Meanwhile back where we started: High Seat - Day Two:
My reverie is broken by TBB's 'pssst' and I go through the High Seat Drill - open the bolt, push the top round (bullet) back down into the magazine, close the bolt over the now empty chamber, apply safety so the bolt is locked shut and now it's safe to climb down the ladder.
We cross the bridle path and are consumed by the darkness of the woods, for about five or six minutes we pick our way up the slight hill. Just as we're reaching the end of the block we're in, part of the herd has decided to go for breakfast and they suddenly start to run past us at only 30 yards. Their way is restricted by a fence which they must duck under, one doe stands still and looks at me. Time slows. The does in front have bottlenecked where they will cross the bridle path so now I'm face to face with an eminently shootable Doe. I shoulder the Rigby, swing the rifle's wing safety down into the ready position and start the flinching - my eyes close as my finger presses against the machined surface of the trigger, I wrench them open, the Doe is still looking at me, I'm 30 yards away and miraculously the point of aim is still on the magic circle behind her shoulder, she tips her weight onto her back legs and presses forward, I squeeze, my eyes stay open. A clean miss.
The Bambi Basher doesn't need to say anything [and being the gent he is, doesn't] the bullet must have passed over her back, at that range the scope's cross hairs aren't a representation of where the bullet will go - I'd have been better off looking down the side of the barrel.
Now in the aftermath, we know only where the deer that remain on our side of the bridle path aren't, we are at a fenced corner ourselves. I sigh. That's why its called hunting. I hand TBB the Rigby and take a few steps in the direction of the departed Doe herd. I'm about to duck under the fence myself but just obscured from our view is my Doe, lying perfectly dead on the ground.
My shot had been six inches further back than my intended point of aim and six inches high.
I gralloch the deer, [I'm still not sure why we use the Gallic word for gutted] the round had clipped her spine on the way in and exited bellow the point of impact. Dead is still dead and the hunting gods must have been on my side, only one of the deer's stomachs had taken a passing clip leaving a hole less than an inch long, using her blood to rinse out the small amount of snot, bile and part digested grass, I'm delighted to see that apart from the back straps having had a bite out of them, the rest of the meat was good. Together we heaved her into a tree, the foxes would go for the ease of the gut pile [AKA the gralloch] and leave the carcass, with the first Doe cooling in the tree we set off in search of the next one. Which eludes us.
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