There are now deer on the grouse moor. And in my black grouse blog.
Roe deer enter the grouse moor from a nearby area of Forestry Commission land, and they are one of the great bonuses of my project.
Seeing their white bottoms bouncing away in the distance is not only a fantastic sight, but it also sets my saliva glands working on overdrive.
As far as I am concerned, roe fillet served with potatoes dauphinoise and broccoli is the finest meal available to mortal men, so it was with hot anticipation that I headed up to the farm on Tuesday with my friend Richard in the hope of bringing something back for the pot.
Richard is setting up a business hand loading custom ammunition for extreme accuracy, and some of the shots I have seen him take have been stunning.
With no cover for stalking and challenging cross winds rippling over the bogs, long shots on the moor are standard.
Sure enough, after an hour lying out on a rocky outcrop, we spotted a nice buck at 1,000 yards.
I had the thrill of watching Richard stalk the distant shape from my vantage point, and when the shot was fired, he had folded up the bipod and stood before the sound reached me.
We were then faced with the problem of lugging the buck back to the car across two miles of bog, but with snipe drumming overhead in the twilight, it was actually a real pleasure.
Every now and again, single grouse cocks leaped out of the heather to cackle at us.
Now the hens are brooding, the pressure is on to do as much damage to the local vermin population as possible.
The next month is when breeding grouse are at their most vulnerable, and if crows, foxes or stoats get the upper hand, all will be lost.
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.