Most of mine takes place in Suffolk.Wow. What an eye opener this thread was. Outstanding. Best of wishes and keep it going. I was "seeing" someone for a brief time in East Hampshire. When it ended one thing I consoled myself with was "It'd been near on impossible to hunt there." Oops. Guess I was wrong on that one. In what part of England does your hunting take place, if you don't mind me asking?
Beautiful buck! Like you I obsessed over a particular whitetail buck for two years before I was able to close the deal. Afterwards I was elated but also sad and experiencing a huge feeling of not having a hunting purpose. But I look at his antlers every night and smile!20th July 2020.
The Roe rut was in full swing in the area of Hampshire I shoot in. A friend had given me permission to go on his ground and see what was about so that evening I made the short drive around the lanes to his patch.
I parked up, got my rifle, sticks and dog and walked a couple of hundred metres to a place I could wait and watch and call the deer and see what appeared. I set the sticks up and began calling.
After ten minutes a deer came into view across the field. It had come out of a wood opposite me.
I called and it came running across the field. A young doe.
I kept calling and with nothing else to be seen I amused myself with trying to get her in as close as possible.
Here is a short video I took of her.
As I watched her, something caught my eye on the other side of the hedge. I caught a flash of chestnut red through the foliage and swung my binoculars up. I could see a deer had approached me from behind and was stood 20 metres away from me behind the hedge.
I could see it was a buck but had no idea if it was a good buck or just a youngster.
He could see me better than I could see him and after a few seconds he barked at me and ran off across his field voicing his disgust at me.
I dashed across to the hedge and looked at him as he ran and all I could see was a big crown of spikes on his head. He was a cracking buck.
He stopped and paused across the field, looking back he taunted me and disappeared.
I followed, trying to anticipate where he might have gone but he really had gone.
Over the next two weeks I became obsessed with this buck. It was 100 miles away from home and I was only out there if I was working and staying in the area.
I went out looking for him five, maybe six times. I always saw him. It became a battle of wills, I was trying to outwit him and he was making it as difficult as possible for me.
I worked out his territory and where he was most likely to be. It was difficult. He always appeared from a row of beech trees and bramble that was right against a road, another road ran along the other side. He was crafty, he knew where he was safe and that he could become invisible very quickly in the undergrowth.
In the photo below you can see his area circled. The cross shows the only place I have access to the land meaning I had to park right by where the buck was likely to be.
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He came to the call several times but always appeared from where I least expected him and where I had no safe shot. Sometimes he ignored the call completely and would just lay there chewing the cud beneath the hedges that bordered the road or would be feeding with his doe.
I would circle out wide and approach from the area in the bottom of the photo but he didn't cooperate with me.
One evening I arrived and he was nowhere to be seen. I called and called but there was no sign of him. I watched and waited and then gave up as it was getting dark.
I walked back to my truck across the field below the X and in the thin strip of land between the two big fields he materialised, moving swiftly. I squeaked him with the caller and he stopped, I got my rifle on the sticks and he moved again.
There was a break in the hedge and he stopped and looked at me and there was my chance.
I shot and missed. I was in disbelief. A clean miss from less than fifty metres. Gutted. That was my chance and I blew it.
It was another week before I was in the area again and by now the rut had come and gone. I guessed the buck would be quiet now, resting and feeding and my chance gone.
10th August 2020.
I had been at work all day. It was an unbelievably hot, humid and sticky day. I wasn't due to finish my shift until 19:30. I could be out in the fields for one last look by 20:30 giving me about an hour of light.
I managed to escape by 19:15 and driving to my folks was a diversion en route meaning an extra twenty minutes to my journey. Time was going on and I was stuck in traffic.
Eventually I got out of my uniform, grabbed my rifle and dog and made it to the gateway. I had no hope of any success but at least I had tried.
The sun was falling from the sky as I parked and set out on a pre planned route around the fields. I saw a couple of small bucks before I came to the place I had wanted to get to.
I was across the field from where the buck was likely to be and saw him laying alongside the beeches.
He was laying down near his doe, flicking his head occasionally to rid himself of the flies that were bothering him. There was no chance he would be moving any time soon.
Despite him ignoring the caller on the previous couple of times I gave it one last try. I squeaked and he got up and came running across the field.
Taken by surprise I hastily got my rifle on the sticks and flicked off the safety. He was coming fast.
There was only one place I had a safe shot and he was heading right for it, too fast.
I had to bark at him to get him to stop and I had a front quartering shot. The rifle went off and I heard the hit from sixty metres before watching the buck leap and run along the hedge to my left and crash through some brambles, then silence.
I unloaded the rifle and sent the dog away and she found the buck entangled in some brambles, completely dead.
It was weird, I was so happy to have finally gotten him after so many sleepless nights and hours spent thinking about him, seeing him and dreaming of him but also a twinge of sadness that he would not be there any more. He would not occupy my thoughts but now be a memory and a buck and a character I will always remember.
His head is in my kitchen, it weighs 523gr which puts him in bronze medal range. Maybe one day I'll get him measured........
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Beautiful buck! Like you I obsessed over a particular whitetail buck for two years before I was able to close the deal. Afterwards I was elated but also sad and experiencing a huge feeling of not having a hunting purpose. But I look at his antlers every night and smile
You'll get him eventually if you put in your time and it sounds like you do. It helps when you can shoot multiple deer in a season. Here we only get one buck tag per year, so if you want a particular buck you have to stay off the trigger until he shows himself. Hard to do!I still have that buck (Roe buck) out there. Eluded me and almost presented Brickburn with a shot. One day...