The Countryman's Weekly

Deerstalking

Deerstalking
January 22
08:04 2020

Muntjac worth the stormy wait

by Charles Smith-Jones.

THE wind and rain were coming in horizontally as I huddled miserably in the portable high seat, moved into its new position only that morning, with almost two hours to go before shooting light was gone. Storm Atiyah (as the forecasters were calling it) had swept in that day after a calm morning with almost double-figure temperatures. Now the treetops were being lashed in all directions while the rain drove in relentlessly. I began to wonder why I’d been mad enough to consider a sit-out that evening.

I considered the positives. The seat was secured to a well-grown Scots pine sturdy enough not to be swaying in the wind, and I had my back to the wind and rain. Easily to hand in the small holder on the shooting rail was a flask of hot tea, well sweetened, and most importantly of all my jacket had recently been given a reproofing and was standing up well to the onslaught.

At least I was dry and relatively warm, I reflected, as yet another drop of water fell from the cap peak to miss my nose by an inch or so. Checking the lenses of the binoculars were protected against the rain by their plastic caps, while the thermal imager was tucked secure and dry in my jacket, I decided to sit it out but wondered if any deer would be prepared to move in this weather.

Ten feet off the ground I may have been getting the full treatment but the seat overlooked a deep, wide and sheltered gully where the vegetation seemed far less affected by the wind than it was around me. Fifty yards to one side a pheasant feeder stood tucked into an indent on the side of a dense bramble patch, equally well protected from the wind and being used by half a dozen birds. More showed elsewhere around the section of release pen visible from where I was sitting.

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