Sika in the snow. part 1
Sunday morning, 4am and set off for Inverness with brother in law in tow, this was to be his first stalking experience.
A detour off the M6 to collect Howard Heywood who was going to guide me and see if I could connect with a Sika hind.
After an easy 7hr drive we arrived at the digs just outside Inverness and decamped with the intention of getting straight out onto the ground. We met up with a good friend of Howards and then proceeded to the stalking ground.
Ive seen deer tracks before but nothing like this. There were tracks and scrapes everywhere. Some may have been a day or two old in the snow but there was obviously a good number on Sika about.
Walking along a ride in the trees we where whistled by a deer that had obviously spotted us.
This was the first time I had heard a sika whistle and what a strange noise it is, how do they do that?
We intended to stalk along a forest track and, as the light faded, end up at the top of a clearing where the sika had been observed travelling down from the wood as darkness descended.
As the going in the snow had been slow ( it was like walking on a carpet of Jacobs crackers the ground was so crispy) we decided to quickly walk to the clearing area and get in position.
We walked up the forest track and, just reaching a crest in the road, what do we spot but a nice sika hind looking right at us at about 60yds.
No time for setting the bipod here, it was rifle on my hand, safety off and bang.
The initial reaction to the shot made me think I may have pulled the shot and connected with the gut as the deer hunched its back and ran off to the right into the forest with two other followers.
We waited a minute or two and decided if it was gut shot we should try and follow it up immediately.
As we walked up the track I found the mark and following the blood trail found the hind only 10-12yds from where she’d been shot quite dead.
After a couple of pictures I opened the carcass to stop it gassing up but didn’t perform a grollach as we would be collected and taken to Ians exceptionally well equipped game larder to clean the carcass.
Back at Ians larder a very efficient grollach was performed by Ian as the freezing conditions didn’t really lend themselves to a level 2 demo (it was about -20 at the time)
The grollach showed that the shot was spot on so I was happy with that. Larder weight was 62lb, with plenty of fat around the kidneys and rear end.
Handshakes all round as this was my first Sika and a second first for me stalking with Howard as he’d put me on my first fallow only a few weeks earlier in Monmouth.
A hot shower in the digs and back to Ians as he’d prepared a superb meal of roast pheasant with all the trimmings, a fantastic way to end the first day in the presence of two real gentlemen.