I was speaking to a local grouse keeper last night, and he happened to mention that 2 people both he and I know, had seen a sika stag in an area near Lauder in the borders. Both these people are shooting men and claim that what they saw on 2 different occasions (a day or two apart), was a sika stag.
By road, the nearest population of sika is just over 20 miles away but in a straight line is much less and across open hill and some forestry with 2 main ('ish for the borders) roads to cross, the A7 and the A68.
What's interesting is a very good friend of mine who has stalking westwards of this sighting, just outside Lauder (closer to the known population), swears blind he saw a sika about 3 years ago on his hill ground. I suggested he was mistaken as there was nothing to compare it in size to and the light was going, but when it ran off he went over and found the slot marks which were far bigger than roe. He has shot a few sika as well and obviously knows what they look like. I cannot remember if his sighting was at a time when the stags would have antler or not.
I have read and heard of stags, red in particular, travelling great distances to reach hinds in oestrus and one story from an old Stalking magazine refers to a tame red hind becoming impregnated, with the nearest known population of red being over 50miles away. A stalking mate of mine with a lot of experience on sika once watched a stag chasing trying to cover a mare Shetland pony in a field!!! This same friend was called to dispatch a sika stag injured in an RTA on the Edinburgh road, a few miles north of Peebles so they will cross these thoroughfares which at night are pretty quiet.
Any thoughts or comment on similar experiences or sightings?