As my mate Ewich says 'Silly Features' went stalking today on his own in anticipation of his first red stag of the Season in our small permission. The morning was dry and still as I set off at 6.55am, but within the space of 15 minutes the mist had descended making spotting of deer nigh impossible.
The roar of a couple of stags was close by, with one on the hillside opposite our ground, so I spent the next half hour exchanging pleasantries without seeing the quarry. Without the hint of a change, the mist cleared the hillside and there running towards me was a 6 pointer along with 4 hinds and 2 calves. The only problem being they were being pursued by the farmer's cattle who managed at the last minute to divert the herd away from the boundary. The opportunity was lost!
It was now 8.30am and the deer have usually departed to rest up in the surrounding forest. Undetered I decided to carry on more on the hope of recovering my camo hat that I lost on the last time out stalking. Three quarters of the way into the forest, I heard the roar of a stag. I dropped out onto the boundary and with the benefit of a stone wall as cover waited to see if the roaring beast would appear enticed by my 'roar'. Silence, nothing, not even a roar, then suddenly a majestic 8 plus pointer stag stepped out the wood into the clearing and stopped to look inquisitively in my direction.
I let off the shot and heard the thud as the .308 hit its chest. The stag dropped where it stood, however, lay as if not hit in the vital area and attempted on several occassions to rise. Having chambered another round and waited what seemed an eternity, I shot again at the neck, the only visible part. This despatched the beast and allowed the gralloch to begin and delight at realising that my trophy was in fact an 11 pointer.
On completion of the gralloch, I discovered that my first shot had hit the desired location, passed through the heart, hit the ribs on the far side and ricochet back to embed itself on the left shoulder.
Then it struck 'Silly Features' after the euphoria of the stalk and capture subsided that I had a solo drag out, over thick tufted grass, boggy ground and hillside of a substantial beast. This took about an hour after much brow mopping, lung filling stops and a plan to return and pick up my 4x4 to reduce the distance considerably.
After cleaning up and stowing the carcass in the trailer (wife won't let me have anything in the back of the new car!), I was enjoying a well earned cup of tea and watching my cocker spaniel retracing my drag line when I heard another 'roar'of a stag at the end of the forest- 'Silly features' came to his senses and declined the opportunity for the next time!!