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Grandalf

My Magic Spot

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Just wondered how many of you have a magic spot on your shooting ground.   The one that rarely lets you down.

I am very lucky in that I don't pay anything for my stalking.   I am very old and farmer friends, who I have known for a great many years, are happy to let me control their deer numbers as long as I keep the foxes and other vermin under control as well.   I potter about whenever I want and try to keep the deer numbers sensible for the ground in question.  None of us would like to see them eradicated  although they do a fair amount of damage.   Venison turns up on the farmers tables at regular intervals and everyone is happy.   As said, I am a lucky man.

We have muntjac, roe and increasingly CWD in fairly good numbers.   Suffolk is a good place to live if you are either a deer or a stalker.  

On my main farm I have one spot that I just love to visit for reasons that I will explain.   I have high seats placed about the estate but my 1986 Landrover 90 is in its original military camouflage paint and is converted out to be a mobile high seat.   The 'Magic Spot' is a Landy job.

There is a gravel track that connects the road with a remote house tucked away in the woods.   The residents have two ways in and out but usually use the other drive that goes through a shallow ford.  As a result 'my' track is not used very often except by the farmer and the cattle man.   The fields on one side are cattle grazing along a narrow steep valley with a tree lined beck flowing through it.   This cattle grazing means that I can only use this spot during the winter months or if the cattle have been moved to another field.

The track goes straight for a few hundred yards then turns up through another pasture before going into the grounds of the house.   My 'Magic Spot' is just where the track bends into this pasture.   From there I can see right back down the valley to the lane and a few hundred yards along the beck in the other direction and also up the field towards the house - obviously no shooting in this direction - but I can also see up the slope behind me which is a small wood and arable land - Oilseed rape this year.   There is a good backstop in every direction except towards the house.   All I have to do is park the truck on the edge of the track, put up the windscreen curtain, climb over the seats to the rear of the vehicle and stand up with my head out of the fitted hatch.   My rifle lays in the horizontal rack and I have a shooting rail through 360 degrees.   Coffee and sandwiches, if I have remembered to pack them, are readily to hand.   If I have a guest then we can whisper to each other over the built in intercom and headsets.   The dog has a comfy bed and everyone is happy.   If it is to be a long session then I fit the false decking and sit on my swivel seat.   A deer hunting Hilton on four wheels!  (I carry a large green anglers umbrella for inclement weather).

Over the years that I have enjoyed this shooting spot I have had some memorable experiences.   My first two sessions there, however, were blanks.   I saw deer but either too far off, out of season or they were on the grazing in front of the house.   On the third trip a munty buck appeared from the wood behind me but heard the safety catch, my hands were frozen and I was ham fisted with it, and he was away back into the wood like a streak of greased lightning.   For this I don't blame him.

On the next trip I thought that cattle were on the field but, as I was driving up the track to go to another spot for foot stalking, I happily discovered that the farmer had moved them.

Brakes were applied, curtains were erected and I climbed up to greet the coming dawn.

I was only there for about ten minutes when I noticed two munties wandering along the beck towards me.   Safe shot with a good backstop but still about four hundred yards away.

A long wait while they browsed unconcernedly towards me.   During this time I ascertained that they were a buck and a pregnant doe.   At last they got to about one hundred and fifty yards and I took my shot at the doe.   She went down on the spot and the buck lingered too long before making his retreat so joined her on the grass.   Two munties and it was still not fully light.

I waited the ten minutes couching time and was just going to leave the truck when another buck came out of the bushes close to the first two.   He quickly joined the others and I waited another ten minutes.

This was enough.   Three munties to deal with was more than enough and the farmer was very happy when I reported the mornings results.  

Some months later I got three roe does in the same spot but they were up the slope behind me.   Spread over about thirty minutes they all came to the same spot to enter the small wood and I dropped the three of them within about twenty yards of each other.   Farmer was happy again and so was I.

