Thursday, 26 November 2009

Missing a beat

If you're wondering where I've been, I've been laid up for the last week and a half with a chest infection. Not good.

So I have little to report. Even less because the weather has been sodden awful and my colleagues have really struggled to get on with their hind cull in the interim. It may have been exceptionally wet, but it's also been very mild and that has meant that the deer have been more on the outerim.

As for me, it has come as some consolation that I wasn't missing an Indian Summer as I nursed my Cabin Fever. Unfortunately, it looks like Providence has saved some crappy weather for my return. There seems no end to it.

Yesterday saw my first full day back at work. I was lucky to be joined by my very good friend, Gordon. The weather was as bad that we were resigned to doing odd jobs and we were actually topping up pheasant feeds (the keepers and farmers here have a little rough shoot at Christmas) when I spotted a Roe doe on a sheltered face. I fired Gordon off to stalk it while I sat in the land-rover and had my tea and sandwiches and got gently rocked to sleep by the rain-laden gales.

To his credit, Gordon took a lot of time and care and got the animal despite the poor conditions and poorer visibility. Of course, things WOULD cheer up a bit once he'd dragged the roe- and his sorry arse- back to the vehicle.

But this was just a ruse. In the clearer spell we spotted a hind and calf on another, more distant, face and we couldn't resist the temptation. Halfway through our hour-long trek to get to them the skies opened again. When we eventually got to our vantage point, our binoculars were unusable in the driving rain. It was just a case of setting the rifles up, trying to guage the right moment with our naked eye, flipping the scope caps and shooting.

We got the pair of them and, as is often the case when you find them off on their own like this, the hind proved to be ancient. When I inspected her teeth back at the larder, they were worn nigh on down to the gums. A good one to get.

So we returned home to a hot meal, a hot drink and a roaring fire. As Gordon put it, you cant say that being out on a day like this is enjoyable. Rather, there is a grim satisfaction to be had in prevailing against adversity. And, like banging your head on a wall, it's great when it stops.....

If Gordon forwards the pictures he took, I'll share them with you. Watch this space.

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