Saturday, 14 December 2013

Deer Hunting In The UK Pt 8

Me and hunterX are up to our usual tricks, well no, strangely we're not.
In a surprise turn of events we have just returned from the shortest and most efficient deer hunt yet. Regular readers may share my surprise.

Intended meet up 5.15am
Actual time 5.20am
So far not too shabby, above par even.

The biggest of the tunnels that let you drive under the river Thames is shut.
Re-route to a bridge crossing. Additional time 20 mins
Only to be expected. So far so good

Drive across Kent on deserted roads, time saved 25 minutes, back on schedule which in real terms, given our record, is ahead of schedule!

Out the truck, coats on, through the gate, round in chamber, close the gate behind us, and the sun peeks over the horizon. Made it!

There are two school's of thought with regard to the best way to approach a treestand or highseat; be in the seat as the dawn breaks, possibly having walked past or spooked the only opportunity you were going to see that day, or stalk to the seat in the breaking light. HunterX is a believer in the latter.

The ride that leads through the woods is sodden. Somewhere between stalking and squelching we make our way down it, on our left as the ground rises in the thickly planted coppice, something is proper crashing about, but it's well out of sight, we clear the worst of the mud, and there is even some semblance of stealth to our stalking when still out of sight more chaos breaks out in the woods.

We clamber into a box on legs that could best be described as a hybrid between; a piss-poor attempt to package a large item, a deer stand, and favela's least desirable residence.

Sitting in the box we settle to the wait, the gloaming brightens. I've propped my elbows on my knees so my binos stay in front of my eyes with no effort at all, my whole field of view is a jumble of brambles and the thin trunks of coppiced sweet chestnut. I'm drawn from my reverie by a flicker of movement, my head involuntarily turning right, through the glasses I see a leg, a grey leg.

The next section of this report comes from SBW's Internal Dialogue:

Excitable voice:
A WOLF it's an effing WOLF!

Dispassionate/patronising voice:
No SBW there are no wild Wolves in kent, I think you'll find its the front leg of a Fallow doe

I give HunterX a nudge, and pass him the glasses, he swaps me the Sako85. Now with the reduced field of view offered by the scope, I've got to find the leg and its owner in the thick coppice. For what seems an age I scan amongst the brownish-grey's looking for the greyish-brown of the Fallow doe. At last I can settle the cross hairs on her heart.

HunterX whispers: 'If you can now, or wait until she walks forward to the clear path.'

Days don't seize themselves, so I let the weight of my finger break the trigger and with the bang she turns and runs.

I'm still trying to find her in the scope again, as HunterX works the bolt muttering something about 'two man battery' but she's long gone.

We sit and speculate, waiting for ten minutes to amble past. The morning is brightening and we clamber out of our woodland favela and start to walk towards the spot where she stood. There's a small splash of foamy pink blood. Clearly not my finest hour as a marksman.

The clues left in the leaf litter are beyond our fluency as trackers, so we resort to the widening circle, which soon yields the flash of white where she lies about twenty yards from where I shot her. I've clipped a lung alright but it's her liver that's taken the shot [back to air rifle practice for me], she's not run more than twenty yards.

The gralloch is without incident, and we make good pace back to town, so good in fact that by 10am I'm already back at her flat being bollocked by Elfa for walking into the house in my muddy boots.

More soon


PBurns said...

A very fun read. Nice when it's relatively easy, though the hard ones that leave you muddy, bloody and beat are also good! Actually, no day spent in field or forest is ever a bad day!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


thanks glad you liked it, and yes any day afield is good day


hodgeman said...

Congratulations! The easy ones are truly a gift.

Don't sweat the shooting too much. I biffed the easiest shot I've had in a decade this year- twice… and then made what is arguably the hardest shot of my career a couple weeks later.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


As i play it back in my mind my memory is of taking a long time to squeeze the trigger, in retrospect enough time for the Doe to move a little? i'm still not really sure what happened.


Chas S. Clifton said...

Well, that was smooth. How is the meat dealt with afterwards?

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


The temperature has dropped a bit here so it went to HunterX's garage for a few days, it'll be in the freezer by now. I'm still eating my way through the pale fella i took in august

I only freeze them on the day if I can't either put them in someone's chiller or hang them at home, in the summer its way too hot at my house and the Evil Elfa has no space at all at hers.



Anonymous said...

No wolves in Kent? Didn't you see "American Werewolf In London" or other documentary(ahem) films? You better take along some silver bullets next time, just in case. And remember, Werewolf Fever has MUCH more unpleasant results than Buck Fever.....And I applaud your patience in WAITING for a good visual on the deer--far too many folks abroad in the woods where I live are quite happy to blast away at the slightest sound or movement, and find out what they shot AFTERWARDS! Of course this tactic can also have deleterious effects when involving werewolves or grizzlies......L.B.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


I did say wild wolves as i'm pretty sure there are some wolves in a wildlife park in Kent.

Thanks for the prompt; it turns out that AWWL was filmed in Surrey and Powys which doubles for dartmoor, and does have a few boozers in the slaughtered Lamb mould.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but as I'm sure you know, werewolves ARE wide ranging critters. Not to mention the song "Werewolves Of London" lyrics SPECIFICALLY mentioning Kent as werewolf habitat/hunting grounds......L.B.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Werewolves can range as far as they like there is no good beef chow mein in Kent.


