Sunday, 29 April 2012

Big Hairy Beaver!

I went to visit my friend Bernt on the weekend as we were going to put out some salt stones in our hunting terrain for the roe deer and moose to help them after the winter months and also scout the terrain with the dogs to check for any signs of roe deer and moose. On arrival I was greeted by a big beaver just laying on the front garden lawn... a very hill billy start to the morning! lol.

He had been out at 4am and had seen several beavers and managed to shoot a 15kg female with his .243 and a Hornady V-Max, he shot it at 75 meters right behind the shoulder and it dropped on the spot.

Here's some pics of before, during and after the skinning.

The beaver laid out on the front lawn

Front claw
Webbed back claw
Beaver tail with an injury, probably from a fight with another beaver

OK, now for the gory pics of the skinning, so if you are easily offended or have a weak stomach don't scroll down any further!


The beaver skin is now being salted prior to sending to the tannery so it can be used in the future as a nice warm fur for sitting on during the winter months. The skull will be boiled, cleaned of any flesh and bleached to make it bright white, I will post up pics of the finished fur and skull in a future post.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

England Adventure - Part 4: Big 6 Point Roe Buck

I was due to fly back to Norway on Friday so I though I would sneak out for one last stalk on Thursday evening with my brother James as the weather was good. We arrived at the terrain quite early so we could have a quick scan around before setting up in an area where we had previously seen two small bucks. Having carefully scanned the surrounding fields nothing was showing so we made our way towards the target area, I had decided that we would lie out in the middle of a field hidden by a small rocky patch and some reeds approximately 150 meters from the forest edge.

After about an hour and a half of scanning with the binoculars I spotted a deer on the forest edge, but it was too far away to identify if it was buck so James got the video camera ready to get some close up footage and it quickly became apparent that the deer was a doe. She eventually came out into the field to graze and did so for over an hour and a half totally unaware of our presence and allowing us to get some nice footage.

After about one hour of watching her James spotted another deer on the forest edge and we could clearly see that this was a buck, but unfortunately it slipped back into the forest without presenting a chance for a shot. We lay in the field and continued to watch the roe doe as the temperature got colder and as the light slowly began to fade, then suddenly out the corner of my eye, I spotted a dark figure creeping out into the field about 200 meters away. Up with the binoculars I could see the antlers above the ears so I knew it was a buck, quickly and quietly I positioned myself with the rifle whilst James readied the camera, both of us trying desperately not to spook the doe who was now only 75 meters in front of us. After what seemed like 10 minutes of slowly positioning myself I was finally comfortable and had a steady rest with the buck in my cross hairs, James gave me the nod and I took the shot.

I was standing on sticks and my brother was lying on the ground filming so the camera angle is deceptive, the bullet having passed through will have grounded out in the ground infront of the stone wall.

The shot was high and clipped the spine causing the animal to drop on the spot, I quickly reloaded but there was no further movement, so we gave him 5 minutes before making our way over. When we got there he had expired so we quickly took a couple of photo's and I lasered the range which was 175 meters.
A beautiful 6 pointer and great finish to what has been a fantastic trip back home.
A nice symmetrical 6 point.
A big thank you to both Steve & James for all their time and help during my stay, I'm already counting down the days to my return in the summer.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

England Adventure - Part 3: First Roe Buck 2012

After several close encounters, myself, my brother James and friend Steve decided to spend the evening sitting in high seats to maximise our chances. We arrived at the terrain early and after a quick coffee set off to quickly scan the local fields before collecting and repositioning a high seat at the edge of a beautiful block of forest overlooking a small valley which the deer use as a highway before entering into the larger fields to browse. High seat in place, James positioned himself in the new set-up whilst myself and Steve made our way to the edge of a crop field a few hundred meters away where countless deer have been seen and the same place where James took a young doe earlier in the year. Positioned in the high seats it wasn't long before I sighted deer in the same fields I stalked up to on my previous blog post, at first I could only see one deer, but after a few minutes Steve spotted a second and then I spotted a third, this confirmed it was a doe we had seen previously with twins from last year, both does. We continued to scan the fields in the immediate vicinity for a few hours but the only activity seemed to be from the hares and pheasants, this was fantastic in itself so I took the opportunity to get a little bit of footage.

All of a sudden Steve indicated that he has seen a buck run across the lower part of the crop field amongst the rapeseed, by the time I had got my binoculars up the buck had disappeared and was nowhere to be seen. Steve had a good idea of the bucks behaviour and as we had not seen it cross over into the other fields where we had spotted the does, he was confident it would use a small valley and plantation bordering the crop field and work its way towards us. After about 30 minutes of waiting Steve gave me the signal I had been waiting for, he had spotted the buck and it was behind us, I carefully and slowly glanced round from my high seat and there was the buck on the other side of a small stream about 50 meters away in the valley, it had appeared as if by magic from the small block of plantation just as Steve had predicted. Now the adrenalin was pumping, I climbed down a couple of steps on the high seat and turned round so I could use the back of the high seat structure as a support, slowly I acquired the buck in my cross hairs but a clear shot never presented itself and the buck had now crossed the stream and was slowly crossing the valley heading for a block of forest. As the buck passed directly behind the high seat into my blind spot, I took the opportunity to position my camera ready for when he stepped out on the opposite side, camera in position and recording I got my rifle ready and waited for an opportunity to shoot.