The next trip got me one munty buck only.

Then on my last session I netted me two munties, one of each sex, along the edge of the beck again.   This time it was close to getting dark but I had a cunning plan.   Which totally failed...

My plot was to undo the cattle gate and drive the truck along the pasture meadow to the deer and gralloch them in the light of my two rear spotlights.   The only problem was that I couldn't open the gate.   The farmer had chained it up with a ruddy great chain and nuts and bolts and I couldn't undo it without spanners that would fit the nuts.   Mine wouldn't!

So, only possible action was to climb over the gate and go and find them and fetch them back to the gate.   That was when I stepped into the cow pats - with both feet in my very newly cleaned leather boots.   Nice squelching noise it made - Both times.

I went and got the deer and got them over the gate - Did I mention that I am 81 years old - this was not without some considerable effort.   Thinking that I would deal with them up at the small wood I laid them on the bonnet and climbed into the truck to turn it round.   I went forward and then I went back.   Then I heard a ruddy great bang and all stopped.   I had backed into the gate post!   It was now completely dark...  

I had hit the post with the spare wheel that is fitted to the rear door so no damage to post or truck.   Or so I thought...   

I turned around, with the lights on this time, and drove up to the wood.   I couldn't open the back door!   It just wouldn't budge so I climbed back into my seat and climbed over into the rear compartment so I could push the door open with my feet.   It still would not budge.  

So, I climbed out again, taking my rabbiting spade with me, and attacked it from the outside.   Then my headtorch went out.   (I had meant to change the battery....)   I still had the rear spotlights on.   But the back door was still firmly closed.  

I eventually discovered that the ironwork supporting the wheel had gone 'over centre' at the join and this was what was holding the door closed.   A mighty heave with the steel handled rabbiting tool and I was back in business.

Twenty minutes of work in the near darkness with my knife - during which I put both my hands and one knee into the stinging nettles and I was ready for the journey home.   This is only about ten minutes.

By the time that I arrived I had totally forgotten that I had suffered a slight accident with two cow pats during the deer recovery phase and managed to walk it all over the hall and kitchen carpets....

But I still love the 'Magic Spot' on my favourite permission.    (And venison).

Do you have one on your shooting area?  

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Posted (edited)

Great read Grandalf....you really do give the wagon some grief 😃

Edited by mad1

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What a fantastic write up Grandalf. It does truly sound like a special place.

I think that many on here would have somewhere "magic" that has been special in our hunting/shooting lives. I used to have a couple of places that  I frequented when I was a youngen that would almost always produce a  rabbit or two. One was an huge old ramshackle barn surrounded by sandy well drained ground. I spent many a happy hour skulking round and round that barn with my bsa mercury, I rarely came away without a rabbit. I thought that old barn would be there forever, sadly it is gone now and replaced by a huge house which is all walled in. Rarely when time allows I get down that way and  have seen the odd rabbit there, but never like it was.

 

atb

7diaw

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That was a great read Grandalf. Many thanks for sharing your 'Magic Spot' with us.

More of the same please.

OB

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Very good Grandalf and thank you for taking the time to post it.

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16 hours ago, mad1 said:

Great read Grandalf....you really do give the wagon some grief 😃

This is grief.   Some years ago.   A small navigational problem whilst negotiating a gateway in the dark whilst foxing. 

LandRover Ditching - Foxing 004.jpg

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Thoroughly enjoyed reading that 👍 

Absolutely love this county. 

One of my perms has a small pond in the corner with arable one side and a grassy meadow the other. It's always been rabbit central and I have had some good results there, not big numbers, just great summer evening memories. 

Looking forward to getting back to it.

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On 16/05/2020 at 22:53, mad1 said:

Great read Grandalf....you really do give the wagon some grief 😃

Just found this.   Stalking is a dangerous pastime on occasions.   Good high seat though when it's on the straight and level...

LandRover Ditching - Foxing 007_LI.jpg

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