So I joined this site a year ago to the day, frothing with excitement about a pending three day trip and wanting an understanding forum for my excitement (my wife was fed up with me)...
A year on, I have the same trip coming up, she's still fed up ("look...that reflection on the car could be a muntjac in long grass, my Love...") and I thought I'd dwell on 365 days as an SD aficionado...
Funniest thing I read:
A member saying he lived in fear of dying and his wife selling his stalking kit for the price he said he'd bought it for...
Most tedious thread:
That one that went on for several hundred posts about how poor the .243 is and how 'inadequate' it must be for real men, hunters of anything bigger than rabbits and was generally a kids caliber or required pink underwear to handle it.
Most impressed by:
All members sharing and teaching and generally offering advice to stalkers of all levels, whether they be utter novices or those with years of experience. There must be thousands of aggregate years' experience on here so everyone's view is valuable, in my opinion.
Most divisive issue:
Begins with 'B' and ends with '..laser'. Still don't really understand this one but if you like your make of gun, great, if you don't then get something else.
I still have a Steyr from when I joined the Forum but was (un)fortunate enough to just brush my elbow against a Blaser in a gunshop in deep mid-winter. It was like Harry Potter choosing his wand at Olivander's wand shop...I just knew it was right and went to great lengths to buy one as soon as possible. I don't regret it but am equally aware some people loathe them.
Most salient observation:
That no one ever stops learning about deer and stalking and wildlife in general. No one stalk is the same, no one deer is predictable and, sometimes forgotten on this site, no one person is always right... circumstance, lighting, behavior, angle, caliber, backstop, time of year, cover and experience all add little drips to the great cocktail shaker of stalking.
Best daily Fix:
Seeing willie_gunn's pics of deer on his morning strolls...they get better and better every day and I almost feel like I know some of those bucks now...great pics and they never fail to impress me. The doe he posted this morning made me want to as far away from my office and screens in London as I could be.
Chuck Norris awards for Mission Accomplished:
Both awards to Pine Marten...
1) finally getting that Drilling over from Germany after a seemingly endless navigation of admin and bureaucracy...
2) felling his first Buck after various unsuccessful / blighted missions. Hats off for persistence.
Private Fraser whose passing clearly touched everyone on the Forum. I didn't know him but many did and he was obviously both charming and experienced and enjoyed his forays onto this site.
Favorite new thread:
The one for pics not related to stalking...clearly some very talented photographers on this site and it goes to show how much everyone appreciates nature, contrary to the thinking of the antis who assume we have no care or stewardship at all. This thread also highlighted to me how rich and diverse our country is, despite the sad recent thread detailing things we DON'T see any more. We (most of members) are lucky to live in the UK and it's good to be reminded what we have on our doorsteps.
Anyway, just some thoughts there... am 18 days and 6 hours away from my favorite trip of the year...in the sandy Norfolk woods and fields for three days and six stalks with 2 of my oldest mates and a few thousand acres to divide up between us...3.45am three days straight and all day every day outside... plinking at steel plates, squeaking at the edge of the forestry, chasing muntjac around and hopefully adding a few bucks to the tally.
Have very much enjoyed a year on the site and feel better equipped this year than last so thanks to all for the banter and advice I've gleaned.