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Thread: When is dusk too dark?

  1. #1

    When is dusk too dark?

    I went out last night with the intention of catching up with a stag and his harem on my patch.

    After watching from a spy point for 30 minutes I saw a stag following a hind towards the high woods, I thought they may stop in the field before the wood and behind a stand of fir, so I moved forward to the corner of the wood, but nothing there.

    After sitting tucked into the fence for 15 minutes the light was going, when a parcel of hinds trotted out, didn't know what to make of me and after some intitial suspicion carried on. No sign of the stag but some grunting from the high wood above me.

    He chased a roebuck out before it got too dark to shoot, and then he stepped forward himself, I lifted the rifle and had a look through the scope, I knew it was the stag, from the noise and shape of him but couldn't make out any detail. It was a very gloomy night with low cloud and mist around the ridges.

    My question is this: Up to what point of darkness would you consider a straightforward 100yard shot on familair ground.viable (assuming it is within the 1 hour of sunset and no artificial aids etc.)

  2. #2
    IMO if you cant clearly make out what you are shooting at, then its time to put the gun back in its slip and call it a night. It's all very well if the beast goes down, but what if your shot was further back due to a quartering stance which you couldnt notice due to the gloom. Then the animal runs on a way, and you aren't sure of the point of initial impact, not 100% sure on direction, and you may end up with a headache on your hands trying to retrieve a wounded beast.

  3. #3

    Hence my reluctant decision, march boundary was only 30 yards away and thick woodland.

    5 minutes earlier though.....

  4. #4
    I always think
    1 you have got to find it if it runs
    2 it is very dangerous trying to gralloch in bad light even with head torch
    3 nothing worse than a drag over bad ground in the dark a broken leg or spike of antler in your back is at best painful.
    suppose i have shot a lot of deer and now think carefully before pulling the trigger thats when the work begins.
    Another thing too much pressure will turn woodland deer nocternal.
    My opinion you did the right thing

  5. #5
    Only you can answer your own question. Not every ones eyes are the same some can see better in the gloom than others so no one else can tell you what your asking.

    It was a storm blowing in off the Channel which brought home to me the need for decent optics It was afternoon still and we were stalking some Roe Does around a small valley in the south face of the South Downs when the storm blew in. The rain came down in sheets and the light simply vanished. Instead of 3pm it was more like 8pm. Tony my stalker/guide could clearly see the target Doe through his Zeiss Night owls however my own 8x30 binoculars were shown to be lacking of resolution and the scope on my rifle through it I could even make out which way she was standing so called it it. No point of taking the shot not being able to see which end was which. I cannot remember the make of scope on the rifle at the time (probably a Nikko Sterling at that time) but it was after that I started to switch over to makes such as Pecar, Khales, Lisnefeld, Zeiss , in fact what ever I could find used and in my price bracket. Have never encountered such a storm since then either but then again have not spent that much time on the south face of the South Downs in winter either so .

  6. #6
    Definitely the right call. Terrain, weather, extraction routes, presence of a dog, what kit you have, etc - you have got to factor in all of those thoughts before you take the shot. There are places where you wouldn't take a shot at a stag with less than 2 hours of daylight remaining. Taking a shot at the very last possible moment of visibility gives precisely no margin for error and ensures that everything after the shot takes place in darkness.

  7. #7

    Seeing the beast you want to shoot is one thing. Seeing what might be behind it is another. Given the number of other deer in the area it sounds like you've done the right thing.



  8. #8
    He'll be there again,whereas if you'd mucked the shot up he wouldn't be
    Better to do as you have and connect with him a wee bit earlier than wound him
    Woodland red tend to act like this up here too,mr stag comes out after hinds on next to no light,if on stubble it's easier than grass to make his outline stand up

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  9. #9
    I've done a gralloch in the car headlights.... it's not fun.
    Shooting last light is not something I'd consider now unless I had help
    "It's halfway down the hill, directly below that tree next to a rock that looks like a bell-end"

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  10. #10
    There will always be another day/chance.


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