Red calf for the freezer

Red deer rut 2013

So far it has been quite unusual rut. It is already quite late and not much action so far. Stags started roaring early October, but then the weather changed and it was unusually warm for this time of year at 15-17C during the day. It looks like the rut would be at its peak right at the end of the season. It happened before a couple of years ago when most of the action started on the last day of the season. Fortunately we have out of season permit and would take a couple more stags in Winter if needed.

Broken camcorder

Just when I got out of the car and got all my gear ready I took my camcorder out of the backpack, and it would not power up… 🙁 When it eventually did the LCD was not showing anything but blurred gray screen. I would need a new camera.. Fortunately I had my DSLR with me that has also video function, but I left a long lens at home and only had standard 17-55mm lens… better this than nothing… I put the DSLR on a tripod and went on.

Good stag bad place

I got to the forestry early and after a longer break I wanted to have a long walk just to see what was happening when I was not there. I saw a few signs of red deer and soon enough bumped on a young stag. It was a small 6-pointer and was already watching me. He could not quite figure out what I was, and I struggled to get the camera on the tripod ready and not to spook him. When I finally managed to get the camera on him he went between the trees and that was it. I waited for a while, but he never came back.

Fortunately there were more deer further on. I could see a hind with a calf, and after a while a stag appeared. It was a nice, I think 9-pointer. The problem was how to get closer. I was in full view of the deer. I could go back and get to them using another ride, but it would have taken long time so I risked a stalk under the canopy along the edge of the trees.

There were many low branches and fallen trees, but I made to within 100-150m. When I got out of the trees to have a look the hind was at the top of the clearing watching. When she put her head down I crept on a bit till she was behind the trees and I could watch the stag. He was a nice big stag and when the wind blew my direction I could even smell him… 🙄 He definitely started rutting and had a black belly, although he was rather calm only watching the hind and surrounding area, also was feeding a bit. It would have been difficult to get him out of this place to the track and a friend with a quad bike was not around to help me, so I decided against the idea of taking the stag. However, there was still the hind and calf.

The calf was also nice size for this time of year and I could possibly drag him off on my own. I stalked a bit further on to have a good safe shot on a calf and put the rifle on the sticks. The hind was feeding happily with her head away from me and the calf was not far behind, but quartering away from me. I wanted him (it was a young male) for the freezer and waited for him to turn broadside so the bullet could pass through the ribs without a damage to both shoulders. After couple of minutes he finally did turn and I squeezed the trigger. The trio ran towards the trees, but the calf paused after a few steps, turned around and dropped.

The shot was good and after a quick gralloch I was on my way to the car. It took me longer than I thought. After an hour I was really knackered… 🙄 When I got home I had a look on the map and it was 0.8 mile (1.3 km) from where the calf dropped to the car. Even though it was not a big deer I was sore for the whole week… I need to improve my fitness somehow…

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