As you can see from the video, I slowly waited for the buck to present a shot, the camera was positioned slightly to my right so when I took the shot on the video I had a better view of the buck. The shot at approx. 75 meters took out the heart of the buck going through the front shoulder and exiting behind the rear of the far shoulder, yet it still managed a dash to the other side of the small valley behind us. Myself and Steve got down from the high seat and made our way over to the buck, looking at the blood trail on the ground we knew it wasn't going to be far and we found it laying at the top of the valley after about a 30 meter dash, a beautiful little 6 pointer still in velvet, a perfect animal to take and my first roe deer with my Sauer 202 XT.

A happy hunter & my first buck of 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

England Adventure - Part 2: Another fox down!

On Tuesday evening my brother James and myself decided to head out in the hope of getting my first roe buck of 2012. On the drive up the weather seemed very hit and miss with patches of heavy rain followed by light drizzle, but on arriving at the terrain the weather was overcast with no rain, a great start. We had decided earlier that we would arrive a little early in the terrain allowing for a short stalk where we had previously seen a small buck before spending the rest of the evening in the high seat where we had seen a couple of other small bucks.

We arrived at a small patch of forestry surrounded by fields of ewes and their lambs, we set off stalking through the forestry with the wind in our faces, but after 45 minutes we had not seen anything so we decided to loop round and stalk back to the car. We had just stalked by a beautiful meadow and were heading down a deer trail overlooking a field of ewes and their lambs when James spotted a fox in the field with them. We knew the farmer had lost several lambs so immediately we crept 50 meters down to the edge of the forestry over looking the field in the hope of getting a shot at the fox, but when we got to the edge of the field the fox was nowhere to be seen. James started squeaking to try and get the fox to show itself and after a few seconds the fox appeared about 100 meters away in the forest edge at the opposite side of the field, I quickly steadied myself and placed the cross hairs on the chest of the fox and as soon as it stopped I released the 200 grain Lapua Mega and a promising pop sound followed, to which my brother confirmed he saw the fox fall. We walked over to the area the fox was standing and there we found a mature vixen, I lasered the range and it was exactly 111.5 meters from the edge of the field where I took the shot. The farmer will be a happy man! =)

Me and my first fox with the 30-06
We spent the rest of the evening sitting in the high seat but only saw hares and pheasants, then I saw a couple of roe deer in a field about 500 meters from our high seats. They were too far away to identify so I made the decision that we get down from the high seats and stalk over to them, carefully we approached the fields using hedgerows to cover our approach, after about 20 minutes we were in a position where we could clearly see the roe but it turned out they were both does...typical! Anyway, we decided to wait in the cover in the hope that a buck would show itself as we knew there was a nice one in the area, unfortunately the light slowly disappeared and the buck did not come out to play. Either way it was a great evening, we had taken a fox which had been killing lambs and had successfully stalked into shooting range of two does, it's just a matter of time before we bump into a buck!

Here's a short clip of one of the does we stalked up to.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

England Adventure - Part 1: Fox down!

I went out hunting with my brother on his local terrain on Sunday night, where he has the rights to hunt small game, so we took the .22 LR for rabbits and also the .243 if the opportunity of a fox presented itself. Entering the terrain with the wind in our face the prospects were looking good and the rain was holding off, we cautiously entered the terrain stealthily weaving between the gorse bushes in the hope to catch a rabbit or two sitting out in the edges. Unfortunately there was nothing to be seen, so we decided to continue towards another known area which consisted of both gorse bushes on the higher ground and reeds on the lower ground, entering the area and being careful not to skyline ourselves it was only a matter of seconds before I spotted something. Up with the binoculars I confirmed it was a fox searching through the reeds and about 150 meters away, stalking sticks now in place my brother located the fox in his cross-hairs and released the shot as I watched it slump to the ground through my binoculars, reloading and watching the fox in the cross-hairs there was no sign of movement, so after a couple of minutes we slowly approached. The fox was a mature vixen and James had pulled off a perfect head shot at a confirmed 139 meters by my laser range finder.

James with a mature vixen.

Good shooting James! =)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Gone Hunting in England!

Today I will be heading off back to the North East of England for just over a week and I plan to squeeze in as much hunting as possible with my brother James. As of the 1st April, the roe buck season has begun in England so I'm also hoping to get my first roe deer for 2012 with my new Sauer 202 Classic XT 30-06.

I'm taking my video camera with me, so watch this space for some exciting updates!

Hopefully I won't shoot the Easter Bunny! lol

Thanks for reading and Happy Easter =)