As March draws to a close, winter slowly dies. We are in the Scottish Borders, not far from the banks of the Tweed River, which forms a natural border between Scotland and England.
Here, we will finish the Scottish hunting season, right before starting the next one. In Scotland, roe deer are hunted year round, as hunters manage this game in close relationship with the landowners. In addition, the small cloven-hoofed game enjoys ideal living conditions in this region, so they are present in large numbers.
Never mention to a Scotsman that the weather is bad – he will laugh and tell you to simply “wait five minutes” for improvement. We indeed wait for our first evening stalk, but the fine drizzle does not let up. All the more satisfying to anticipate the cozy fireplace where we will gather to end the day together with our Scottish friends. Experiences like this also make for a memorable hunting trip!
Next day, at dawn, we hear the song thrushes who have returned from their winter quarters. A few teals flash through the sky, highlighting its glowing colors. It is the tail end of March and we are stalking fawns. After a while, we spot a doe, her fawn, and a good buck enjoying the field in the first light of morning before they move into the woods for the day. The three of them are standing in a canola field. Right alongside are two gray geese who will loudly announce our presence as soon as they see us. The best way to get close to the fawn is to get on all fours and then take a shot lying down when appropriate. In the Borders, the hunter must constantly adapt to the terrain. After long minutes, we finally get within 230 yards of the fawn. This is still a decent distance for a small target, but we can rely on the ballistic functions of my Geovid to make a clean shot. The doe moves slowly toward the thicket, the buck follows. The fawn lingers behind for a while, grazing peacefully. I observe the surroundings, make the range correction on the scope. The rifle is at the ready – and the shot shatters the morning silence. The fawn lies still.
Today is April 1st. No fooling: Buck hunting is just around the corner. The brighter the morning light, the colder the air becomes. Frozen grass crunches under every step. Ground frost accompanies our stalk. Because of the freezing wetness we stalk with much caution and stop regularly. In the distance we make out a small group of roe deer. Some does with their fawns and a young buck whose small antlers are still completely in velvet. Two curlews fly up, the does retreat to the woods and suddenly we see a strong six-pointer with big antlers stepping out of the woods. He quickly runs toward the young buck to drive him away from the does. In doing so, he heads directly toward us. The rangefinder of the Geovid shows me 85 meters, then everything happens very quickly. The soft bang from the silencer hardly disturbs the birds’ morning concert, so the other deer stop moving and continue grazing. The old buck lies in the meadow where his genes will live on. A snipe takes flight in front of us, making her specific call that resembles a kiss. She probably wishes us good hunting and sends “fond kisses from the Borders” …