Calling Sika Stags out is something new to many stalkers. Most have tried calling Roe, and with a Butulo in your pocket and the Roe rut in full swing chances are if there is a Buck in your area you will get him to come over and say hello.
Sika are a different kettle of fish, and do not always come to the call so easily. Some years back the in thing in Scotland was the Acme Predator call. Everyone was using them, with a good a good success rate, and I have stuck with this for a while now. However the Screree Elk call is more succesfully used by many stalkers, although I always seem to fail with this call. Probably me blowing it the wrong way
Anyway, the time I want to recall to you all is about 7 years past. It was the middle of the Sika rut, early October and I was managing a 12000 acre area in the highlands of Scotland. The area was alive with Japs and Reds, and I now have the lease next door, as after 10 years of managing this area it was sold
Both George and myself had two brother from Virginia, USA. A real couple of red necks, shooting 7mm mags, plenty of gun!! I had decided to take the north side of the property that morning, and had parked off the dirt road that ran through the middle of the estate. George decide to take the opposite side of the river, which meant a short walk of about 10 minutes to cross one of the old suspension bridges that spanned the river.
It was not yet light enough to see when I left the truck with one of the two brothers. But as usual I asked him to load up and put one in with the safety on and shoulder the rifle, whilst walking just to the side of me.
The forest was man made 50 years old and untouched since planted. There was a number of fire breaks which criss crossed the 700 acre block, and one main ride which was infront of us led staright up a steep hill and onto the open hill. My aim was to stalk the fire break and eventually come out on the open hill and in the early mornignlight try and catch a Stag coming in from the nights feeding.
After checking the area with my Zeiss nightowl bino's we move forward and proceded to stalk the steep firebreak in front of us. I knew about 300yds in front of us was a lone alder tree with a wallow underneath it, and intended on calling when we got near. We could hear Red Stags roaring as the light came up, but not a sound of a whistle from a Sika. On our arrival at the wallow, I told the client to get ready, as there would be little time to take aim if a Sika appeared to the call.
I blew hard on the Acme call to try and get the pitch right, and as I took the call from my mouth, the movement of the clients arm bringing the rifle to his shoulder caught my eye, as I looked to my right there stood a magnificent 8 point Sika Stag in the early morning gloom, stretching and moving his head and neck from side to side to see what the hell we were.
The 7mm mag took the beast throught the shoulders quartering as the shot was quick and almost instant. It lifted the Stag off its feet and dropped it in a heap, the range was less than 30yds. As we walked up to the beast I was amazed to see it try and crawl and kick itself back into the forest edge. This was a time when I wish I had a handgun to dispatch it and put it out of its misery. But in this instance we grabbed the antlers and used a knife between the ribs, not a pleasant way to dispatch a deer, but better than trying to shoot it at point blank range with a 7mm mag.
I looked at my watch and it was 30 minutes since we left the truck, this was the quickest time I have ever shot a big Sika Stag. Needless to say the client was over the moon, and the photo below shows George and the two clients with the Stag.
Calling Sika is one thing that really gets the adrenaline going, if it works they can come popping out of no where, but you had better be ready, because once they know what you are they are off, and that can take a Sika a heartbeat to figure out.