With two trophy roe deer down, we were on a roll and now had time to enjoy some of the
collateral benefits that the English countryside had to offer. With ringneck pheasants and wood pigeons
virtually everywhere and the occasional sighting of red – legged partridge, not to mention roe deer in the
ocean of wheat gilded by the soft, early morning sunlight, I enjoyed some outstanding opportunities to
film the various species while Kevin searched for a nice buck for Jan.
After that memorable second morning hunt, we returned to The Cat and enjoyed a hearty
English breakfast followed by a short mid-day nap. By midafternoon we on our way to Arundel where
we toured the ageless Arundel Castle, which was quite a spectacle. Each and every time I visit such
ancient sites, it’s humbling to view the architectural wonders developed by people living hundreds of
years before modern technology and the U.S. ever existed.
On our evening hunt we shot rabbits interfering with local agricultural practices with a .22.
We returned to the farm at Ockley on our third morning and saw 25 to 30 roe deer, capturing
several bucks on film but not as close as I would have liked. I did, however, capture one doe up close
while she stood not 30 paces from us in a dense stand of golden wheat. Ringneck pheasant were
ubiquitous and easy to film, but I was really excited when I captured several red – legged partridges on
film as well.
Later in the day we spent some time in East Grinstead where Jan did a little shopping while
Kevin and I visited the local sports center to purchase some additional shells. We made a short round on
our third evening shooting rabbits, which were overly abundant wherever we hunted.
By 5 am the following morning our fourth we were heading back to Ockley when Kevin spotted a
mature buck standing in a fog shrouded field near the wood’s edge right off the county road we were
driving. Creeping up to the hedge separating the road from the field, I captured several good images of
the buck before he nervously returned to the verdant forest.
Moments later we spotted a shooter buck for Jan but it failed to remain still long enough for a
shot. With only four bucks and a couple of doe observed, it was a slow morning so we returned to West
Hoathly and the Cat.
After brunch Kevin’s wife Karen graciously took us to enjoy English tea at Wakehurst Gardens,
home to one of the largest seed bank labs in the world. The arboretum on the grounds exhibits trees
from every corner of the globe. Enjoying the amazing sites of this ageless country is one of the collateral
benefits while hunting.
After enjoying English tea followed by a refreshingly educational walk through the Wakehurst
forest, we returned to town and prepared for dinner. What made our dinner on Thursday evening so
special was the fact that it was composed of the backstrap from one of my roe bucks. Meticulously
grilled by our friend Tim Earley, owner and chef of the Fox pub, it was not only delectable, it was a meal
I will never forget.
Later that night Kevin and I returned to one of the local farms and I was able to take a red fox.
The following morning our last, we checked out several local farms, failing to see a deer, but just
before calling it quits we spotted a great buck for Jan, and with one well-placed shot I was busy tracking
blood just inside the dark, dank forest inundated by blackberry, but only for a short way when Jan
spotted her trophy, completing another unforgettable hunt.