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King of the wood…. 🦌

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It was early Summer 2022, and i had recently been very lucky to acquire some relatively virgin/unshot Roe stalking ground.

I managed to acquire the permission through a series of referrals from a friend to landowners he knew, so after a few drunk chats at said mates wedding, and on being told 'WE HAVE WAY TOO MANY DEER, COME OVER AND HAVE A LOOK', i jumped at the chance but took it on with patient open eyes.

Despite me being very close to the 2022 Roe Rutt approaching, and me being eager to get out, I straight away set to doing some quality reconnaissance, not only to properly weigh up the ground but to make an accurate assessment on what beasties were on the ground.

Details of the exact location aren't important 👀, but being around West Yorkshire and the natural ground being in high elevation, it was no surprise to see most of the ground was on an upwards/downwards facing sheer slope, and stalking this ground was going to be no simple stroll in a t shirt, with a set of sticks and binos.

Id set off into the woodland on the ground, clambering adjacent along one of the sheer slopes in an old woodland, getting quickly frustrated by the lack of clearing to walk through... but at the same time impressed to see such wild and natural ground.

I edged towards a small false summit in the woodland, where there was a clearing to approximately 70 meters visibility.. and i couldn't believe my eyes... within 15 mins.. the first deer to be seen by me on the ground....

'King of the Wood...'

The wind was consistent and perfect for me and having walked so steadily through the wood without crunching a leaf or breaking a stick, he had no idea i was there..

A quick glance through my binos, i knew instantly this was no yearling.. he was a big old lad, and a stunner... Clearly the King of the wood...


He got within 20 meters of me, paused, scented me and bolted... 

I carried on for a week or so with more recce, and saw a few up and coming bucks who were competitors, but nothing as mighty as the King of the Wood id seen already.

Early August came around, and i had started going out with the rifle, and whilst still doing a bit of guess work on this new ground, i came across a piece of woodland which i have since renamed the jungle..

All younger trees, closely planted, ferns upto your waist and little chance of spotting a Roe deer unless it is moving before he sees me... but it had a brilliant downward sloping view where you could almost get 45 degrees above the deer on one area, and with sign all over the place of rubbs/laying up, it was clearly a Roe deer safe haven..

I set off early morning before sunrise with the intent of slowly moving through the wood without disturbing too much, and getting in position i set up my sticks and with my back up against a tree, just stood.. listened.. looked and waited...

All of a sudden, as the sunlight grew, i spotted movement to my left, and it was two tiny little Roe heads moving in the ferns, clearly unaware i was even there, and were only within 40 meters of me.

Spying through my binos, i couldn't see and adults with them, and were clearly 2 of this years fawns.

I knew that the Doe wouldn't be far, and she was likely going to be with a buck.. waiting game it is...

I soon spotted the Doe moving back towards the two young, she was a strong mature Doe, constantly scanning for threats all around and despite it being a mini safe haven for them, she wouldnt let her guard down one bit around her young.

I watched them for a good 10 minutes, and as the Doe mooched back off, the Fawns ambled over closer and closer to me, ending up within 3-5 meters !!!.

Again, i had an element of luck on my side aswel as my skill stalking in, due to the wind not changing since setting up, so they seemed pretty fearless... even without their mum around.

I was now in the decision, of do i just sit and wait for mum to come back hopefull with the buck shes with... or will it be the case, shell flank me/wind me.... and all 4 will dissapear in a flash of white/dark red and brown...

What to do...

With the fawns working their way slowly past me, and in the belief the Doe was still within 40-50 meters of me, I decided, with my butaloo in my pocket... to let out the faintest of bleets in my pocket, to prevent being to alarming and try to just get some heads appearing in reaction to the call.

It worked, i quickly heard scrambling towards me coming from the left, it was the Doe.

She stopped with her head ALERT, looking around and stomping her leg, but it was clear she couldnt see or smell me.

I gave out one more faint call, and she made a confident decision that my call was her two fawns, so started to work her way along the path her fawns had, coming below me and working away towards her fawns downhill.

Everything was lining up perfect, as i had come from the right hand side where they were working towards, so i knew any buck with her would have to come from my left..

And then.. within seconds.. i head STUMP, STUMP, CRACK SNAP..... BAAARRRKKKKK.... BARRRKK BAK BARRRRKKKKK......

Binos down, rifle into the shoulder... eye through my Schmidt and Bender PM11... there he was.... the King of the Wood...

Stood still for about half a second, not even quick enough for me to hesitate the shot.. and before he even had chance to take another step forward... he has a .308 bullet snapping through his heart and lungs.. 

The shot was perfect, and the Doe/Fawns had still not seen me whilst moving to the right, and as i was reloading i saw them trotting away into the ferns downhill.

He died where he fell, and once the wood had settled back to early morning chirping from the birds.. i slowly walked the distance towards where he lay..

He was an absolute cracker of a Buck, and not only had he clearly reigned in the woodland as King, but it was fantastic to see he had clearly been passing on his bloodline last/this year...

Whilst taking a moment to enjoy the stalk, and prep for cleaning him up, i gave Steve Newcombe a call, and told him about what id taken, and he needed to prep some freezer/workshop space for me... as the King needed mounting 100%..

I caped him out, and took a drive down to Steves, who was equally as exited and impressed as i was to get him on a worthy mount. 

He was initially dried out, and sent off for CIC scoring, and despite us being confident he was a GOLD... missed out on a GOLD by one point , high silver it is !!!. (Scored 128.48)

The King of the Wood is now finished... and i would now, like to finish this post off by showing him off !.

Thanks to Steve Newcombe Taxidermist for producing me such a stunning trophy, to remember such a cracking stalk !.


Thanks for reading !.


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