I had an excellent days stalking yesterday thanks to the kind generosity of a friend who, sadly tripped and damaged his foot and was advised by the doctor to keep off it for a few weeks.
The drive along Deeside was very quiet given the early hour having to meet up with the stalker at his house at 9am sharp. It was damp when I left Aberdeen a little before 7am but by the time I reached Ballater the pavements I noticed, were covered in ice as I went into Chalmers the bakers for my butteries for breakfast in a layby before Braemar.
I met up with Colin the stalker and Davey the ghillie at the appointed hour and after a visit to the target first to check the rifle and then on to the hill. The weather was in complete contrast from working in my garden the previous day. A bright sunny afternoon had me planting daffodils and tulips in pots was in stark contrast to the biting cold and the flurries of snow I was now experiencing. But, this is the Highlands in October and I was after all some 1500 feet above sea level.
The rut was beginning to fall away now Colin told me but there was still plenty of roaring to be heard and even in the poor light we could see stags holding hinds. Driving further up the glen in the landrover the snow was becoming more apparent making spying rather difficult at times. However, Colin soon picked out a lone stag that he identified as a shootable beast. It was not a difficult stalk, though as this was my first time out since my roe stalking closer to home in August, my lungs were beginning to feel the strain just as we came upon the stag. The rife was out of the case Colin chambered a 100gn interlock into the Mannlichar and passed me the rifle. The stag was now lying down facing away from us and resting on the rifle cover I took careful aim at the base of the stags nec. After the report of the rifle the stag lay dead. "Better off the ground" said Colin as we walked up to gralloch the beast. Looking down the hill I noticed Davey making his way carefully up towards us in the Argo.
Somehow I was not cold any more, as you would expect with the excitement of the stalk still in my veins, I was high as a cloud. A most enjoyable day and a good precursor for my hind stalking week in Glen Lyon starting on Sunday.