Thanks to Colin, for organising a great day and a half, with him and Iain. I was paired up with Iain to guide my stalks, starting on Friday evening. Iain soon found a beast for us to stalk in on, and it was up to me to keep up! How anyone can move so swiftly, yet so quietly, is beyond belief, this man knows the meaning of stealth! We glassed a clearing from 170 yds to see the hind Iain had seen, finding her lying down, peacefully chewing the cud. We watched her for 15 or 20 minutes, thinking that there might be a stag close to her, but she was so settled we decided she was on her own. We moved to a few different areas, but all were quiet. Waves of heavy showers punctuated our stalking, and about 6pm we stalked to a mound in the middle of a clearfell. Ian felt sure this was a sound plan, as a stag had been seen in the area. We moved some sticks and brash, to make the best of our position,and enable us to stalk out of there, if a beast appeared on the otherside. Lying down, peering through grass and brash, at least two heavy showers passed over us, and I started to wonder if taking up golf might be an option! About 6.45 we heard a stag groan in the forestry 200yds, at ten oclock to or position, and seconds later, another roar in the forestry behind us. Suddenly the cold and sodden conditions didn't matter, and we both glassed the tree edge of the clearfell. For 15 or 20 minutes nothing showed, the light was fading fast as another shower threatened, I was giving up hope when Ian kicked me, I thought he'd just caught my leg as he moved his position, but a second kick got my attention right away! He'd glassed a stag moving out of the trees and on to the brash of the clearfell, about 130 yds out, this was game on, I moved the rifle to get the crosshairs on him, making sure the muzzle wasn't obstructed by the brash and heard Iain telling me to take the shot whe I was ready, as the stag was side on to us. This was the first red stag I'd ever seen, and I was looking at it through a scope! I fired and saw him stagger, I heard the thwack of the round hitting him, but saw a beast running off to the left. I wasn't sure what to think, but Iain said he was down and there were a couple of hinds out there with him, one of which I'd seen running off! Handshakes, and big grins all round. We walked up to the beast, he was dead, a big un with 9 points. To say I was made up was an understatement! A quick photo and then a grollach, but the light had all but gone, so we left him for extraction in the morning, but not before Iain had a pee around the carcass, to "keep the foxes away". We made it back to the truck and met Colin, who'd been out with Ziggy and Guy, they'd got lucky too, a real beast of a stag with 13 points, so more grins and handshakes! A real day of firsts for me, seeing one, hearing one , shooting one and smelling one too!
Early start next morning, we drove on forestry roads for a couple miles, and Iain spotted some hinds about 50 yards out on some rough grass, but they moved away swiftly at the sight of the truck. We parked up, and stalked up to the edge of the forestry, so we could glass the hillside. We couldn't see anything, so maybe the hinds were still behind us somewhere, but the wind was straight over us, so we didn't hold out much hope. We made our way back towards where the hinds were spotted, and cut accross the rough grass, which covered on old clearfell, trying not to trip over hidden stumps, brash, and water filled furrows. Iain was leading the way, a couple of yards in front, and after 80 or so yards he stopped dead, he was already in a crouch, and moved back a couple of paces, beckoning me forward with his hand. He'd spotted a stag ahead, and pointed in the direction I should look, he also gestured for me to lay my sticks down, which I did, only to sht myself, thinking about taking a shot freehand! I needn't have worried as he'd bent over offering me his back, to take the shot off! I knew the direction the stag was in, but couldn't see him, I was looking at some willow about 130yds out, but infact the beast was only 40 yds in front, I finally found him, got him in the scope, but because he was feeding, head down, I couldn't tell which end was which. After what seemed an eternity, the stag lifted his head, the crosshairs on his chest, and I squoze the round off, a reassuring thwack, and he staggered round and fell. This was turning out to be one hell of a trip, handshakes , backslapping and grins all round! After a couple of minutes, we walked in, to find our beast was just that! After the evening's before success, I didn't think it could be bettered, but infact, I'd just grassed a magnificent 12 pointer!
What a morning, and still only 7.15! Grollach and pictures, then back to base to pick up the "Glenncoe" (another beast, a ATV track machine.) and extract both beasts. We wrestled the beasts into the game larder, and we set about prepairing them for the game dealer (Iain mostly, but I did help!).
After a well earned Scottish breakfast, a plan was hatched for a PM mountain stalk, to look for a goat, so 5 of us rode the Glencoe onto the hill. That was an experience itself, that machine went places sheep couldn't! We managed to stalk into some goats, and I bagged a nice billy! I'd certainly ridden my luck, and had a great time, comments were made that I should buy a lottery ticket on the way home ! I really don't think this trip could be bettered, and I'm luck enough to have some great trophys to remind me.
So a heartfelt thankyou to Iain for guiding me and passing on some of his years of experience, a proper "old school stalker" , a man who I only spent hours with, but have so much respect for, thanks Bud!
And Solway stalker, Colin, thanks for setting all this up.
I'll be back for a buck, and hope you can get me on a boar too!
P.S. Rode my luck out,cos the Landy's fuel pump is playing up tonight, could have so easily stopped on my way home. I never did get that lottery ticket, think that would have been a bit greedy!