Met a man with 'no name' today, a genuine stalker, and had a very interesting few hours banter about all and sundry while I was using a CZ 452 in .22lr on 100m for practice.
It was such an interesting and varied chat about deer stalking that it has completely renewed my interest in getting involved in this area of shooting, in fact I can't believe how much I have learned today, in such a small space of time, and yet I know there's so much more I need to learn that today was just the tip of the iceberg.
I'm still just a gun club member in Shropshire, albeit two of them at present, since last December, having picked up an air rifle 12 months ago and started plinking in the garden, after twenty years away from shooting within the Territorial Army, with SLR and SA80, and the realisation that I had missed it really kicked in.
My biggest problem is I'm disabled and on crutches after an accident in 1996, so you can see how perhaps I felt stalking might not really be on the agenda. Even so, with my social links I'd already been offered free Muntjac stalking on a friends land in Cambridgeshire, land that also contains Fallow, and I entertained the idea for a while. I have to admit that I joined here on finding the site, made an introduction, and then sort of lost my mojo after reading the number of people who had had a poor experience with new stalkers, in terms of loosing permissions, or the process of training and the value of a DSC. I also felt that it was probably too much to ask for anyone to take on a disabled stalker in such circumstances, due to my mobility problems; for example I really can't shoot prone, or crawl about these days.
So, back to the man with 'no name', a really genuine bloke, born and bred in the country, and not put off with a novice, disabled towny wishing to experience and train in stalking. He's given me a few names to pursue, the title of a book that seems a really good read, and more confidence that perhaps this really is something I can take up as a sport.
He was zeroing a Tikka M595 in 6.5 x 55 today, not a calibre I had immediately considered to be honest, something he was going to use this weekend for a cull in Scotland under a DEFRA Licence, so he gave me a few details and his phone number, and I finished off practice with the CZ, had lunch, and booked out a Remington 700 in .223, a rifle I am considering as a first purchase after applying for an FAC, which I plan to do in December, after 12 months with the gun club.
Just before I started, he returned to the 100m range and asked whether I'd like to put a few rounds down the range with his Tikka, well I didn't say no. What a nice deer rifle, which he told me had a worn barrel he was going to change, since he was getting sub 1 inch groups at 100m, and had previously had single hole groups when it was new. First round in a new rifle caught me a little unawares, but I was still within 2 inches of the bull, and then a total of five rounds in similar groups to what he had described, and this was worn! Completely won me over as a calibre, and has made me consider Tikka and or Sako as a contender to the Remington (which was equally accurate in .223 I found later).
So, all the practice with air rifles on a 35 metre range in my garden, and shooting .22lr with target rifles every week, such as the Winchester 52, and Anshultz 54, for the last 12 months under instruction seems to be paying off in accuracy, so maybe deer stalking really is for me?
I'll be trying to find someone in the BDS in Shropshire to talk me through doing a DSC1 locally in the New Year, and may end up at Eskdalemuir, Scotland, at some point, looking for expert instruction later on, but in the meantime I've got a book to buy and read from cover to cover, and a wife to prepare for some purchases, ha.