Got my first deer

Getting Started

I'd like to share with all my very experience of my deer stalk that I had today. It's certainly going to be one of the most memorable days of my life:

Having recently bought myself first deer rifle I contacted Ian and we booked in for me to come down on Thursday night and have an early morning stalk on Friday morning.

Ian offered me the use of his hunting lodge and I arrived about 8:30pm. I received a warm and friendly greeting from him and his other-half and was made to feel extremely welcome.

His hunting lodge was fantastic. A massive collection of hunting videos, books and leaflets coupled with an enormous TV in the lounge and another in the bedroom. I had the use of the lodge's own shower room, kitchen and even laptop!

Up at first light

After a few good hours sleep, we set off at about 4:30am this morning. Things were a bit misty out there so we had a drive about and spotted loads of Roe (our quarry) in various locations and on the roads around Ian's home and permissions. I've never seen so many before.

The mist started to lift about 6:30am and so we headed back to the land that Ian had designated as our stalking ground for that day.

We got all ready and cammo'd up and went onto the ground. Before we'd even got a few yards into one of the fields, we spotted a Roe Buck not 150yards away from us! We circled round to get a safer shot whilst keeping the low sun behind us and in the Roe's face.

We snuck on up to the Roe eventually closing to about 120yards. The buck would look up and we'd stop. When he carried out eating we carried on our approach. The grass was quite long and so we needed to get closer than was perhaps usual in order to see the target area properly.

When we eventually got to a good location with a clear view we knelt down and setup the shooting sticks. I put the rifle on the sticks when around the corner, literally about 20yards, popped out a Roe Doe. She bounced round the corner, saw us and stopped dead in her tracks. Me and Ian froze. A few seconds later she hopped around us, then circled round and hopped around the Buck we were after before gambling off.

The Buck watched her go with a similar look of surprise on his face as we had on ours, before he continued munching away on the cud oblivious to our presence.

I prepared to take the shot when the Buck put his head down and disappeared.

The Shot

We waited for a good ten minutes for him to reappear but he didn't. We knew roughly where he was but we'd completely lost sight of him in the grass!

After a bit we left the cover of the hedge and started walking towards where we'd seen him last with the rifle and sticks at the ready.

Suddenly he popped up, saw us and bolted away. I followed the buck in my scope when Ian made a barking noise. The Buck stopped about 80 yards away for a second and I punched a round off.

I didn't see the hit (due to the recoil) but my last image was of the cross hairs on the Buck's kill zone. Ian saw the Buck kick and run. The Buck ran to our right and off the little hillock that he was on and into the long grass which was a few yards away from him.

I was confident that I'd delivered a killing shot as was Ian. We walked on over to roughly where I'd shot it to looking for signs of blood or a trail.

Nothing!

Nothing.

There was no obvious landmarks outside of the land with which we could have gauged what direction he could have ran in as it was still quite misty. We searched for a couple of minutes and Ian said he'd get his friend who has Pointers to help us look for the beast as we'd have never have found him due to the length of the grass unless we stepped on him.

Anyway, Ian's friend duly turned up with his two dogs and eventually found the Roe Buck about 30 yards from where I'd hit him.

We gralloched the deer and now it's hanging up in my garage. I also took the head for the six-point antlers - after all, this is my first ever deer.
 

My First Deer

I've never felt such a range of emotions as I have today. From excitement at being so close to a deer, to complete shock when seeing the Doe bounding around us, to relief and pride when we found the Buck in the long grass.

It was an absolutely fantastic experience, one that I'd love to repeat. I can honestly say that Ian was superb throughout my entire stay with him. I really feel that I've learnt so much from him in the few hours that I was there. His willingness to share his knowledge, stories and time with me is more appreciated then he'll ever know.

Author Darren