The black grouse blog got wet last week.
It has been too dry on the moor recently.
We haven’t had rain for almost four weeks, and while that is good news for the grouse chicks, which aren’t at all keen on wet weather, many of my transplanted trees were beginning to die a pathetic and withering death in the dusty soil.
When I arrived at the farm at 3.30am last Tuesday morning, I heard a very distant barking.
It was coming from a section of forest on the far boundary, and it was so loud that I had no idea what it could be. I had to investigate.
It turned out that a swirling gale had left a circular gap in the trees, and it was reverberating and magnifying the hormonally charged barks of a roe deer.
The little buck was sounding like some tremendous tiger.
As I peered through my binoculars for the deer, I spotted a fox racing through the rushes far below me, dashing away towards the trees.
The only chance I had was to cut her off before she reached cover, and I ran down to meet her through a deep peat hagg.
I waited and waited. The buck still barked, and after two minutes, I heard a vixen scream strongly from 250 yards ahead.
She had wholly out-maneuvered me and couldn’t resist rubbing it in.
I spotted her as she faced me to scream and levelled the crosshairs an inch above her head.
As I flicked the safety catch off, she vanished. A fat blob of rain fell onto my hand. The long awaited downpour fell with a tremendous crash as I realised that I was almost two miles from the car.
Cursing the vixen for leading me so far from shelter, I trudged home through the rain while the buck still barked behind me. I had been thoroughly beaten.
The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees. www.gallowayfarm.wordpress.com