Sometimes when I invite my roe stalking friends to hunt muntjac, they find themselves confused by these tiny deer that simply do not stand around to get shot at but are always on the move. You cannot expect to spend time carefully assessing the sex and age class of a muntjac and then settling in to the shot as you might when stalking roe.
The muntjac will have long gone. Instead you must learn to shoot accurately and with quick, quiet efficiency.
Often a high seat set up in woodland, usually overlooking a ride or some place where it is possible to get a view of the forest floor, is a favourite option.
For the newcomer to muntjac, a high seat offers a firm, safe, shooting position, with no need to make the more-or-less instant safety assessment that you would need to do when shooting from ground level. Very often the only chance you will get is at an animal that walks straight across a ride in front of you without stopping.
Here you must pick it up immediately in the scope – don’t waste time with binoculars – and track it until it hesitates, maybe to take a bite of food. Then grab your moment.
Remember, it is a small animal, so always go for the biggest target, the heart and lung area. If it looks at you, freeze, and move only when it turns its head away.
Stalking muntjac: an exciting challenge
Stalking on foot is an exciting challenge, with dawn and dusk the best times at which to operate, remembering that in the morning, muntjac will still be on the move well after other species have hidden themselves up for the day. So don’t go home too soon. Stay inside the wood or close to the woodland edge or hedge line, because muntjac prefer to avoid open ground unless they are crossing between one wood and another.
Be prepared to take a standing shot off sticks, because the likelihood is that you will not have the time to find any other suitable rest, so practice hard at standing shots on the range and when it comes to the real thing, keep within your personal envelope of confidence.
Sometimes calling muntjac can be effective. Use a Buttolo roe call, but squeeze it gently: you are trying to imitate the sound of a distressed fawn. If you get it right, any nearby adult can be upon you in seconds, so have your rifle up on sticks or a suitable rest and be ready to shoot immediately.
Who is our author Graham Downing ?
Graham Downing is a regular contributor to Shooting Times and The Field, and is editor of ‘Deer’, the magazine of the British Deer Society. He is a Vice President of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and Shooting Consultant to the Countryside Alliance. He is a passionate muntjac stalker and is author of ‘Stalking Muntjac – a complete guide’ published by Quiller Books.