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Bow Stalking Fallow

Bow Stalking Fallow

I had my first chance at an absolute bruiser of a fallow buck yesterday morning! He was long, wide, and had palmations like kayak paddles. On one side I counted 12 points and the other side looked even busier (maybe 14 or 15 points!!). My guestimate on douglas score would exceed 200 DS. He was you're classic white meinel trophy.

I was in the bush by change of light and the weather was howling from the South West. The bush was wet and quiet, and the bird life was pretty ordinary. The weather system was predicted to pass over later that morning, so with a bit of luck, my timing was going to be perfect.

I cut along a fire break checking for fresh marks of animals crossing from a low spur system to a bushy swamp. The tucker was pretty good along the edge of the fire break, so I thought I'd stay on the edge of it for a few kilometers before cutting into the swamp. Sign was fairly sparse, but due to the recent rain, any marks were as fresh as fresh.

By 9 am the wind started to ease and another wave of rain came bucketing down. I slipped on the new Stoney Creek jacket and tucked up in the scrub waiting for a couple of minutes for it to ease up before pressing on. As the rain stopped, the sun pierced through the dark clouds and I took the jacket off. Just as I'd finished burying it away in my bag, I caught movement up ahead of a fallow doe cutting across the fire break. I dug the binoculars out from my chest just in time to watch the monster buck stealthfully sneak along the fire break towards me, before cutting across and melting into the same side of the fire break.

I was about 80 m down wind from the pair, and watched them for about 10 minutes hoping they'd feed towards me. I even text my hunting buddy and told him that I was watching a fallow of a life time. If only I had my rifle!!! In hindsight I should have dug my camera out of the bag and taken some photos of him - just to proove his quality - but because it had been raining, I'd wrapped the camera up in a couple of plastic bags, and I didn't want to risk spooking them.

I made my approach through the swampy rushes. The going underfoot was nice and quiet - thanks to the rain! Several weeks previously the going was like tinder dry cornflakes and almost impossible to stalk through. I managed to close the distance to 43 m before getting set up against the trunk of a burnt tree. I had made sure that my face, neck and hands were well covered with black charcoal stripes. I've only just started getting into this, but already I've noticed how much more concealed you are to animals when breaking up your outline.

I waited motionless for several minutes watching the stag and doe feed together through the timber. The wind was a bit swirly and all I could think was please don't spook, please don't spook... I had stationed myself over prominant game trail on which the deer were feeding along. If all went to plan, the animals would walk within 30 m of me. Another minute or so passed before the stag, as if something spooked him, literally bolted towards me and then paused, looking back to see what it was. The wind may have created some windfall but I was so focused on the stag that I don't recall why it spooked.

As he turned back, he motioned into the broadside position and I drew the arrow back. He was 22 m away from where I was kneeling and slightly behind a nestle of brushes. I didn't want to waste any more time (lesson number one) and let the arrow go. The arrow flew straight but it clipped some of the brush and deflected over the bucks shoulder line. He spooked about 10 m before stopping to look back at what happened. I hurriedly knocked another arrow but the buck honed in on my movements and worked me out (lesson number two). Before I could draw a bead on him, he took flight and was gone in a flash. I was absolutely gut wrenched - and started cursing the fact that I should have been more patient.

I left the buck be for about half an hour before following up on his marks, but he was well and truley spooked. I decided it would be best if I let him be and came back another week when things had settled down.

After jumping on the radio to my Aussie mate, the plan was to meet up at a nearby waterhole that seems popular with the local wildlife. A quick reassessment of options and a few minutes later we were back on track to finding more fallow. The going was a bit more open, with gentle sloping gullies that fed into a prominant creek system.

After several hours we spotted four pigs on the opposite face digging up the hillside and soon after spotted another fallow buck, high on the hill side soaking up the afternoon sun. This particular buck was much smaller in comparison to the morning's brute that I'd missed, but still would have made a nice first bow kill! The plan was to circle around behind him and close the gap for a bow shot. As it turned out though, the buck was well stationed in an open area with little cover to make an approach, and so it was decided to take the shot with the 222 instead.

One fine shot later and we had a fallow buck on the deck, and a whole carcass to carry back to the vehicle.

I'm already planning my next move on the monster buck - I'm just waiting for another shitty front to whip through so it swings things back in my favour.


Votes: 129


sikaddictionMonday 3rd August 2009 - 03.49am
shot jamie, couple of great stags by bow.
Mountain ManFriday 14th August 2009 - 05.15pm
Heya Sika,

Unfortunately I didn't get one with the bow that day - my mate Mike shot that stag with his 222 after I spotted it and called him up on the 2way. All I did was cart the whole thing out..
Laurent MasseauWednesday 5th August 2009 - 10.27pm
Congratulations Jamie !!!
What a buck !
I hunted fallow deers in NZ (never in Oz)but I never saw such a big one !!!
Now you seem hooked by bow and arrows ;
Laurent ,New Caledonia.
BenThursday 13th August 2009 - 10.30am
Well done Jamie. Great looking Fallow.
Great write up too. We hunt Fallow here in Australia too, and that one would be one to be proud of.
Thanks for sharing mate.

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