I’m very fortunate to have access to some of the best Muntjac and Fallow grounds in Northamptonshire and one thing that I take great pleasure in, is sitting with clients helping them to get onto their first Deer or being on-hand to offer help and encouragement. I get as much enjoyment from this as actually stalking – when you see the look on the face of a client it’s so worthwhile, stressful at times, but very rewarding too!
We offer a full day to clients, starting off at a preassigned spot before we meet our clients; a quick meet and greet before going over the ‘do’s and dont’s’ safety briefing and plan of the days events etc. We then jump into the truck and head off on the short drive to the estate, all shooting is from seats and covered towers as the place is a working estate safety is of paramount importance and if we have shooters that are lacking experience or don’t have their own rifle, we sit with them.
One such client who is a regular visitor is Richard “Cookie” Cook, an absolutely lovely guy, keen as mustard and a competent shot. He has passed DSC1 and has shot with us many times but has been awaiting his FAC for an age despite doing more than necessary to show his Licensing Authority he is more than capable. Our outdated licensing system really needs to join the 21st century as people such as Richard and the sport in general are being held back unnecessarily.
I recently had the pleasure of guiding Cookie a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t able to make the morning session, but joined the group for the second half of the day sitting in a tower on a crossroads giving us three arcs of fire. Richard was cheerful as ever but I felt he was a little disheartened as he hadn’t seen so much as a sniff of a deer, extremely uncharacteristic for the estate. Cookie has been very fortunate that up to now he had never had a blank session with us so has been living a charmed life as it were. I said “You’re spoilt and unfortunately it doesn’t always go to plan mate!”, however I told him we were in a very productive spot and that as the afternoon light dwindled into dusk I’d get him on a deer or two – talk about sticking my neck out! With the amount of chatting that usually comes as standard with Cookie I’m surprised he ever shoots anything, but his enthusiasm is so infectious you feel obligated to get him a result.
After around an hour of glassing I decided to get out the Buttolo call and try to make something happen, but just before I started calling, a lovely Muntjac buck emerged from our right at 88m. It was a formality however this wasn’t a cull buck, in fact he was a large representative and wasn’t on the shootable list, as we allow these to come on for clients wanting medal class heads. I could see Richard was aching to pull the trigger and I felt his pain at that moment, however, undeterred I gave a couple of squeaks on the Buttolo and a cull buck came charging through the tree line directly behind us! Richard was on my R93 and took the buck dropping him on the spot “Your scopes all blurred!” says Cookie, “Well it was on x12 mag and the buck was at 20 yards so nothing to do with Leica mate!” I laughed in reply!
We climb down to take a quick glimpse at our buck and grab a couple of photos before getting straight back into position. Richard tells me he felt a bit awkward about taking such an easy shot but I assure him you have to take your chances as they come. “I hope I get a more challenging opportunity before the end of the day” he says.
40 minutes later Cookie says “Look – a Fallow!” I’m on it with my Leica HD-R rangefinders and confirm it’s a pricket and this one is at 160m – looks like Cookie got his wish – this isn’t an easy shot! The pricket is facing us looking up at some low hanging oak leaves just out of his reach and Richard is on target cool as a cucumber and I ask him “Are you confident of the shot?”, I couldn’t risk a lengthy follow up with the light fading fast. I suggest a frontal chest shot but Cookie says he’s rock steady on the deers neck and just as our buck was about to get up onto his hind legs to get at the leaves, Richard let the shot fly. The Fallow falls backwards dead before he hits the ground – an absolute peach of a shot that anyone would be happy with – I don’t know who was happier me or Richard we we both buzzing!
I’m glad I was there to share in the moment, being able to pass on my experience and helping build memories is what it’s all about. We climb down from the tower to view our prize; what a lovely melanistic young buck he was, around 2-3 years old and quite a lump to drag back to the track edge to await extraction. Richard was over the moon and I was extremely pleased, the estate had once again delivered the goods for a truly nice guy who we will no doubt see again very soon – well done my friend!
To hunt with Pete at PJM Sporting 07399 534159
Join the Muntjac Hunters Group (MHG) via Facebook and check out Pete’s new book Reeves Muntjac “The Devil Deer” available via
Blaser R93 .243 Grade six
Leica Magnus 1.8-12x50i
Leica HD-R 8×42 2700 Rangefinder Binoculars