Well, last night at approx 18:00 as we lost the light I learnt what a bitter pill it can be to swallow to have paid nearly £Ton for the pleasure of sitting in a high seat for a couple of hours, freezing your nuts off, and not having the chance to even raise your rifle - compounded by the fact this was my first "guided" outing.
But this, unfortunately, we all know is the reality of stalking!
I've not done a write up yet, mainly because I've not bloody well shot anything yet, but here's a quick summary...
Context - I've owned my rifle now about 2 years. Have a little land (30 acres + 70 acres) with a few munties on, both require high seats. I've built a high seat (some might recall some 9 months ago) but due to children, demanding wife, times to travel to the shooting grounds, work commitments, etc. etc. I've never had the seat up nor have I actually laid my cross hairs on a munty on either land. So, we discussed my predicament (my wife and I) at Xmas and decided the best option was to pay for a few outings, at least I'd "up" my chance of success
Thursday 3rd March.
Arrive at 3pm. Quick coffee. Down the the range for a quick prove-you-can-shoot-straight test. Put 3 rounds through the same hole at 100m
Guide tells me there's a block of wood that has recently been cut back to allow regeneration and he needs to make sure the munty population is kept down so the regeneration is a success.
We park up 200m or so from the wood, get kitted up, and begin our stalk in to find an appropriate high seat. Millions of hares, not seen so many in years !
After about 15 mins heading down a ride we bump a munty not 20m away, but it is in an area of wood that has not been thinned and we see it's hairy white arse bouncing gaily off into the wood without any chance of a shot.
We head on through the wood, see through the trees about 6 roe moving along the outside perimeter of the wood, but they're a good 250m away. And then after another 5 mins we catch a glimse of a munty about 100m away shuffling through the undergrowth. Again, impossible to get a shot on it from where we were stood due to the barriers between us and it. Stalking closer and it scarpered.
We eventually arrived at a highseat overlooking a large area of ground that had been thinned considerably - made the area look kind of dead - and I soon found out it made the area feel kind of dead too. We parked our bums up the tree and settled for what turned out to be a long, hard, fruitless wait.
Nothing moved, not even birds seemed to sing nearby (we could hear distant pheasants & other wildlife). It was odd seeing almost no wildlife around us, kind of erie, and made the wait so much longer. At about 17:55, almost no light left, I spotted movement about 100m away, but alas on closer inspection it was a young roe buck. Shortly after I heard the hoot of an owl and I knew time was nearly up...
At about 18:00 we called it a day and I went home a few quid lighter and still a virgin...
(this was written in no way to criticise my guide and I'm sure he's as gutted as I - that's life unfortuntely)