I thought I would share my last outing with everyone, on Sunday I had a trip to East Lancashire after the illusive Sika. The estate is a considerable size and runs from the fertile valley bottom up to a moor so offers interesting stalking for both Roe and Sika. The Plan of attack was to get up in good time, so the alarm was set for 5:30 although it has not really been light enough to shoot till around 7:15 this gave me plenty of time to get to the area I wanted to stalk and hopefully catch the Sika as they made there way back over the fell and into the safety of the forestry block on first light.
So after one press of the snooze button and a quick coffee I was out of the door and into the vehicle, I drove as far as I dare up the fell without running the risk of spooking any deer that may be in the area and then carried on foot for a further 20 minutes under the cover of darkness to get into the area I wanted to be in. There was only a breath of wind and was coming from the perfect direction to take my scent away.
After nearly stumbling over a number of Grouse and causing me to jump out of my skin I was in the chosen area, which was to stalk along the edge of the forestry which was on my right, with open fell as far as you can see too my left.
I set off at a steady pace as it was still a little on the dark side keeping to the edge of the forestry, and constantly glassing the fell in front. It was only a matter of minutes before I heard the eary whistle of a Sika in the Forestry and sounded within a 100 yards maximum of my location.
I kept going as it was the Sika coming back to the Forestry after feeding out onto the fell during the moonlit night that would offer me a better chance of a shot. I had now stalked along the edge for about 500 yards with nearly constant whistling coming from the forestry.
In front was a gentle rise up to what looked like a great vantage point, as I came to the top I took great care and moved slowly to a position I could glass from. As soon as a raised my Binoculars I caught a dark outline by itself in the hollow below me, after a quick re-focus it was obvious to see it was a Sika stag and a fantastic looking beast at that. At this point there was no cover between me and the stag which was around 230yards and slowly making his way back to safety with the sun just beginning to show itself. It was around 40 yards off the forestry at this point so I dropped the sticks and crawled as close as I dare to a point which allowed me shoot with ease off the bipod. The stag was now around 200 yards, I was ready so its was just a case of steadying myself and waiting for him to turn broadside.
Looking through the scope on x18 magnification clearly showed what a fantastic stag it was and made my heart race faster than ever, after what seemed like days he presented himself, safety off, final breath, squeeze of the trigger and crack. The impact sounded good and the deer reaction looked good, he set off to my left before falling around 30 yards later.
I was totally over the moon, so I sat there soaking in a little early morning sun, after a few minutes I set of to find the fallen stag shaking with excitement, after a little carful searching I found him and what a fantastic beast it was, 8 points, wide span, ivory white tips, big body weight and the biggest neck I have seen on a Sika to date.
The stag was bled and grolloched, it was now around 7:30 so I rang back informing of the good news and more importantly to get picked up as I was long way from my vehicle.
I sat there for 20 minutes before being picked up, soaking up the whole event and made me realise why I stalk and one thing is for certain I will never forget that morning! Especially when he is on my wall in a few months time, hopefully with a medal round his neck!