Winter roe deer stalking in Scotland
I find roe deer stalking in Scotland at this time of year a bit of hit and miss. It is quite difficult for me to go out any other time but weekends, as it is still dark at 8am and already dark at 5pm, so can’t really squeeze in an outing before or after work weekdays… Then, I am not the only one in our deer stalking syndicate so often the ground is booked every other weekend, and because of not being often on the ground I loose the idea where deer are and where to go. I tend to go all over the forestry and usually come back with nothing, often not even seeing deer… But then, we actually have some snow in winter 😉 with some frost that makes any stalking impossible and the only option left is sitting quietly and waiting for deer to come. If the place is right and st Hubert gracious that day, it might not be a bad outing after all…
First roe doe in 2012
It was one of these days with almost no wind, heavy frost and a bit of really crunchy snow. I went out quite early in case I could not get any closer to the forestry, but winter tyres made a good job and I got to the gate just fine. I sometimes think I am the only one here who does not have a 4×4 car… Forestry tracks are not in the best condition here, but it is still much easier to drive on ice with winter tyres than usual mud, water pools and deep groves left by 4x4s…
I got to one of my favorite spots after an hour’s walk. It took me a good 10 minutes to stalk the last 100 yards, but I made a lot of noise anyway. First glance on the moor and first thought “not too bad, no sheep”. I set up the camera and sat down looking through binoculars, and there were sheep… they were just laying on the snow, thankfully not too many and they kept to one side of the hill.
It was nearly sunrise, sky turned red, and wind changed slightly when I spotted a single roe on the moor. It was still too far away, but I convinced myself it must have been a buck. Not a problem since we have out of season permit anyway, but would prefer a doe after all. A roe was slowly feeding and walking towards me, so I was confident it would come closer eventually. But then sheep started to getting up as well and deer run towards me and I had to be quick to stand up, put rifle on sticks and track it on camera.
It was a roe doe after all and before I knew it she was 80 yards away. All was going according to plan when she caught my wind and run back where she came from… Now I had to be quick to have a chance so as soon as she paused 120-130yards away I squeezed the trigger. I thought the shot was good, but was not really sure as was having rifle and the sticks and at the same time trying to keep up with camera adjustments… She was slowly walking away, so I knew she was hit, but did not know where, so as soon as she paused again I put another round just in case.
Now I saw the bullet strike, but she was not going down for a few more seconds, but eventually her legs gave way and she dropped falling down the slope. I gave her a few minutes and walked up to see bullet wounds. After all the shots were not too bad, both bullet entries no more than 1″ apart, but one exit wound a bit far back (first shot) and on the shoulder (the second one).
She was a nice yearling doe at 12kg which is good for the area. After all this time it was not blank outing again. It would be good to do a bit more roe deer stalking in Scotland before doe season ends and maybe try to take some red deer as well. I did not see any that time, but there is a good number of reds out there.
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