Posted 07 October 2010 20:30 Dear all
Just had confirmation the Sika I shot last year in the hunt report below has made Gold. Needless to say I'm very happy.
I posted this a year ago but I don't think on here so thought I would post for anyone interested.
Sorry for the cheesey style it is written in. Think I was in high spirits at the time.
It is a while since I have taken the time to compile a real romper so thought it was about time I did.
I have not been back long after travelling upto Dumfireshire for Red Stags and then over to the Borders to catch up with the ever elusive Dawyck bloodline Sika! Hunt period was 21st to 27th Sept inclusive.
First of all a run down on equipement etc used.
Rifle was my 7mm Rem Mag using 160 grn Sierra Game Kings with 67 grns RL22 behind going out at circa 2950 feet.
Scope was NXS 3.5-15x50 and then a quick change for the Sika and slapped on my S&B 3-12x50 illuminated (fine ret).
Before all this started and especially at this time of year I always ramp up the fitness levels. The hills in the Borders can be lung busters and to make sure I had the best chance possible of connecting with one of these magnificent animals I increased the CV fitness levels by a routine of a 6 mile run Mon, Weds and Fridays with a 3 miler on the tuesday and thursdays. Atleast I could make ground more easily then if I spotted a nice Stag out on the hill or in fact just to be prepared for every eventuality.
Another job was to check zero of my rig and even though I have my own range in a friends field, the 4 days running upto the 21st were horrendous weather wise. It was blowing a gale and the rain was horizontal.
I resolved this by taking a trip to Mike Dickenson's at Carlton Moor range. Mike can't do enough for you and nothing is too much bother and it is a fantastic facilty which is only 45 mins away from home.
Loads and zero checked this rifle prints sub half groups consistently and it was time to pack all the gear.
Onto Griffs place and I jetted up the M6 (well not exactly as I take it easy these days and am into economy - yawn) and made good time to get upto Griffs ground to try for a Red Stag.
We had been glassing the area in pervious weeks but hadn't seen any bigguns out on the open area of hill but we were confident that come the rut this would change.
We took the Kwaker 650 quad and the hill trailer to enable an easy extraction in case we managed to connect. We got out on the ground a little later than expected but just in time to glass a very nice mature stag mooching out of the mature forestry and out onto the open hill.
We plotted a course and hatched out a plan. The wind was PERFECT and so it was full steam ahead. We could make out a parcel of hinds on the hill and this big boy was making his way out to them. Early on as he was making his way up the hill he let out a full blown roar and started to knock about a wooden frame with his antlers which is used in connection with the sheep out on the hill. There was alot of roaring going on and it surprised me as it was fairly early on with regards to the rut.
As always with reds you think that just over the next hill they will be there. Carefully creeping creeping up to peer over the top. Hang on a minute. How did he get over there?! You know the type of thing. He had covered alot of ground and we had to make up the gap before the hinds he was with would rumble us.
Off we went hot in pusuit just like Sheriff JW Pepper (NOBODY cuts and runs on Sheriff JW Pepper) . We made up alot of ground in quick fashion and then we could make out his super antlers peeping out over the millenia grass. At this point he was about 250 yards away. I then crawled on my belly to get into a good positon on him. As careful as I was and after getting into the final position, he knew something was up. Not sure if he spotted me full on as it were or if the hinds were spooked but he looked over in our direction and I knew I only had a couple of seconds to make the shot. At this point he had also truned slightly quartered onto me. Time to send that 160 grn 7mil pill on its way. The shot was good and we both heard a reassuring and resounding thwack as the bullet entered the left shoulder and transited through the lung area and out the other side.
There was only a slight reaction to the shot as he gave a slight flinch and then walked for about 30 yards as if not touched. It was over though and he collapsed only to release the last breath of D&G air he was to breath as he dropped onto the ground on one side.
I was over the moon and he was a super super stag and a quality 10 pointer.
I have only shot 4 Galloway Stags and one of the other 3 was of a similar quality to this one but not as big in body size. They are a true prize to behold and on the hook he weighed in at 132 KGs or for our American breathren 290 lbs.
