Thursday morning saw me thrashing up the M6 to meet with Jamross65 at his stalking ground in the borders.
Once I left the motorway the roads were about as bad as you could imagine being coated in a layer of ice so it was with some relief I arrived at the appointed meeting place.
Off we went onto the estate and Jamross explained what we were going to do.
I made my way to a high seat taking about 45mins to get there, all the time keeping an eye open for any signs of deer. I say any signs, what I should say is any signs of moving deer, the signs of deer where everywhere, crotties, slots, browse damage, track lines, everything you would want to see to get the excitement levels up.
My little angel Bonnie was with me and didnt know where to turn to next going on hard point several times as we made our way through the rides to the high seat, obviously she could clearly smell what I couldnt see but I guess thats sika for you anyway.
Arriving at the high seat I settled the dog and clomed up into position, rain wiping my face as it just about froze on the way down.
After about 30 mins the angelic puppy below me stood and and gave me that look of 'oi you tit theyre there in front of you' and looking down to my left along the edge of the wood an absolute beauty of a sika hind stepped out about 5 feet onto the clear fell. Rifle up, cross hairs on target and....................she took off only to be followed by about 30 more sika as they broke cover and ran for about 60yds onto the clear fell. The lead hind then stopped so it was cross hairs on her again only for one of the other hinds to move directly behind her quickly followed by another. Thinking back I could probably have taken the shot but I'm happy with the decision not to. A quick look to see if anything else was clear but before I could even move the rifle they were off again to about 200 yds and hopping over the fence into the higher piece of forest, I moved the rifle onto them in case one of did the a la fox trick and stop for a last look before disappearing but no. Nothing else showed so it was down and a stop for a bite of lunch back at the vehicles.
After lunch I was to stalk further on from where I'd tracked left to the high seat and then reach the end of the forest track and make my way back to the same high seat for the last hour. Again the little angelic GWP puppy (shes 14 months now and its amazing how her eating habits have changed, she no longer needs a cocker spaniel or a labrador in her diet on a daily basis and has settled down to a cracking stalking companion) gave hard point several times and there were lots of fresh crotties about. As I cleared the forest onto the upper part of some clear fell I could just feel the wind on the back of my neck and seconds later a hind and calf took off from over the next rise about 60yds away, no doubt having winded me. Again I was ready in the blink of an eye but they didnt stop dropping down to the forest to my right.
Getting to the high seat I waited until dark but didnt see anything come out.
Thanks again Jamross for a fantastic day on some stunning ground and I look forward to trying to catch up with a sika again soon.