Being a newcomer to deer stalking and getting my first deer only a couple of weeks ago I was looking for an opportunity to gain more experience and also learn more about deer in general and to get more experience in gralloching and butchery so was very happy to see the recent post from Andrew (Buckbones) offering a day culling 2 red stags and the chance to learn to gralloch, skin and butcher the deer as well - this was exactly what I was looking for !
A couple of PM's and a phone call later and I was booked in to meet up with Andrew on Monday just gone.
We spent a few hours in the morning on his range just checking my shooting ability and shot placement and then off to cull the 2 stags. Not being fortunate to have seen red stags up close before I was immediately surprised by their sheer size - having only shot a Roe Buck before they were somewhat bigger lol !
We worked our way into a shooting position and Andrew pointed out the first stag that had to be culled. I tried to get myself into a comfortable position behind the rifle but due to the angle I was at on the hill I just couldn't - no problem, no pressure, we just worked our way along to an easier position. From the new position we waited until a shot presented itself and down went my first Red Stag - a nice 14 pointer !
We made our way down to him and I will admit now that I was gobsmacked with how big he was ! Andrew took me through the gralloch - and it's proper 'hands on' learning not just watching and then it was time for the second stag to be culled. As with the first no pressure to take the shot and we worked ourselves into a shooting position and once the shot presented itself down went my 2nd Red Stag - an 8 pointer. This time it was me performing the gralloch under Andrew's supervision and then time to get both the carcasses back to the larder.
For the rest of the day Andrew demonstrated how to skin and prepare/butcher the deer. Once again this is proper hands on instruction, not just watching someone else do it - what an experience to have culled, gralloched, skinned then butchered the deer - exactly what I was looking to learn and gain experience in
I had a great day, a great experience with no pressure at all and Andrew is clearly someone who is keen to share his knowledge, skills and experience and I came away knowing a hell of a lot more than I did at the start of the day - I would recommend him to any one new to deer stalking who is looking to learn and experience what I did - it's money well spent !
Here are my two reds and a picture of me at the start of the larder work...