tagged the big beast it would have been absolutely incredible, and I guess that is part of the fun, that it can be very hard work. However, it seems you always know where you stand with a good Roe and they are such attractive creatures all year round.
One thing is for sure is that there is no shortage of either!