Saturday 19th May couldn’t come soon enough, I’d had my first ever stalk booked for about a month with Scotty at Blagdon Estate, Northumberland. It had come about on the recommendation of a mate of mine, Steve, who couldn’t speak highly enough about the place and the guide Keith Scott.
Arrived at the larder at 18.00 prompt and was made to feel comfortable immediately by Scotty who proceeded to give me the forms to fill in. Filled with anticipation and nerves I chucked my gear in the Jimny and drove to a field to shoot a target 100yds away to check my aim! Thank god I managed to hit the bull off a fence post with one shot and the edge of the 5”circle off the sticks…. Good enough for Mr Scott and relief for me as I’d never shot off sticks before and was wobbling all over the place!
We first stalked quietly through a wood, glassing a Doe browsing and the odd white tail flashing away before us. Nothing doing. Next we headed towards a ride which disappeared over the brow of a hill, Keith told me to approach the brow slowly keeping my eyes peeled for a target animal. I did exactly that….. only to hear Keith calling me back as I’d completely missed a young buck feeding to the right. I moved back carefully and positioned myself against a conveniently sited Doe box, the buck was broadside on about 60-70yds, I managed to check my breathing and shaking and let the shot off. The animal dropped about 15 yds. from where I’d shot him. I was the happiest man in the world!! Gralloched by Keith, in the roe sack and off back to the Jimny. Night over? No! Keith said we had plenty of time for another so off we went!
Eventually we positioned ourselves under a tree next to a field opposite a wood. After a quick smoke and some glassing around, a pair of antlers appeared on the edge of the wood, hesitant at first, the buck stayed hidden by the contour of the field then went back in the wood. Then we heard it barking and it broke cover and started charging around the field coming towards us. It knew something wasn’t quite right and appeared quite edgy at first but eventually it stopped broadside just long enough for me to get the shot off. My second ever buck dropped on the spot! 55lbs gralloched. Keith reckons it was about 5-6 years old and boss of that area!
An absolute pleasure, a night that I will never forget. Scotty is a top man and I’m a happy man. Can’t wait to get back up there!