This week we are on the hill stalking hinds early in the season. Ordinarily, after the stags rut, I like to leave the hill to rest a while before starting on the hind to allow the deer some recovery time and peace and let the hill settle after what has usually been a busy 2 weeks of stalking – I don’t mind rest myself either!
This year things were far from normal, and as some of the deer had taken to moving down overnight into some of the more vulnerable areas of the estate, specifically young trees and arable crops, I needed to start to deter them.
My tactic here was to get into position early and stalk the route they were taking as the came back to lie up out on the hill during the day – hence we were out long before first light to get into a position as they drifted up to perceived safety.
We had some late rutting activity still going on in front of us, but these deer were safe today, I wanted the deer coming from the low-lying areas. Almost immediately, we had deer moving and while glassing a group heading out the way, there was a hind clearly limping from what looked to be a front foreleg.
Clearly, she was the target and I allowed other shootable hinds to pass and waited for her. Fortunately, she tagged along the back of the group and presented nicely, falling to a broadside heart-lung shot after a dash pf around 20 yards.
An easy ATV recovery followed and the prefect deer to recovery from the hill. On initial examination, I could see no obvious external sign of the reason for her limp, but after skinning her back at home, there was an old injury to her foreleg which had healed perfectly well and no other sign of a problem, she was actually in good condition.