Just got back from a trip up north firstly to some ground north of Inverness and then back down to near Dumfries .
Sika was the reason for the most northerly patch ,travelling up last Tuesday .The ground is leased by a gentlemen off the site that you all know and is approximately 250 acres of forestry in some prime sika country .The first morning Matt and myself set off up the left side into the wind with me on the outside of the trees by the open hill
Matt stalked up the forest track .We both passed up roe that first morning and what a bad move that turned out to be .I saw 6 shootable roe with local seeing a further three but no sika .Adjorned for breakfast and then went back ,deciding on separate stalks through the many rides that criss cross the patch.
I did see five sika that afternon but they were ,i have to say much better at the game than me and departed very swiftly into the fir ,very dense fir i have to say, pitch black underneath in daylight . This pattern continued the next morning with Matt seeing only two the whole time we were there and myself very frustrated that i couldnt get off a shot .Totally different from what i know and you definately earn every deer shot here thats a fact .The next day was very frosty with a biting wind and i knew they wouldnt be out on the cold rides but the frost hung all day where the wind didnt reach so catch 22.Our original plan was to try for a goat further down at Castle Douglas but a phone call to check on days revealed they dont shoot on Sundays so plans were made to leave a day earlier to maybe salvage a shot or two before the long jorney home .
Found a hotel and waited for the dawn on Saturday .Drove the 2 mile track to the meeting place at the estate office and met the head stalker.Very cold here too with a hoare frost the night before .Drove to our starting point with the excitement growing in both of us as this really as something new.Matt followed the stalker and i walked in his footsteps through the extremely frosty ,soft ground composing of reeds and spagnum moss with the odd deep hole for good measure as the stalker found out :whistling:
We rounded a corner to see a sheer face of rock and heather with a loch at the base and stopped to glass the tops for goats .Nothing in view here so stalked on around the tree line and glassed again .The sun was just on the tops now so the stalker said wed get a chance of spooting some soon .
Anyway it wasnt to be here so off we drove to another spot the other end of the loch .Straight away we spied a pack of goats that the stalker said were nannies and one of them was huge with the kidding season soon here .To see them picking their way along crevices as they grazed was incredible .
Further along, the excitement grew as a pack of billies were spotted by all at the very peak and making their way along slowly to a gully where we hoped they would start feeding.
A route was chosen by the stalker and explained in detail to and we tagged along trying to eep up as best we could .Our hearts were pounding as the ground got steeper and steeper with us having to kneel and grab the heather for pull ups .The stalker stopped for a glass but we both knew it was to let us have a breather bless him .All of a sudden the pack of four billies came into view ,closer than they had been .Three mature and a small yearling we were told .We hit the heather as one and watched as they stared in our direction with the largest appearing to be very wary .At last they relaxed to graze and i took a quick snap much to Matts disgust :tongue2:incase i spooked them .
A route was chosen to get around them and off we went hurredly when all eyes were averted .The stalker was off well in front telling us to hang back a bit until he spotted the again .Motioning us forward we were to crawl up to a heather clad rock and shoot our targets together .It was now we both realized we hadnt bolted a round yet and so had to do that first :icon_redface:
When we crawled up to the spot they were no-where to be seen :icon_redface:.The stalker went on again and luckily found the pack about 70 yds on over a ridge and motioned us again ,this time fully ready . Same thing again ,up to a heather clad rock nearly to the top .After backing off and whispers we agreed to shoot on a nod then the count of three once we both had a goat in our sights .Well we wernt prepared for the closeness of the goats them being only 25 yds away . The nod followed by the count of three and simutaneous shots were followed by the realization that wed both shot the same goat ,the only one on full veiw to us :icon_redface: .
The shots of course alerted the other two big fellows one of which ran to my right or rather shuffled as goats do and i shot it on the move free hand .At that shot the biggest goat came over the hill and stopped staring us for a moment but fully skylined .Waiting until it dropped below ,Matt took him which made for three on the grass.I looked back at the stalker and asked if wed done wrong but he said no that was fine so hand shakes all round and the customary pics to follow.Three good heads we were told one of which was a trophy.
The brown goat was the unfortunate who got a double dose by the way .
The biggest and oldest was a splay head with the other two swept back .
Cracking backdrop to the pics you will agree .
The drag down the hill was eventful as part of it was sheer and covered in ice ,something that didnt bother us on the way up it seemed :blink:Ropes were used to lower the goats to a ledge and then we dragged them the rest with them wanting to spin your wrist off .Very hard drag on the flat that left both local and me sweating profusely trying to keep up wth the stalker .Cracking end to a cracking visit .