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Thread: your learning experiences lets hear em

  1. #1

    your learning experiences lets hear em

    hi folks
    was reading through other posts and was commented on one bout why you never hear alot of people posting bout their mistakes etc......
    got me thinking because as one of the replys correctly stated if you havent missed or mis-shot then youll never learn or are a liar.


    here one from was from around 5 yrs ago and i had been stalking for maybe a year or luvky that i had my brother as a mentor and was doing ok but we had a sever lack of our own ground or deer availability.
    So when i got the chance at a syndicate in perthshire i jumped at the chance it was ok price mainly roe with some occasional chance at fallow and red coming thru...and it was a block of forrestry on a hill with a section of "valley" of mmorland heather so all in all a bit of a mixture.
    id gone down (from montrose) one morning early doors ....had walked through the the forrestry with little sign....and had come out onto thebelow the woodland onto the tope dge of the valley but opposite side of the ground form my motor so a stalk back to the car was on....
    anyway got most of the way back to the car and was bit despondant at seeing nowt (again!) and i was around 120 yds form the tree edge on an old vehicle track ....i had kinda stopped stalking and trying to be quiet when out the blue i clocked a roe buck bout 10 yds out of the tree edge browsing in the open.....amazingly he hadnt clocked me either....
    ok slowly got the sticks set up ....put the old mannlicher model L .243 onto the sticks and had a glass..... coooll!!!! ok*t!!! buck fever kick in and im trembling like buggery....still browsing side on and not clocked me....calmed down breathe and squeeze....boom...muzzle flip (non-modded at time ) and i see the buck run to my left along tree line for around 40 yds then turn into the tree line and amble in quite the thing!!!!
    **^^^**!!!!!! i hadnt seen the reaction in the scope but the shot "felt" ok ...mmmm
    ok wlked over to where it was hit and spent ages looking for hair blood etc this time doubt well n truely set in... i wlaked bakc to the car and away home
    brother phones me spears at me i tell him the story..etc etc.. he just looks at me funny but doesnt say owt....
    next week i go down hes available to come too so i have rifle and we go round the ground and nowt...heading back to the car same route as previous week and he says " where you shoot tha last beast n miss?" so i showed him.....hes spying like hell ..."where it go in?" "over there but dont bother it was buck fever clean miss " 5 minutes later he shouts " come here" in a tone of voice that just hit me.....wondered over and not even 5yds in thew wood heres a buck lyin agianst foot of a tree looking like its resting...but you can see exit wound ....perfect placement too!!!....
    by now im gutted i feel so low its unbelievable and im swearing n cursing looks at me and says" i kinda thought after you siad it just "ambled " back into the wood you may have hit it"
    so he looks at me and says "well get yer knife out" "what you talking bout the vension is ruined and summit has been chewing on the back end a bit"
    "yeah i know but your taking the head...we will boil it up and plaque it and every time you look at it you will always be reminde of today and last weeks stalk and know that if your ever in any doubt FOLLOW UP THE SHOT AS BEST YOU CAN!!!"

    i still think exactly that when i look at that head which was no medal by any means but a memory ill never forget and hopefullyi learned from it.

    if only i had bothered to walk the extra 50 yds or so and into the wood i would have found the beast....i was so full of doubt ...buck fever...doubty in my ability coz i was a novice etc....

    so whats yours?


  2. #2
    I shot at a fallow doe, one of a group, using my 6.5x55 with 140gn RWS ammunition. I waited untill one presented itself for a safe shot, squeezeed the trigger, and two, not one, fallow dropped to floor. I had not spotted the other smaller yearling doe moving up behind the bigger mature doe. Concentrating too hard on the target animal, and not enough on the surroundings. I had to take a hurried second shot at the yearling before she got up. I managed to kill her cleanly, thankfully, but I had been a complete muppet. I had not taken into account that the bullet might exit at a different angle to the entry. It could have been much, much worse.

    I also then had two deer to deal with quickly and, while rushing to get finished, made a complete horlicks of the gralloch by being too rough seperating the "green" from the lights. I had contaminating "green" everywhere. All in all it was not one of my better days. These days if I have to be quick doing the gralloch, I do a full "poachers" gralloch and take all the guts out in one go. Put them in a bag, carefully, and seperate later. And I also only shoot when deer are completely clear of others.

    yours shamefacedly, ft
    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

  3. #3
    this could be an interesting thread as the old saying goes you only learn from your mistakes. so we might all pick something up from this one.

