The Countryman's Weekly

Deerstalking

Deerstalking
August 05
07:08 2020

Fixtures and fittings

By Charles Smith-Jones.

I’D been in the high seat for about half an hour. Nothing had moved in the woods so far, with not even a pheasant or squirrel to provide something interesting to look at. Still, there was plenty of daylight left and more than enough time for a deer to make an appearance.

Movement below my right shoulder caused a careful look downwards to discover a small roebuck standing below. Presumably it had approached from behind the tree to appear, as deer so often do, seemingly from nowhere. It was looking around suspiciously but could sense nothing to alarm it; sitting 10 feet off the ground, my scent would have been taken away well above the buck’s head by the light breeze.

I peered almost straight down at it but dared not move. Lightly built and with a short, four-point head of antlers, it was an ideal candidate for the cull if a shot became possible. The buck moved forward of the seat, pausing occasionally to snip a choice bramble shoot that took its fancy.

As it looked away, I took the opportunity to inch the rifle round as slowly as I dared to bring it to bear. The buck was now about 20 yards or so away and broadside – just a few more inches … at which point the rifle fore-end clipped the metal shooting rail with a clear ting. The buck may have been young, but it was certainly not stupid; without a backward glance he bounded off to disappear into the trees on the far side of the clearing, and that was that.

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