There have been some very early starts over the past few days, but fortunately the weather has been staggeringly good and the conditions almost perfect for lek hunting. I heard a cock calling from an incredible distance this morning in the pristine stillness, and now that I’ve got home and had a look at the Ordnance Survey map, I see that he was the best part of three kilometres away. I was sorry that he was on his own, since there was a good brood of youngsters in that area in September. It would be shame if none of them had made it through the winter, and while I think I probably got my hopes up when I saw the number of poults in the autumn, no improvement on 2014’s spring counts would be a damning indictment of overwinter mortality.
By the by, I met a fine little roe buck on the track out to see this single cock, and while not the biggest or the smartest deer I’ve seen this spring, his clean antlers and impudent expression won him a featured spot on this blog. I’ve spent the past few days looking for a buck for the freezer, and even suffered a blank outing on Friday night when I had hoped to ambush a roe in the heather. I was out with a friend, and we ended up getting distracted by a fox which led us on a wild goose chase into the gloaming. By the time we remembered our purpose, the stars had swung out of hiding and the night had come on.