This is a write up & a massive thank you to PATRICK CROFT GUNMAKERS for a superb morning stalk last Sunday.
For those who missed it, Patrick recently introduced himself in the relevant section of the forum and became a trade member. See this thread: http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.u...893-This-is-me
Well I was the lucky newbie to first respond to Patrick’s kind offer of a free stalk and it was a wonderful experience.
Patrick’s has a seriously impressive workshop, office, gun room and larder. Take a look at the pictures on his website (http://www.patrickcroftgunmakers.co.uk) to see that he also has available a log cabin available to accommodate clients.
We had a discussion about my experience to date (passed DSC 1 a year ago and been on 3 paid stalks) and I was also able to show Patrick my recently purchased Parker Hale 7x57. To date I haven’t achieved a decent group with it so I’m not that confident with it. Patrick now has the rifle to check it out and I have every confidence that he will identify any problems and sort them.
We agreed that I would therefore use one of Patrick’s estate rifles and had a short drive in the Land Rover out to the piece of ground he’d chosen. We saw plenty of Roe in fields during the journey and in family groups numbering 12-15 – I’ve never seen them congregate in those numbers before!
On arriving at the ground we had the safety brief and familiarisation with the chosen rifle. We then set off along a wood edge bordering a large rape field. It was a still, frosty morning with the sun just rising. Within a couple of hundred yards we bumped a group of Roe.
Within what seemed like a split second Patrick had sexed them and told me to get ready and to take the doe on the right if they stopped. Sure enough they did stop for a few seconds and then they were off again. Guess who was still trying to get into position and find his sight picture! Lesson learnt – practice getting into position quickly.
We moved on and found two more out in the neighbouring field and they were busy feeding. There followed a good stalk moving across a rape field covered in frozen leaves from the wood. It really was like trying to move silently whilst treading on crisp packets. We had a hedge between us but could clearly see the deer through it. Gradually we closed the distance and found a gap in the hedge to crawl through. I managed to get into position and Patrick had identified that we had a buck and a doe. He informed me, that if I was comfortable, to take the doe. I took the shot and was able to see the strike as the .280 Rem gave very little recoil. The doe gave the classic reaction to a heart shot and ran 15 yards into a hedge.
Patrick informed me the shot was good and I made safe. We waited a while and then closed in to find the doe clean shot through the heart. Here is a photo:
Patrick went to get the rover and whilst waiting I observed a number of Roe a few fields away. I thought that was the outing over but to my surprise we moved a short distance and were into another stalk. Again Patrick identified a suitable doe and gave me clear instructions and invited me to take the shot if I was comfortable. I’m pleased to say that I delivered another clean heart shot and therefore we had two does to gralloch.
I’d previously explained to Patrick, when we spoke on the phone, that I was really keen to get some hands on experience and learn how to gralloch properly, having learnt the theory on DSC 1.
Well I certainly got that tuition from Patrick and he gave me really comprehensive instruction. He demonstrated on the first beast and then supervised me doing the second.
In summary, Patrick is a great guy who has a wealth of experience and has a great set up. There are a lot of deer on the ground and it’s some of the most stunning countryside.
Needless to say that I will be back with Patrick as a paying guest very soon. Very highly recommended – thanks Patrick!
All the best,