Thursday, 30 June 2011

Roe Buck stalking in North Yorkshire, UK

I was recently back in the UK for a family visit and was lucky enough to squeeze in some hunting whilst I was back. My brother James had recently purchased a new rifle, a Tikka T3 Lite in caliber .243 Winchester so we were kean to break it in.

A colleague of my brother had invited us down to North Yorkshire for a morning stalking roe deer on the land he is a gamekeeper for, we set off from the North East of England shortly after 3:30am and arrived at the location just before 5:00am where Steve and his son Bradley were ready waiting for us. After some quick introductions and getting organised we were off in Steve's car for the short drive to his terrain, five minutes later we were loaded up and heading off on foot into the area. From the outset you could just see that this terrain was a deer stalkers dream, nice open crop fields and meadow bordered with patches of woodland and thick hedge rows allowing you move through the terrain without been spotted by the deer. The terrain seemed to have deer slots on the ground almost everywhere you looked for them, so confidence was high and the adrenaline was beginning to build.

We stalked round the boundary of the first field with no signs of deer, but lots of rabbits and wood pigeons were bursting from the tree line, I was starting to worry that with all the wood pigeon activity any deer in the local area would be alerted of our presence and leave the area. Next we entered a small plantation where Steve and Bradley had regularly seen deer bedded down, we slowly made our way through to the end but still no signs of any roe. We left the plantation and Steve recommended I head over in the direction of a field left as a natural meadow, I crept up to an opening in the hedge with my brother, us both using it as cover, whilst Steve and his son stood back. As soon as I got to the opening I spotted a roe deer grazing in the middle of the meadow, up with the binoculars I could see it was a buck - game on! my brother handed me the sticks and I got the rifle in position, by this time the buck was moving right to left and did not stop to present a shot, we watched the buck waiting for a broadside shot for about ten minutes but the opportunity did not present and the buck dissapeared into the hedgerow at the left side of the meadow. Myself, my brother and now Bradley crept along a farm track overlooking the neighbouring corn field and climbed over a small stone wall hoping that the buck would appear on the opposite side of the hedge, seconds later he did exactly that only to lie down on the edge of the crop out of sight. We whistled, barked, squeeked and made all manner of sounds to get the buck to stand up and after what seemed like hours watching him through the scope, after five minutes he got curious and stood up to see what the noises were, he stood slightly quatering towards me at about 85 meters so I placed the cross hairs in the middle of the chest and tight behind the front leg, safety off and realeased the shot. I was happy with the shot, got a good "pop" sound from the bullet as it hit and the reaction of the buck looked good indicating a fatal shot, and he slumped back into the hedgerow. After a short wait we all made our way to the hedgerow and there we found the buck, he had travelled four meters at most, I checked his eye reflex and with no reaction we dragged him into the meadow for some photos and the gralloch. Upon inspection during the gralloch it was clear the Sako 90 grain Gamehead had worked perfectly and had taken out both lungs with little meat damage to the carcass. Gralloch complete we were back in Steve's home at 7:00am where his wife had cooked us all an English breakfast, a perfect finish to a perfect morning!

Here are some pictures of the buck taken in the meadow where I first spotted him

Bradley, James and me (Jonathan)
 Steve & me

Steve asked if he could have the skull for his wall, I was more than happy to do so and told him I would clean it up for him and he would have it in a few days.

Here's the head in my mum's pan skinned and waiting to be boiled, she wasn't too impressed when she came home to the smell and with me sitting at the dining table with eyeballs and brains all over =)

The finished result

Steve & Bradley, once again thank you for a great day! I look forward to meeting up with you both again.


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