This is my first post to introduce myself on the forum and I am hoping to claim the record for the largest ever first post.
My name is Andrew and I am 39 years old from London married with two kids aged 6 and 8. I work as an IT manager.
I have held SGC for about 4 years and have done a bit of pigeon decoying and more recently some wildfowling. I have lots of full bore experience from time in the air cadets and OTC/TA (.303”, 7.62mm, 5.56mm, 9mm). I held RAF Marksman at one time. I have owned and shot air rifles since I was 13. I never considered moving onto other weapons, because shotguns were for grown-ups. A few years ago I was standing in the garden watching my kids play, pondering on my mortgage and perhaps moving to a bigger place when it struck me that I was now, in fact, a grown-up. As soon as we moved house, I bought and installed a 7 rifle lock-top Bratton Sound in the cellar and applied for my SGC.
I have shot Muntjac with a stalker advertised on the Go Shooting website. I have also attended a pre-DSC1 course (in all but name) a couple of years ago. I don’t want to name names, but for various reasons I wouldn’t use either again. Both were excellent experience, for the complete novice, but I’d like to seek my shooting elsewhere from now on..
I have shooting permission for shotgun on land in Essex, which carries Muntjac, Fallow and Roe. I have previously been refused FAC use on rabbits by the landowner of the larger permission since he said that he “already has too many people licensed for firearms on his land.” He does not, however, have anyone currently shooting the deer. I have not seen significant numbers of Roe, but the fallow population is definitely burgeoning. I am seeing more Muntjac as well. I haven’t approached him again. He is a great bloke, but everything I have asked of him, he has refused; all that I have is what he has generously offered. This is the way with some people, but I'm not complaining.
I am unclear how too many fallow may impact him adversely; he farms beans, wheat and rape. I have asked his son if he knows any stalkers in the area and he said that he will ask around. This could have two benefits in that firstly, they may be willing to take me out stalking and secondly, I can liaise on deer management in the area.
I have not approached the landowner of my smaller permission. This land is, in my view, an exceptional prospect for stalking. The topography gives a lot of safe shooting opportunities. I do not know if the land is cleared, but I would like to apply for 6.5 X 55. Naturally, this will be a decision for the FLO, but I am confident that it will be cleared. The land is not agricultural or forestry land, so the landowner doesn’t really have an incentive to control the deer. Perhaps I should just grow some ****s and ask him?
My plan was to pass DSC1 and apply for grant of FAC before approaching the landowner(s). I wanted to demonstrate serious intent. I spoke to a local FLO (I live in the Met. Police area). He stated that he wanted to see written permission on land before grant of a certificate. This would cover just cause, but if I am refused that does rather scotch my plans. He also mentioned that he would ask for mentoring. I said quite politely that this will be a problem; no mentor is available to me. I had hoped that DSC1 and evidence of paid days would be sufficient just-cause.
I also spoke to BASC who were great, both the deer management and firearms teams. They were really approachable and gave me lots of their time. So what I think I need to do now is to get some stalking under my belt and provide signed proof to the visiting FLO.
I plan to look and pay for accompanied stalking on cull animals, preferably in Essex or Herts, but I can stay overnight in Kent and East Sussex. I am not particularly drawn to buck stalking for trophies and would be more than happy to shoot does/hinds. I can see the attraction of the real stalk, but as a novice I am more than happy to use high seat for a while. I think that I will go to the Kings Forest scheme for an outing, although I think that it is quite expensive. The estate rifle is a .223” which doesn’t appeal. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so sniffy? Reading posts on the forum, the scheme seems to be highly rated though.
I have booked DSC1 with BASC in Pulborough in November. I wanted something sooner, but I understand that the assessment centre in Pulborough is a good facility and I can stay with friends in Horsham.
Why do I want to stalk? Mainly, it is the deep joy of wild food. I love serving up something novel to friends. I wouldn’t call it “free” because once all the expense is taken into account I reckon it costs more per pound than wild truffle. Another reason is just to be out in nature. I was once lying on a river bank near Winchester on a May morning before dawn, watching a stalker in a high seat. Yards away from me a water vole was casually going about his business, whilst a barn owl ghosted silently through the woods in front. You can’t buy that.
(Well you can actually - £265 for a 2 day course, if memory serves me right).
Well, that’s me and my plans. Perhaps you are worried by the size of this first post, but please don’t be. I don’t post very frequently on forums where I am a member and I try to get to the point quickly (honestly).
Looking forward to reading all your posts and learning from the experts.