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Been a busy few weeks, Part 1
Some of you may remember I posted up a while ago about culling deer, rabbits, peacocks etc off a property that grazes horses. The lockdown has been interfering with plans somewhat but Bloodhound and I have managed a few hunts over the past few months. However, successes have been small. A typical day on the property involves calling at the owners house and doing a 'meet and greet' for an hour or so, and then taking his 2 kids for a drive over parts of the property with the .22's to cull rabbits, peacocks and other pests before dropping the kids off, 'tooling up' and heading out to chase deer. ( More about that later)
A couple of times we have headed to the property with only our deer rifles and ended up chasing rabbits and peacocks with our 7mm08's cos we didnt want to disappoint the kids. (The damage a 120gr Sierra PSP travelling at around 3000fps does to small pests is unbelievable btw)
A couple of weeks ago the owner told us that he had seen some big red deer on the property, so we planned a trip to cull them. After taking the kids for a 'hunt' at one end of the block, BH and I drove to the other end with deer in mind. After parking we started walking towards a likely area. Got about 100m away from the vehicle when I realised I had left the windows down so I handed BH my Tikka and returned to shut them. Nek minit I see BH running in a crouch back towards me sans my rifle and making signs to keep quiet. Seems he had walked another dozen steps, glanced to his left through a gap in the scrub and saw 4 red deer sunning themselves on the far side of a small bushy basin.( I should add that he had his Sako in 222 and I had my 7mm08) We stalked back to the gap where he had left my rifle in the grass and slowly moved forward to get set. Yep, 3 big hinds and a larger stag in velvet. After a quick consultation, it was agreed that I would take the first shot and drop the stag with Bh backing me up. I managed to find what I thought was a solid rest on a sloping branch and, as the range was only 60-70m I decided to take a neck shot. The stag was facing towards me with his head up.
At the shot, the stag just looked at me for about 3 seconds with a quizzical expression on his face then bolted.........The other 3 hinds were a bit slower but they also ran for cover.As the last one was about to disappear behind a large bush into the scrub I swung through it and squeezed the trigger. We both heard the 'whomp' of a solid hit. just before it went out of sight. Bh said it sounded like a gut shot but I wasnt so sure as I had held high. About 30 seconds later there was a a thrashing of the bushes as the red hind fell down through the bush and rolled down the hill.
We made our way over to her and saw that the impact was high just in front of the hip. She was running at a 45deg angle from left to right away from me at the shot btw.
When we field dressed her we found the 120gr psp had passed through on an angle towards the off side shoulder, the bullet had broken into 2 parts with the main part passing through her lungs and lodging against the ribs just behind her off side shoulder. The smaller part of the projectile had veered forward and split her heart.
Unfortunately I didnt have my camera and couldnt take pics.
When we got her back to BH's place we had a closer look before hanging her in the chiller and recovered the projectile from her ribs.
Weighed it when I got home and it weighed 67.8gr
We left the hind in the freezer for 14 days to age and cut it up for steaks on saturday. Meat damage from the shot was confined to about 4" of bruising to one side of the back steaks and some blood damage to one of the muscles of its rear right leg which was not in the meat but in the membrane separating the muscles and scraped off easily.
While packing it into my freezer sat night I decided to keep a small packet of leg steaks out for dinner sunday night. Woke up sunday and realized that bacon, egss and hash browns were off the menu cos I had run out of eggs so I figured venison steaks and hash browns would suffice. Threw the steaks into a hot pan for about 90 seconds a side ( couldnt be bothered with the hash browns) and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of some of the tenderest venison I have ever had. Talk about melt in your mouth!
As for the first shot miss on the stag, BH told me that, even though he was off to my left looking through his scope when I fired, he saw something white fly off a branch about 15-20m in front of me. Without realizing it, when I first took aim through a narrow gap in the scrub I had a small 'window' between the 'v' of a dead tree in front of me about 15m in front and when the stag took a step towards me I lowered my aim accordingly. As I had the scope on 6 power the branch wasnt visible in my field of view.
Ok, so fast forward 7 days after the above hunt and we were back looking for the reds. Once again we took the kids for a hunt and as we crested a small rise we saw 3 reds heading away from us at a slow trot about 80m away. The young fella immediately yelled out "Deer" at the top of his voice which could have been heard miles away. The deer obviously heard and engaged warp drive and afterburners and headed for the next county leaving vapour trails in their wake....... Busted!
Continued around the property and as we passed the basin where I had shot the red I looked into the bottom of it and saw 2 Fallow deer having a nap. Having learnt my lesson about kids and excitement I didnt say anything until we were about 50m past them and then told the kids to be silent and stay put. Said to BH that there were 2 deer in the bottom of the basin so we sneaked back to a vantage point, peered over the ridge and I pointed them out to BH. Told him I would back him up. The shot was a steep downhill one and BH squeezed off. There was an explosion of dirt about 1" above the head of the deer he aimed at and both leapt to their feet and hurtled across the basin before climbing the hill on the other side. They then stopped before they got to the top of the slope and BH squeezed off another shot....another miss. I have never seen BH miss 2 shots in a row and I regard him as one of the finest shots with a rifle I have ever known. He admitted that he hadnt allowed for the first shot being steep downhill and the second being steep uphill.
So, while we were butchering the red on saturday we discussed the last few outings and both came to the conclusion that the distractions of doing the 'meet and greet' and then taking the kids for a hunt before getting down to business was causing us to lose concentration and consequently we were not completely focused on serious hunting................ And then we got a text from the landowner saying that the reds were back brazenly feeding in the horse arena up the back of the property as if they owned the place !
So we hatched a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!!!!
Part 2 to follow...........along with pics.
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....