On Monday 15 october I left my house in Hungerford at 03:00 to be in dorset for 05:30 start, Made it there for 05:00 to try an bag a sika stag with Paul Taylor,
At 05:30 I met Paul, i had a quick briefing then we were off, arrived at the first piece of ground 5 minutes later, we set in the motor for a while waiting on the day light to come in abit more, then set off, we walk along the side of a wood for about 100yrds where we then spotted a herd of sika about 80 yards away, We could make out a stag there , but still couldn’t see if it was the right animal to cull, Then we had a heavy down pour, an for some reason the deer decide to make a quick get away back to the wood, must have been about 15-20 animals there, they might have picked up our scent, who knows, Paul then decide to go to another piece of ground.
By this time daylight was almost in, we pulled into a track, park up an glassed a maize field along the edge of a wood, we could here a stag whistling in the wood some 200yrs away, Paul try to do a bit of calling with a couple of whistles, when another herd of about 10 animals came out of a hollow in the field there was only a pricket there with the hinds, again nothing shootable, glassing the field again we could see another 15 animals or so some 300 yards higher up the field making there way back to the wood, The next plan was to stalk the wood where we could hear the stag whistling,
We started stalking the wood, we still could hear the whistling, making our way in the direction of the whistle, we came to a brow in the wood with a bit of clear fell on the other side where we could see a single hind, which later moved on without seeing us,
By this time the whistling isn’t that far away, we made our way into the wood, stalked down to a track an stop next to a wallow, we couldnt hear the stag anymore, Paul tried a few calls but nothing showed, After about 20mins we decide to follow the track, He said this would lead us up to some open heath land where he has a few high seats setup, On the way up, there was some crashing in the trees some 10 yards in front of us it was a stag, but he must have seen us before we saw him, he was off, We made it to a high seat, we set there an tried some calling again, still nothing showed but could still hear some whistles in the distance, We sat there until about 0930, an decided to call it a morning, headed back to his place for breakfast, He showed me around his taxidermy room aswell, some good work he do there too, and made the plans for the evening trip out,
16:15 we head back out again, this time started walking from Pauls house, this is where his stalking ground start, we didn’t even walk 150 yrs where we glassed 5 roe an a sika calf in a grass field,there was a six point roe buck there aswell, Paul watched him for some time an said he was a very old buck, an if I could get a shot a him to take him free of charge, The buck was very skinny, We tried to stalk in abit closer but we just couldn’t get a safe shot, they then move on ,bugger!! not to be seen again lol!! Back to the job in hand, we made are way across some water logged grassed fields to get to some maize fields where Paul had seen some sika action, almost every field we walk through there was deer of some sort, but nothing shootable, we got into a highseat an tried some calling, we could see a nice 8 pointer some 150 yards away, Another prime beast an not one on the cull list, after sitting there for 30mins or so we decide to move on an check some more maize fields, we move into another field where we spotted 3 stags moving away from us into a small belt of trees, we went on a bit more keeping tight against a wood egde, I put the rifle up on the sticks as Paul was going to try an call once more, a stag came out of the belt towards us, he came into about 50yrds, but he was only a young six pointer, A pricket also came in to have a look, he got a bit closer about 20 yrds, an stood there for some time before trotting off, we could see another herd of about 12 animals to the bottom of the field, but no stags with them all hinds an calfs, after standing there for about an hour with no other stags showing Paul decide to go back to the field that we went to in the morning with a bit of a drop off hollow in it, as it was only 5mins walk away, so of we went, this would be our last chance before dark would be on us, we got there move into the field again tucked in close to the wood egde, got the old .30 06 up on the sticks, we didn’t have much daylight left , Paul started on the caller again, this time out of the hollow in the field came a hind and a stag, this is one that was on the cull list, they stood some 80 yards away, after I had the ok from Paul, I placed the cross hairs on the rib cage and squeezed the trigger, the 150gn speer soft point was on the way, with the sound of a good solid thump coming back to me the stag was on the ground, dropped him where he stood, After the hand shakes and a quick field gralloch we drag the stag back to the track where Pauls wife was waiting for us with the pickup,
It was a fantastic day with no shortage of deer, Paul is a fantastic guy an knows his stuff about the deer, I will defiantly be going back again, highly recommended,
Thanks to Wayne Davies for passing on Pauls details to me