A Love Hate Relationship by Peter Meek
Love them or hate them, the Reeves Muntjac (munticus reevesi) is here to stay in the UK. They tend to split the opinions of hunters, down the middle as Muntjac are often blamed for pushing other species of deer (Roe) out of certain areas and degeneration of wild plants, fauna and flora. However, despite shoot on sight policies by some shooting estates and the forestry commission, their numbers are growing year on year. I personally think they are a challenging and fun species to stalk, popular the world over and bring in welcome revenue from clients all over the globe, keen to hunt this unique species. They are my favourite UK species so much so that I created the Facebook group MHG (Muntjac Hunters Group) for people who love this great little deer.
This evening you join me on a private estate in the wilds of Northamptonshire, UK; target species for tonight is a Muntjac, for the table. As we have a couple of people in tow (including a photographer and an observer), I’ve opted for a static approach, sitting in a tower situated on a cross road in the middle of the estate. This gives me views forward, left and right to give me a large arc of fire, should the need arise. This approach also gives me an opportunity to sit and record deer numbers of any species spotted in the area. We get into position for 18:00 and begin our vigil, giving the area time to settle down after travelling through the woods to get to the tower. We constantly glass the area for sign of movement as Muntjac can often be difficult to spot, particularly at range due to their diminutive stature and tendency to walk low to the ground, almost pig-like in behaviour. We are listening out for any noise or disturbance in the undergrowth and for the distinctive bark of any bucks that may have caught our wind? Glassing In low light is where good optics are absolutely vital! I’m using a pair of 10×42 Leica HD-B rangefinders and they make the job an absolute pleasure.
Finally, after an anxious 45-minute wait, I spot a nice cull Buck, browsing nervously, constantly looking around him – I was sure he knew something wasn’t quite right. He was on the edge of the ride, directly in front of us, seemingly appearing from nowhere and took us completely by surprise emerging from some thick cover! I slowly bring my .243 up and onto the buck and take a well-placed shot, just behind the shoulder, after what seemed an age for him to turn and present an opportunity. My preferred Federal 100 grain Power Shok soft point found its mark felling the Buck without a twitch, at a little under 100m it was a formality. By this time the light was starting to dwindle – so we quickly descend from the tower to examine our quarry. After a quick inspection, and taking time to honour the fallen buck by giving him his last meal, in the great European tradition (something I wish more people in the UK did) I love the respect that is shown by our European counterparts. The buck is placed in the carcass tray in the back of the truck so we can take the short drive back to the larder and garalloch our prize.
As well as being a satisfying species to hunt, they make for very good eating and we use the meat for the dinner table ethically sourced from field to plate the way it should be! Although this evening’s session seemed to go relatively easily, Muntjac can be frustrating to stalk, medal heads being at times extremely elusive – however their skill at remaining elusive, by being canny and aware of what is around them is why some survive to get to medal standard. If you are having a quiet time whilst stalking, muntjac do respond well to calling especially when using the Buttolo call – you can often get bucks into a bark off and it can be fascinating to witness their territorial behaviour first hand.
If you would like to Hunt Muntjac in Northamptonshire (Uk) with Pete, contact Pete on the links below:
Phone: +44 07399 534159