  4. #4
    cheers bunnydan...that was my thinking....bout over a hundred views and one really good reply from flytie.......

    nobody else screwed up?.....or at least not willing to share


  5. #5
    194 views and only three replies ( with only one account of a cock-up............ Come on now....... there must be(are) more than that to come out? We all make mistakes from time to time, and it would do some of the more novice stalkers good to hear some of them.

    Here is one of mine.

    About 20 years ago I was able to shoot on a piece of land owned by a member of the aristocracy. Lord XXXXX had a lot of ground, including a little farm nestling in a valley on the Dorset/Somerset Border. The stalking rights were assigned to a Gamekeeper mate of mine, and because he didnt have much stalking time himself, he let me go up there to shoot some of the roe as his helper. It was early(ish) in my stalking career, and I really appreciated the opportunity the keeper had given me.Of course I was determined that nothing would go wrong.......

    My brief was to monitor roe numbers in the valley, report deer numbers back to the keeper, and to cull an agreed number of doe's and small none-trophy bucks, also to mop up any injured deer when found.
    Well on my previous visit, I had found a big group of roe in the valley. This group consisted of about 15 animals (both bucks and does) and also included one small doe with the lower half of her back left leg missing. I reported this to the keeper, who said that if I got chance on my next visit he wanted me to cull this particular animal, as Lord XXXXX didnt like to see injured deer about. I told the keeper I would make it out there the next Saturday afternoon, and the keeper said that he was at a bit of a loose end that afternoon, and so he would like to come with me to see me in action ( pressure starting to build)

    Well Saturday came, and after lunch I called round to pick the keeper up, and we headed on out to the ground which consisted of medium fields, thick tall hedges, and two woods (about 40 miles) We got there, and pulled in to the farmyard only to come face to face with Lord XXXXX,together with his estate general manager, who unbeknown by us, were on a visit to the farm. It was the first time that I had met both Lord XXXXX, and the estate manager, and I was introduced by the keeper as 'his able assistant'.

    Well after a brief conversation Lord XXXXX and estate manager expressed an interest to tag along with us to see some stalking in action (more and more pressure ) The keeper agreed to take them both to watch the stalk from a vantage point overlooking the valley, whilst i was to spy from the same valley top until I found the roe group and then stalk down alone to cull the injured doe.

    Well, I spotted the deer group quite quickly and also spotted the poor injured doe.It was major having difficulty getting along the deeply ploughed fields some distance behind the main group.After pointing the group out to the Keeper, I worked out my stalk, and started to make my way down one hedge after another until I was overlooking the field where the big group had been last seen. The exact route of the stalk had meant that I had lost sight of the group for the last third of the stalk in , (however I guessed they would have remained in clear view to the watching 'dignitaries' the whole time).( Still more pressure )

    Well by the time I got to the fields the roe party had moved (as they always do) and were strung across the field in a long line with the injured doe at the back, some distance behind the rest. the group was heading diagonally away from me towards a wood on the valley floor in the middle of the next field. I realised that once the group reached the big field my chances of successfully stalking close enough into the group were impossible, and with Lord XXXXX and the general manager looking on possibly marking my every move out of ten(or so I thought)I desperately wanted to achieve a positive outcome to the stalk. The roe were at that time about 180 yds away, and getting further away with every passing minute. I had a .30-06 rifle, complete with a small Pecar 4X35 Champion Scope on top with a No.4 reticule. the cross hairs on the scope were maga thick and at 180 yds the small deer looked like they could have 3/4 hidden themselves behind the crosshairs!!!
    I realised that although the shot was not ideal I felt under a lot of pressure, and the window of opportunity was disappearing fast so I lowered the bi-pod legs and laid through the hedge to attempt a prone shot.The background was good, however the poor wretched three legged doe was having major difficulty getting along, but was still trying to keep up with the rest of the bunch who would occasionally look back at it to see where she was . Eventually the little doe turned more or less broadside at about 200 yds and I fired. After what seemed like ages I heard a high pitched bullet strike, and to my absolute horror saw the liitle doe rear up on what was left of her hind legs, and crash to the floor clearly showing her off side front leg swinging. Well I realised the shot had gone low (rifle only zeroed at 100 yds and hold over completely guessed at with no experience) and that the bullet had passed underneath her brisket before breaking the front leg bone

    Well, I realised I had totally f**ked things up and I could see the pathetic creature trying to fling itself in the air to try to regain its feet. It did manage to make progress along the field hobbling on its two remaining legs for some way (God knows how) before I could get another clear shot to shoot again, and finally I took a hurried follow up shot with more holdover guesstimation, I heard a massive deep THWUMP noise, and realised that I must have put the second bullet through the animals guts. OH MY GOD How much worse was it going to get??? I knew that my supposed "text book" stalk couldn't have gone much worse if I had tried, and all the time I realised that every minute detail of my 'Balls up' was being watched by the Keeper, Lord XXXXX, and his estate manager!

