A Roe Deer Hunt – August 2019

Back in early August, in a brief break between client arrivals, we spent an evening out in East Lothian on a roe deer hunt with a couple of friends. With our office being in Edinburgh city centre we don’t often get the chance to go on roe deer hunt so, when the offer was extended, we jumped at the chance.

The location for the hunt was just outside of Haddington in East Lothian and it only took 40 minutes to get there from the city centre. The surroundings were beautiful and it was a lovely evening, not a cloud in the sky and there wasn’t a breath of wind.

We started out from the front door of the main house (the oldest house in Scotland to have been continuously inhabited by the same family) and walked across the manicure east lawn down the back drive and into the main body of the 2,000 acre estate. The estate is a mix of arable farm and woodland and so is the perfect ground for a roe deer hunt.

On the back drive we immediately spotted a buck, up and way off to left at the top of the far field on the edge of the woods and we set off to loop around to the right to get in behind it. Unfortunately, in scaling one of the fences, I caught the top wire with my trailing foot on the way over and went face first into the ploughed field. The fall in itself was not an issue, the extremely loud vibration of the taught fence wire however was very much an issue as it immediately altered the buck to our presence. I watched from a prone position on the ground as the buck looked directly at us and hopped casually away into the thick woodland cover. Not my finest ever moment.

I was acting as camera man for the evening and, as I was scanning for a nice shot of the grounds a little later, I caught sight of another buck in a copse of trees in the middle of the ploughed field. I gestured to the stalker who froze where he was and got out the binoculars to try and pick up on what I’d seen. Sure enough he spotted the buck and then manoeuvred into position for a shot. The range was difficult but it would have been worth the shot if the buck had turned side on to us but he stubbornly refuse to cooperate and was facing away and was moving slowly but surely further away as he grazed. Eventually we had to give up on the shot and we carried on walking.

Another couple of hours and the light was beginning to fade so we tried one last tactic. A buck had been spotted almost daily for the last week moving through some of the less wild wooded area nearer the house so we set up to wait nearby in case the buck happened by. There were a few false alarms, half seen movements in the fading light that turned out to be various other animals (in order; 2 pheasants, 1 squirrel, a rabbit and a couple of ducks) but alas, no buck.

As the light finally faded completely we gave in and headed back to the house. As any one who has experience of any sort of deer hunt knows, it’s not necessarily the kill that makes the experience, it’s the whole package together that makes it memorable. We’d spent a glorious few hours outdoors in stunning surroundings and in good company on a beautiful summer’s evening; we’d spotted a couple of bucks (along with a plethora of other wild life) had the excitement of the stalk on 2 occasions and we’d had a good laugh at my expense due to my clumsiness and so were, overall, very content with an evening extremely well spent.

On the way back to the house the stalker mentioned in passing that he’d actually seen an excellent medal buck that was on the cull list thatwould have made a great stalk but, as I was not a paying guest, he’d not mentioned it. Indeed his exact words were “you would have scared it away with your clumsy feet anyway”. This was said only half-jokingly, we’ve know each other a long time and, to be fair he was entirely correct, I am notoriously clumsy as evidenced by may face-plant earlier in evening!

If you’d like us to arrange a roe deer hunt in Scotland for you please do get in touch by email (alex@river-green.com) or by filling in one of our enquiry forms on the right hand side of this page. The season is essentially over for 2019 but we are already taking bookings for 2020 so now is the perfect time to get start planning. We can arrange a roe deer hunt for up to 4 people at a time (2 groups of 2) and we use estates in the Scottish Borders, East Lothian and in Highland Perthshire. We look forward to hearing from you.

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