Mate that’s just stunning isn’t it, said Richey as we both stared up into a crystal-clear sky full of stars and a crescent moon.
6:30 am by the barn and the air is so crisp you could cut bread with it. I preferred by Rav4 to Richey’s Discovery as I reckoned on -2 and his said -3. But it’s a land rover so his was probably broken 😊 Rich stalked off to his seat and I loaded the quad to drive to my one at the farthest point on the 130-acre site. The quad is super quiet but sadly the beech leaves crunching under the tyres were not. Still in the seat before it got shootable and braced against the cold.
Today I was trying out my new (SH) Harkula boots which fit fantastically over my Exotherm Arctic thinsulate booties. I had on my normal light weight stalking trousers over Merino wool leggings but over the top of both I had my new German Army fur lined over trousers (£15.00) which I got after seeing them recommended on SD. A little on the snug side fit wise for an XL but the full-length side zips make getting them on and off over my boots a doddle and the 28” inside leg was perfect with the boots. Top side I have HH base layer. Cotton shirt, army thermal top, army fleece and Seeland Keeper jacket. Hands were in my new Seal Skin gloves.
The light came up and glinted off the remaining patches of snow on the ground. My cheap Ray Marine (Flur) thermal was giving stunning contrast and I even picked up robins on the ground at 30m but not a deer in sight. It was noisy as hell as there were probably a dozen+ squirrels running around in the beech leaves and I had a brief moment of excitement when a fox emerged from it’s den 20m away and I thought it was a munti for a split second. He sat on the edge for a moment and obviously thought bugger this for brass monkeys, and went back inside.
9.00am rolled around and my toes were in pain. Looks like ill be going back to the Muck Boots for properly cold days. I can get more thermals in them. The Seal skins are doing OK but again I think my Seeland Keeper gloves are marginally warmer (if a lot less dexterous) The star of the day was undoubtedly my £15.00 fur lined over trousers which are at least as good as my £200 out fox lined over trousers. Top half all good but the toes becoming a big problem.
9:15 I get the radio call from Richie, he’s had enough and heading back to the car. Not a bad plan but I needed some blood flow to my toes, so I decided on a little stalk. Well that was a laugh as walking on frozen and snow-covered beech leave was like walking on Rice Crispies but at least my toes were soon back out of the frost bite zone.
Quad packed and I decided to take the long way back to the car park. Id literally gone 20m when a doe legged it trough the wood to my left ☹ Ho Hum. On to the end ride and down the hill I can see two dark shapes in the wood ahead. A quick look with the thermal shows its three deer. Ones looking at me but the other two are head down. I slipped the rifle off my back and clicked off the safety. No chance of getting off the quad as they were sure to bolt so I rested the rifle on the wing mirror and took aim. The mirror provided a surprisingly steady support and the smaller of the three came head up and presented a perfect side on head shot I just couldn’t resist.
I stalked down and found her on the ground where she had stood. My beloved 70g BT 243s were out of action whilst my scope is fixed, so I was using the 308 with a home load 110g Nozzle BT id developed for head shots. Till now id only tested it on fox but I was pleased with the proper test results as most of the head was missing. I won’t be swapping to the 308 out of choice but its nice to know I have a back up if the 243 is down.
Its now 10am and I have a new permission to see at 11 so I did the quickest ever gralloch and headed back to the car. Fortunately, the appointment was only 5 miles away and I made it on time, but it was a tad close. So, by 12.00 I have a new permission form signed and in my pocket and a doe in the deer tray. Not a bad day at all despite freezing my bits off.
Id all but given up on even seeing a deer today but it just goes to show, it’s not over till the fat lady sings