Stalking farmland is so much different from my usual Scottish forestry block hunting. Farmland is so much more pleasing to the eye and to be perfectly honest, much more exciting… Whereas forestry stalking is usually close range with very few animals to be seen, farmland is so much nicer with views up to a few hundred yards and many animals to be seen at one time. It is also quite challenging as there is often little cover and approach is much more difficult. But the fact there is often many bucks around, one can be much more choosy which buck to take and watch them more closely for longer period of time. It is not the case of a buck crossing the forestry track or ride when it can be shot.
I much prefer stalking to sitting on a high seat, but to be honest high seat is often better idea. The problem is I am usually impatient and long wait on a high seat is not always for me. But I thought there must be a buck somewhere in the area that is difficult to stalk as it is mostly farmland with little cover. It also looked like it was going to rain so I had nothing better to do and sat on one of the high seats overlooking some overgrown grass field.
When I was sitting on a high seat a few days earlier waiting for wild boar to come out, I spotted a buck down below me in a wheat. He looked like a yearling spiker, but he was not around for long and soon disappeared behind the hill. Then I spotted him later on further on and he was standing in the wheat looking at something in front of him, but soon ran away. I remembered than and decided to check that spot sometime later on as I hoped it was an older roebuck that spooked the yearling.
So, I had no better idea for today than to check that field. It was still early and I parked my car quite a distance away and walked the boundary of the field. There was plenty of evidence of a territorial buck. I walked around the wheat field and looked around the corner when I spotted a movement. I looked through my binoculars and there were two fallow bucks looking at me. I saw them the previous year when they were spikers, one was a common fallow and the other one was melanistic black variety. They did not hang around for long, a ran away barking…
It was starting to rain and I sat on the high seat I planned to check. Leaves and branches above gave me some shelter from wind and rain. It actually was quite pleasant as it cooled down a bit after a hot day and soon a doe appeared out of nowhere and then another one.
Half an hour passed when a known spiker appeared. He was about 100-120m away and I was tempted to take him and go back, but he was already clean in comparison to other yearlings I had seen so far and a bit higher than typical 8-10cm. I decided to wait a bit longer and the spiker was on the move and soon went away. I hopped he was alert because there was another buck in the area and he was uncomfortable, and that was why he left.
It was slowly getting late with maybe 30 minutes of daylight left. I counted six or sever does, but no bucks. I glassed the area in front of me one more time and spotted a movement in high grass. There was a buck feeding, but all I could see was white tips of his antlers. It was not my spiker, but I could not see much more. Fortunately, he was slowly walking my way. The grass and weed on this field was different height and when the buck went a bit closer I could see he was middle aged buck with little tines. It was getting a bit dark to see much more, and he soon went into higher grass. I saw he had only two points on one of his antlers, and decided to take him.
The problem was he was constantly on the move and not always clearly visible. I did not want to neck shoot him. I could shoot through the grass, but he was still walking towards me and there was not point to hasten the shot. There was track across the field made by a quad bike and the buck was walking towards it. I decided to take the shot on that track if possible. The buck was coming closer and I flicked safety catch and set the trigger. The buck made a few more steps and paused with his shoulder clear off any grass. I touched the trigger and 7×64 bullet went off. The buck ran off and disappeared between the grass.
I went down and had a look around. The rain was not stopping and I did not fancy a long search in the wet grass… 🙄 Fortunately, he was only 15m away from the track. The bullet hit him on the shoulder. I dragged him under the high seat and did the gralloch. He was a good size buck and now I needed to drag him back to the car. The shortest way was to drag him across the wheat field. It was not best idea as I was soon completely wet, but there was no way I would risk taking a car any near the high seat.