Weather has been really bad recently. Gale force winds and rain for the last couple of weeks. I had booked in to visit our syndicate ground and had to give up it was so bad. The forecast was not much better but I decided to give it a go anyway. I got to the forestry at first light and it was wild… Strong breeze, some rain, then sleet, then snow with a short spells when it calmed down and all over again. It was quite difficult to find a sheltered place and I just wandered along the rides looking for a spot where I could sit down and wait.
I sat under a large tree at the junction of the two rides and sat there hoping something would show up. Unfortunately weather turned bad again and it started raining, then snowing… It did not make much sense to stay where I was so I decided to call it a day and go back to the car.
Hind and calf
It was south westerly wind that day so on my way back to the car I followed eastern side of the wood hoping some deer would feed there sheltered from the wind. I went maybe 200m when I spotted a head of a red deer laying in the gully close to the edge of the trees. I looked through my binoculars and there was another smaller deer feeding so it looked like at least a hind and calf were about, maybe more. I could not see from where I was standing and the wind was blowing towards them too. I had to through the trees and try to get downwind from them if I wanted to get a shot.
I went between the trees maybe 100m and tried to walk in parallel to the edge of the trees passed the red deer and back to the edge of the tees again. Unfortunately it calmed down again and I was making a lot of noise going under the canopy. Lots of fallen trees and branches did not make it any easier. When I finally got to where I wanted I could see the hind about 100m away staring at the trees. She obviously must have heard me but not winded me.
I stood there for about 10 minutes without any movement. The calf was feeding peacefully, but the hind would not. Eventually she dropped her head and started feeding but they were moving away from me. They went to the gully and I could not see them any more from where I was standing.
I moved 10m along the trees line and set up the sticks and my camera. I was wondering whether they went between the trees when I could not see them, when the hind’s head popped out from behind a single sitka tree. So they were still there, but I still could not see them clearly to get a shot.
After a few minutes the hind stepped out of the gully and the calf followed. I was not interested in the hind and only could get a calf on my own from where I was. When the calf eventually stood broadside I squeezed off the shot and could see the 100gr bullet hit behind the shoulder. The calf ran away, but the hind stood there watching. She moved off eventually waiting for the calf that was bleeding out 20m away from the place it stood when I pulled the trigger. I was considering another shot, but I only could see its back side and even head or neck were not really visible. Fortunately it dropped and the hind ran off.
Now it stared snowing again… I performed a gralloch and went back to the car to fetch my roesack. The calf fit in but it was a tight squeeze. It was about 25-30kg and I was glad I did not shoot the hind. She must have been at least 80kg.