    Well by then I just had one thought in my head, and that was to end the poor deers suffering in the shortest remaining time. I could see it layed down in the field clinging onto life with its head swaying from side to side, so it involved another stalk into range before I could finally killed it with a neck shot off the sticks whilst it was layed down.Final range was about 20 yds.

    Well I felt absolutely sick to the pit of my stomach, and could believe how much suffering I had inflicted on that one poor animal.I emptied out the animal, and after putting it in the roe sack reluctantly made my way out of the valley back towards my watchers. As I approached the Keeper and 'guests' , the keeper came forward 50 or so yards, and took the roe sack from me. He whispered 'Well you completely f**cked that up didnt you', as if I needed to be told.......
    As I approached Lord XXXX i thought there would be a swift exchange of heated words and that I would be chucked off the ground never to be allowed to stalk it ever again, however that outcome couldnt have been farther away from what happened.

    Firstly he was calm, and he said, that he realised that the stalk had not gone according to plan, and that an attempted killing shot shot had resulted in a wounding shot. he also commented that in his opinion the deer were 'a bit far' when I took my first shot, and that He guessed that I had wanted to show 'The Boss' that I could do a competant job, without fully realising the limits of my own capabilities. he then complimented me on a follow-up in rapidly worsening conditions, and finally bringing the deer home without the need to involve others - Well you could have knocked me down with a feather

    I later learned that Lord XXXXX had done a lot of deer stalking himself when he was younger, and similar things had happened to him in his early stalking career. I also learned that he realised the extra pressure that his presence had had on my performance. Maybe others had "cut him some slack" when he made the occasional balls up I dont know, but we did keep that stalking for another few years, and the keeper subsequently got other staking on the Lord's various estates.

    Lessons learned as a result of that evening......

    (1) never attempt long shots without knowing where the rifle shoots at that range

    (2) No matter how much pressure you're under, never take a shot you are not 100% happy with

    (3) The deer will always be there on another day

    (4) Know what you are capable of ,and always stick within your own capabilities

    (5) Accept that things will go wrong occasionally, no matter how much of a 'great shot' you are, and always learn something from your mistakes, and do everything in your power to minimise them in the future.

    Just writing this has brought it all back as if it was yesterday, and I dont know who was more surprised at Lordy's reaction to my 'screw up'- me or the Keeper

    Last edited by Lakey; 08-10-2010 at 19:17.

  6. #6
    Well it's not stricly about me (honest guv), but a f**k-up all the same. I had been stalking on a piece of land as a guest for quite some while and felt guilty that my friend (whom I had started stalking with) wasn't getting any outings. I didn't quite know how to broach the subject but eventually got round to asking the keeper/stalker whether my friend could come along. A price was agreed and we both turned up at the agreed meeting point. A discussion took place about whether my friend was confident in his abilities and whether the keeper/stalker should sit with him. We had munties, fallow does and prickets (no bucks) on the menu but he didn't want any roe shot. No, my friend was confident in his abilities so hime and the stalker disappeared on the quad whilst I walked to the seat I was to occupy until last light.
    I spent the next hour or so watching the wildlife until a 'boom' disturbed the peace. We were to communicate by mobile phone so the stalker phonede me to ask if I had got one, I replied no and telephoned my friend to ask about the shot that was obviously his (unless there were poachers about ). He replied that he had missed . Oh great, I then had to relay this to the stalker. A little while later there was another 'boom' and the telephone inquest began again. No. I hadn't shot anything but when I spoke to my friend he said he had shot a pricket, I duly relayed this information to the stalker. Last light fell and I walked back across the fields to our meeting place. Shortly after I arrived the stalker turned up on the quad, deer strapped to the rack on the front. I took a quick look at the beast and said' funny pricket', there being a lovely 6 point roe buck strapped to the rack, 'tell me about it' was the reply. I noticed the vacant space on the back of the quad and asked where my friend was, 'he's walking' was the reply. We waited a while for my friend to turn up - it was dark and he didn't know the land. Eventually he arrived and the stalker eventually had to finish off the gralloch as my friend obviously wasn't capable . I stood around embarrassed whilst payment was sorted, I think my friend gave a little extra as a 'tip' but nothing like I felt was due and the stalker even let him keep the head. Oh how I wish I hadn't brought him along in the first place . Luckily I managed to keep getting invited to stalk there but I will never, ever, squeeze an invite out for a friend of mine again!

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