Anonymous said...

Boy! You do like making heavy weather of this deer culling malarkey don't you. LOL

My guess is the deer didn't move pulled the shot.

Be thankful that at least you didn't pull your shot enough to gut shoot it. If you had, you would have spent the next 5 hours chasing the damned thing half way across Kent. Assuming that you could have tracked it to where it had couched up in the first place of course.
A word of advice ... if you don't have your own, at least have the contact details of someone who has a competent dog capable of tracking and finding wounded and lost deer, who's services you can call upon in time of need. Only ethical after all.

On a personal note. Today I hung up #31, and #32 of this years fallow cull. I'll dress them out in a day or 2 so that their ready for the Christmas eve thank you parcels.



Unknown said...

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Anonymous said...

Thirty two fallow deer in a season is very impressive indeed. Do you also have a DSC2 badge that you wear on your hat?

Anonymous said...

P.S. Gut shot deer aren't chased halfway across Kent for 5 hrs outside of internet hyperbole world. Anyone who shoots 32 deer then proceeds to mention it to strangers online should know better.

Yours in sport


Anonymous said...

Hunter X
"Thirty two fallow deer in a season is very impressive indeed."
I see you're easily impressed.... LOL
I'll have added another 25-30 to the tally by the end of March.Plus a dozen or so muntjac. Then its time to get stuck into the roe bucks.

"Do you also have a DSC2 badge that you wear on your hat?"
No! .....Do you?

"P.S. Gut shot deer aren't chased halfway across Kent for 5 hrs outside of internet hyperbole world"
I'm guessing you've missed the sardonic intent my remark.

32 is a small number compared to those achieved in other years or by other stalkers.I see no reason to hide the number from strangers.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for proving my point. Once you have killed your 60 deer, you'll be no more of an expert deer slayer than I am or SBW is trying to be.

We are all on a different points on the same amateur hunter spectrum. However, you seem to delight here simply to be disagreeable and pretend you're some kind of middle aged expert. I have shot plenty of deer in the liver and even (!) in the guts. I'm sure you have too. If so, maybe you won't be so quick to chastise the blogger who hasn't chosen to anaesthetise the reader with boring tales of best practice stalks and picture perfect grallochs.

As a very experienced deer stalker, you'll obviously know that £$it happens. As long as the deer is quickly recovered, the rest is a learning experience, especially for the novice stalker.

Anonymous said...

Hunter X
"Once you have killed your 60 deer, you'll be no more of an expert deer slayer than I am or SBW is trying to be."
Exactly how does one become an "expert" in your book?
In mine it comes from years of culling across a wide range of habitat and species. I have the experience but readily admit I'm still learning.

"We are all on a different points on the same amateur hunter spectrum."
Haha. Hardly. I do it for a living. How do you earn your daily crust?

"I have shot plenty of deer in the liver and even (!) in the guts."
Of that I have no doubt.

"I'm sure you have too."
You would be wrong in your assumptions. True Over the 40 odd years regretably there have been one or two. But I leave the "plenty" to the rank amateurs such as yourself.

"If so, maybe you won't be so quick to chastise the blogger who hasn't chosen to anaesthetise the reader with boring tales of best practice stalks and picture perfect grallochs."
Where was the chastisement in my post. Other than suggesting that he make an effort to improve his technique in regards shooting a live beast and to encourage him to seek out the contact details of someone with a decent dog upon who's ervices he can call should either you or he shoot yet another of your "plentiful" gut shot deer.

"As a very experienced deer stalker, you'll obviously know that £$it happens."
Yes $£it happens. Hopefully those involved learn from the experience, and don't repeat the same basic mistakes. Unless of course you're happy to repeat the same errors and continue to gut and liver shoot beast and run the risk of having to try and find them unaided after they have scampered half way across Kent. It takes all sorts! Unfortunately its the deer that suffer the repeated errors of the armature.



Calvin Yerke said...

I really like this sight and I think a lot of us watch the same shows wondering if we could survive off the grid and or feel deprived from this connection, after being tricked into the cubicle. On missing shots all you can do is set up a target and run a few rounds to figure out whether it was human error or something off with the gun, but don't let it eat you the guys on the shows you watch don't show a lot of their misses.

Anonymous said...

I am with Wilf on this one, whilst others were finishing secondary school Wilf and I were out there learning how deer should be shot.
You may feel that this is the chippiness of the working class hero/laughable plebeian of apocrypha but if HunterX had put as much time into learning to professionally manage deer as he obviously has put into spelling the word "amateur", the deer of Kent would benefit enormously.
The basic point is that when a blogger makes a post like this, whether hunter appreciates it or not an opportunity is created for criticism on the internet. The realpolitik of the situation is that unless someone like Wilf or myself gets in there first with the obvious the chance to display some supercilious condescension is lost forever. Let’s face it gents, when one is a professional deer manager like Wilf and myself the only time in our lives we can enjoy a bit of the supercilious condescension as something other than the target is anonymously and over the internet.

Who are you Hunterx to interfere with our sport?