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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

From the High Seat; making smart choices.

After working late in to the night making repairs to our little forest range, there seemed little point in driving home for 3 hours sleep, just to turn around and come back in the morning, so I lit a lovely blazing fire and had a brew before sliding in to my sleeping bag at Midnight. The air was already below zero but I had been working hard, was warmed by the fire and knew that I was exhausted enough to get a fantastic night’s sleep. 

I was right to some extent, I was really cosy in the sleeping bag and I went ‘out like a light’ and slept very soundly until about three in the morning! After the 3 hours’ sleep I could have had at home in bed, I awoke to find my extremities very cold indeed! There was nothing for it but to get up, stoke the fire and have another brew before trudging off into the darkness for an early session in the high seat.

The walk, the multiple layers, the car journey and exertions had warmed me for a while as I trudged in over noisy ice covered puddles and finally took my seat and loaded up ready for the long wait.
The inactivity soon had me thoroughly cooled down again and as the light gathered I could see frost forming on my barrel and moderator! There was no choice but to sit and shiver whilst I continued my vigil.

I heard the unmistakeable barking of a Muntjac about a 150 yards away then, a little later, I spotted a couple of Roe does in the distance but then on one of my innumerable scans with the binoculars, I caught a glimpse of something that hadn’t been there before. Your eyes and the light can play tricks sometimes but I was sure this was something real and as I focussed and scrutinised the spot, I realised it was a fox. I hadn’t come for a fox but as I watched its slow progress along the edge of the field, I knew exactly where he was heading, he was off to the breakfast bar which we call pheasant pens. We ‘share’ this piece of wood with a little syndicate who have a few pheasants and out of good neighbourliness, I couldn’t let Charlie go and wreak havoc in their pens, I remember all too well the night a fox took my last 4 chickens. So even though I knew that my deer vigil was over when I pulled the trigger on Charlie, it was a choice that had to be made.

I squirmed around in the seat to rest the rifle on a side rail and began to watch him through the scope, I was comfortable and the next time he stopped, it was going to be his last stop! He made a 90 degree left turn and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Still certain as to his destination, I started my ‘distressed rabbit’ squeak and thankfully he reappeared just as quickly but a few yards closer. I was watching more intently through the scope now and the safety was off, ready for the shot, he was at about 65 yards and all thoughts of deer had gone.

I will never know if a deer was going to show up, so I made a choice based on my neighbour’s pheasants and I’m content with that.

Choose wisely in the woods!

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