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Chinese water deer south of the border

This tale sees the team travelling south of the border to stalk some world class Chinese Water Deer (CWD) in Bedfordshire, at our good friend Paul Childerleys estate.

With Paul tied up with a busy shoot program and, as its early season and his CWD have bred well, a good number will need to be culled, we’ve come down to help manage the numbers and let Paul and his team concentrate on the winged game. 

Additionally we’re also delivering some intensive DSC 2 witnessing and training over the course of the week and are down as a full team – myself, Graeme and Steve.

We travelled the day before any clients arrive in order that we can recce and check out the estate, assess the deer situation and also allocate some areas of operation and boundaries,  so all know where everyone will be at any given time. While we were doing that we thought we might as well take the rifle along!

We were bizarrely assisted by a couple of walkers using a footpath a couple of fields away who pushed some deer towards the group

Chris Dalton

First off, I did a quick range check. Paul has an excellent range set up on the estate close to the shoot HQ. 

After confirming zero I spent some time glassing across the fields close to the range.

It was a nice afternoon and I could see a group of CWD a few fields away, couched and settled, clearly enjoying the sunshine, so I made an approach using the thick hedges as cover.

All went well but my problem was a backstop, with the deer in the middle of a large field and no safe shot. I decided to wait and see if they moved or any other deer came into play.

We were bizarrely assisted by a couple of walkers using a footpath a couple of fields away who pushed some deer towards the group we were watching. This lifted our group and some started to move my way. I picked out a young CWD and waited as he slowly fed, until he had worked into a shallow basin to my left creating a backstop.

Thereafter it was a relatively easy shot. After completing a suspended gralloch in the hedgerow it was a short walk back to the larder. So all in all a great start to the trip stalking these unique animals.