I was eternally grateful to Griff as I don't think either of us expected to connect so early on with such a magnificent beast.
Back to base for tea and cakes as they say and then up early the next morning to try for another. It was a successful morning and I managed to bag a young knobber just before it started to absolutely chuck it down. We were both wet to the skin as we were in the rain for a good hour and we then got back to the truck and unwittingly took our pants off (I can hear you say "eh up here we go") so we didn't drench the seats and other soaked garnments. Then we both errupted with laughing as we realised what the scene would look like to any passers by. Broke Back Mountain comes to mind
Anyhow, we had a change of clothers and something to eat and then back out as we had seen a switch the previous night which Griff was going to try for.
Back out again and visibility was about 60 yards. The cloud base was low as we are quite high up and we thought it was a potential write off. Not to be. The cloud lifted and visibility was restored once again. We spotted another big stag out to our right hand side coming out of the trees and out onto the hill. He was a biggun possibly bigger then the one I had shot the night before. We started to talk about whether we should hatch out a plan to try for him. We started to close the distance (800 yards) while we were plotting but as we did, the switch came into view on the opposite side. We left the big boy and Griff got my NXS suited to his eye and we made an approach. I had the vid camera and tri pod and Griff had my 7 mag.
He was following a hind and a calf out onto the hill and once he was out of site we made up the dead ground. Emerging from a gulley Griff got the rifle into position. As soon as he had got into position Griff sent another 7mil 160 grn on its way and I wasn't anticipating him taking the shot so quickly. I did still manage to get some footage and the staggie was down. Got heart and lung shot and again much celebration.
Anyway all in all a super 1.5 days was had and it was time for me to pack up and head over to the Borders for round 2.
The weather had picked up tremendously and after I got ensconsed I met my guide Dougie for the first time in nearly a year.
Dougie was in fine fettle and had said he had seen plenty of Sika moving around the place and they were starting to get out onto the open hill a bit as the rut was approaching.
The format here is that you are given a 1:10,000 Landranger map and shown a 3 hour route. Dougie drops you off and then picks you up at dark at the end of the route. The hills are fairly hefty steep sided things and it is a definite advantage to have a certain level of fitness to get about the place.
Once out onto the hill I decieded to hold up for half an hour to glass over a gulley which led from the treeline out onto the hill in the hope that I might catch a stag mooching out onto the hill. Actually after about half an hour I very luckily just caught a glimpse of some movement in my perphiperal vision to the left. I glanced round with my binos - BLOODY HELL!!!
A mature magnificent 8 pointer must have jumped the sheep fence without me seeing him. How did he do that? I got into position as he was good to take but another 20 yards and he would be out of sight and I would have had to make a compromised approach on him. Quickly into position and up for the shot. No, no good. I thought I had more clearance. Quick up again and adjust positon before he disappears. Bugger he won't stop. Just as I was about to send one as he was walking he stopped. Bingo and another 7 mil on its way. Again an almighty thwack as the bullet hit flesh and bone. A high shoulder shot was the order of the day to anchor these terrificly resilient animals.
He was down and I couldn't believe how lucky I was. The hunting gods were certainly looking down on me tonight. This was the result:-
I couldn't believe it and I was delighted. Back to meet Dougie just as it was getting dark and then the hard work of retrieving this super beast.
Out the next morning and half way into the route I made out a couple of hinds on the treeline. I made an approach just in case and came round a hill to pop up below them only to find this small 8 knocking around with them and a quick sitting shot made sure he was in the bag.
He was in a tricky place and we had to go and get the Argo to extract him.
Then cup of tea time back at base.
The scenery here is stunning and I find the place compelling to come back to. Just some pics to give you an impression of what it is like.
My thanks to Dougie for making one of my main hunting ambitions come true and hope you enjoyed the ride.
PS going to our patch in Gloucestershire this weekend to try for a Fallow and then up to D&G the weekend after so there maybe a part 2 and 3 to come. No that is tempting fate so I will take that back.