Monday 20 September 2021

The thrill of the chase

 On Wednesday it was first light at about 6.00 am when we parked the truck, set off into the woods and the wind looking for roe deer. My guide Tony had been out scouting the area the previous evening when he had seen red and roe deer, he was confident and optimistic.  We followed a well used deer track along a forest ride south east, the path was well used, there were tracks and scat; it looked as if we would have a successful morning.

A buck round the next corner
As the sun climbed over the hills I was becoming uncomfortably warm, you don't dress for warm early mornings in Scotland in September, we pressed on slowly, stopping often to scan the landscape with binoculars expecting a buck over every ridge and round every corner. Four hours later we hadn't seen a single deer.We headed back to the truck, stripped off our weatherproof clothing and tried again in another forest compartment, still nothing!

We had hunted past mature blocks of conifers where roe go for shelter and safety, around plantations of saplings where they feed and the occasional flush area of bright green grass and herbs. Why didn't we see anything at all? despite the obvious presence of
many deer. I'm sure the deer knew we were there and they were just keeping their heads down because that gentle southerly breeze was swirling about in all directions where ever we went, they could smell us despite our largely upwind hunt, cautious foot work and constant scanning of the landscape. It's September and the bucks are probably exhausted after the rut, feeding at night and having a secure "lie in" in the tall timber in the morning.

We gave up, but I was elated; a combination of the constant anticipation of a buck round the next corner and an early morning walk at sunrise in good company when you might reasonably expect disappointment at the lack of action and something for the freezer.  It's the," thrill of the chase " the excitement you feel when trying really hard to do something difficult and against the odds.