A warm hunting day in March

My alarm went off at 3:30 AM, a quick shower to wake up a bit before I packed my stuff into the car and I was off to Belgium. After a 2 hour drive I arrived at the meeting point. Within minutes Gert-Jan arrived and he even brought some coffee! We drove to the hunting area took our Browning Maral in .308, backpack, camera, seat, kite-binoculars and jackets and walked to our high seat for this morning. We installed ourselves on the high seat and soon the sun was rising. We saw some pheasants and 2 hares were walking past our high seat over and over when Gert-Jan spotted 7 roe deer about 250 metres away. For some reason they went around our high seat on the same distance. There was a doe with 2 buck calves, a doe with a doe calf and 2 mature bucks of which one had an incredible pair of velvet antlers on its head! An exciting view to wake up too. Too bad they disappeared in the cover to not be seen again. When it started raining we packed our stuff and decided to go back to the car.

We went to a different place a few hundred meters further up the road and decided to go for a little stalk. After we circled the little forest to get a favourable wind we soon bumped into a buck and a doe. They than were followed by another buck, 2 does and a doe calf. The doe calf was on our list and we made a plan to get in on those 6 roe deer. However they did not agree with this plan and were off before we got within shooting range.

Time was quickly passing by and around 11:30 we decided to get a sandwich at the local bakery and drive to the other hunting area. We decided to grab only the camera, gun, binoculars and shooting sticks and go for a little stalk. In the first little bush a roe doe with 2 very strong buck calves appeared and we decided to let them go since we knew a doe with 2 doe calves should be in this area too. We did not find those so we decided to search for them in the fruit orchards. We did not find them in there either so they could only be in a small poplar forest along a busy road. Since we did not want to shoot near the road and risk the chance of them crossing the road we made a different plan.

I prepared myself next to one of the orchards overseeing an mowed mustard field. Gert-Jan would walk around the poplar forest to see if the roe deer were in there. As soon as he carefully walked into the forest the doe and her calves appeared. They were in a hurry and crossed the field in front of me at quite a speed. When I moved my shooting sticks in the right direction they spotted me and took of in another direction. Too bad and I thought my chance was over. Gert-Jan called me and asked me what happened, I explained and he decided to go and have a look where they went. Before he had the chance to do this the roe deer appeared again, this time it was over 120 meters and I could not make a safe shot. They walked back into the poplar forest they were first found in , which gave me the chance to change to a position where they would not see me. In the little forest they bumped into Gert-Jan again.

This caused them to walk over the mustard field once again, but now they were quite relaxed and took their time. I prepared myself for the shot when they passed by at 80 meters. A quick look through the kite scope (2,5-15×56) told me the calves were up front and the doe on the back. I decided to go for the second calf and slowly moved my sights up its shoulder when they started walking. They walked another 10 meters before stopping again. This time I was fully prepared and as soon as they stopped the shot fired. The Browning BXR bullet of 155 grains did a perfect job and the calf has probably never heard the shot.

After waiting for 5 minutes Gert-Jan and I went over, a perfect shot and a good animal for the management plan. We honoured the piece of game by giving it the last bite and going over the exciting way this hunt took place once again. After dragging it to the road we took some pictures and after an extended hunt we took our time to eat our sandwich, exchanging our sights on the hunt that we just had.

In the afternoon we tried a few other stalks but they weren’t successful. At the end we were tired but happy after such a long, tiring but successful hunting day. Another memory for life was made!