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