i thought i would tell you all about my trip to david browns at mellness ,
after arriving in inverness on honeymoon last monday ,i dropped david at millness text to see if there was a chance of a sika stag . i know there has been some pylon work been going on in his forestry from our previous emails , so i didnt know if i was going to be lucky or not !
david soon text back saying there was a short break in the work and the chance of a sika was on , and i arranged to meet david at his place that evening , to show me arround mellness the area where i would be stalking .
after a quick rifle test to make sure i could shoot straight , we were off . during the guided tour i was shown several good spots to where a good stag may appear . during our conversations on the way round told david , ive been doing this stalking lark a long while and i know the score there are no guarentees ! but then not 5 mins after saying those works i heard my first sika whistle , which got the blood pumping i will tell you !
when we lost the light we returned to davids house where i was kindly invited in for a dram and a good old chat . david then asked me if i was able to crack on , on my own a quick yes on my part and we agreed i was to stalk the next morning and evening and to play it by ear after that and to keep in contact with what ive seen and to report any devlopments .
the next morning was soon apon me and at 5.30 am i was stalking quietly up the hill from the back enterance david had shown me the night before . about 6 am i had my first sighting of a stag , just past the first high seat near the oil drum , difficult to propperly identify , so i left him to dissapear into the forestry .
not long after that i stalked the track to the next clearing to where i could easily identify a good red stag working his way accross the clearing heading diagonally from my left to right , then because i was above him on the track he vanished , but then i heard the a clash of antlers , i peered over the bracken and there was a monster sika dishing a good hiding out to the red , so out with the sticks in preperation for a shot . i was bloody close approx 30 yds and only had a small bush for cover , the stags in their tussle swung arround so the sika was pushing the red up the bank towards me , i was then easing the rifle off my shoulder and the sika poped his head up and stood there looking at me ! bugger ive been rumbled i cant move , i cant do anything . about 2 second later they were gone , didnt even get a second look . after a quick text to david and a phone call later , it was decided that the big sika was my challenge for the week .
after a spot of shopping in inverness with the new wife , it was soon time to stalk again , the place is so beautiful dawn and dusk cant come quick enough .
ali my wife was with me in preperation for the pictures of my forth coming trophy ( i was feeling very confident form the mornings sightings) we stalked our way right up to the top of the track to a lovely spot over looking a valley , where we sat and watched red hinds cross like mountain goats , waiting last light to head back past the clearing to catch out the big sika stag .
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as last light approached we made or way down the track , stopping at the edge of the clearing ,i popped my head arround the corner and there he was about 100 yd out in the open and with his arse to me , bonus i thought got myself in order rifle on sticks ready to go waiting for enough shoulder to take a shot .after 4-5 mins he moved to about 11 0'clock giving a chance of a behind the shoulder , i fired and saw the sika head at speed into the forestry like a rocket ! i said to ali did you hear a thud , she replied no , i didnt hear one either and no reaction to the shot nothing . to cut this bit of the story short david and i spent most of wednesday morning searching with 2 dogs , mine and his there was no hair no blood or bone not nothing and we searched high and low !.
the stag is alive and well after speaking to david today and is actually a monster hybred .
after a couple of day off stalking and doing honymoon stuff with the wife , she surgested i stalk friday eve and saturday morning giving me a last chance of a stag .
a quick text to david to organise the last outings , and i was back in the forestry a little dis-heartened about what happened before , so i decided to sit in the high seat over looking the clearing waiting to see if the sika would appear .
no such luck ,and as light faded i decided to head back to the truck , but just as i approached the oil drum , infront of me slightly to the right was a red stag feeding , i stalked it to about 60 yds and got myself into possition , i remember thinking well lee its not a sika but when push comes to shove and your heading home tomorrow and the freezer it empty , a stag is a stag ! i shot the stag square on the shoulder and it never moved , heard a bloody thump that time i thought to myself ! i called david with the news and said i would recover the stag first thing in the morning , which was fine . a quick hill gralloch and stuck my sticks in the ground to mark where the stag was and i was off down the hill to my truck as chuffed as nuts . i went back to our cabin down the road and had more than a dram or 2 for salute the life of the stag i had taken .
in the morning i was up bright and early and at first light i was entering the forest gates , put the ranger in 4 wheel drive and up the hill i went to retrive the stag. i took a few pictures , winched him in the truck and headed back to the wife who made me make her breakfast !(i never heard that in the vows i made in church ) and then loadthe truck for the long trip back to norfolk
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i cant thank david enough for allowing me to stalk at mellness , its a fantastic area with the most fantastic views and plenty of deer there are signs where ever you go and i would have been just as happy leaving there with out a stag , the scenery is what made it for me !
i will keep raising my glass to mellness untill the scotch is all gone , then have to come stalking again to stop at tamatin distillery and get some more on the way home !
thanks again david will be seeing you again very soon !
all the very best