“When that second Buck stops moving – kill it” – I instructed in a horse whisper.
This was my friend Jame’s second outing Stalking, ( hunting) Roe deer this week, and already he had one carcass hanging in the barn. This second Buck however, was a much better animal, and showing the full 6 points, most common in adult male Roe.
As I grow older, the more pleasure I gain from guiding friends on dawn and dusk stalks. It is good to stalk and shoot a good Roe ones self, of course – but to take out a close friend and meet with success, gives a quite unique feeling of satisfaction.
The land we found ourselves hunting over on this particular evening, is well known to me, as I have hunted it now for a little over 20 years. As the seasons change, the deer prefer to feed on different crops, in different areas – but on this evening, I was pretty sure that they would move out of the big Pine wood at dusk, to feed on the newly grown, Spring grass.
We had quietly and carefully made our way along the the edge of the hilltop plantation, and found ourselves sitting ready, in the high seat, at a little after 7.30 p.m. If a Buck was going to show, it would be sometime during the last hour of daylight – and we were ready for his appearance!.
High Seat on the edge of the wood.
As those who have spent many hours in a Tree stand, or High seat will know – the time spent in waiting is never wasted. How many other members of humanity have – whilst sitting silently – watched the Sun rise above the horizon on a Summer’s morn, like a burning, Orange ball – or have witnessed the Red Squirrel, scuttering up and down the scaly Scot’s Pine trunk. Or – have seen the striped Badger on his evening patrol, as he snuffles down the woodland ride, in search of Beetles and worms?. Not many, I would venture.
Perhaps 20 minutes or so of our vigil had passed, and I was listening with pleasure to the crowing of Cock Pheasants, going to roost in the tall Birches – when a flicker on the edge of the woodland, caught my eye. As I leveled the binoculars at the spot where I had noticed movement – a young Roe Buck – his antlers still covered in velvet – stepped out. As he did so – he bounded forward, and then looked back over his shoulder – indicating that something else was following him.
I warned James in a low whisper, to “Get ready” – as I thought the young Roe was being chased by an older, larger Buck. Within seconds, my suspicion was proved right, as charging down the edge of the Birch wood, came a good, solid, 6 point Buck – no more than 100 yards from us – and clearly intent on driving the younger animal out.
James has enough experience to know a shootable animal when he sees one – so he readied himself, by taking a good solid rest with the rifle, on the front rail of the High seat. I instructed him to shoot the Buck – “As soon as he stops moving”. After perhaps 40 yards the Roe did just that. With the binoculars locked onto the animal, I waited for the shot – and as the Roe presented himself broadside on – the 25-06 Saur, roared out.
At the shot, I clearly saw the bullet kick up the hair on the animal’s chest – and witnessed the unmistakable lurch of a mortally wounded deer. Recovering slightly, the Roe ran out across the field for perhaps 20 yards, and staggered to a halt. James asked if he should hit it again – but I knew the game was over for the 6 pointer. Almost before I could answer my friend’s question – the Buck was down, and dead.
James with his 6 pointer Buck.
James unloaded his rifle, and carefully we descended from the High seat. Walking through the now dew damp grass – we approached the dead Buck – and found him lieing on his left side – shot cleanly through the heart. James gave a smile – as much out of relief as happiness – and we both shook hands firmly.
This was a fine trophy for him to take South; and for me, the Buck would provide meat for the family table, over the coming weeks!.
We both agreed that it was now time for a celebratory Malt Whisky, and a roaring log fire!.