I get asked this quite a lot and guess it's quite important to a lot of people... Feels a little bit like being at school and being asked how many girls I'd kissed! (wasn't many actually - pube-like curly hair, braces and acne!)
I've always had the impression, as with kissing girls at school, that there are three distinct categories of people:
- Those that have
- Those that haven't
- Those that bullsh*t
Nope I've not shot thousands, or even hundreds of deer, it's in the dozens. I've got a 4 acre bit of land with a high seat for deer, and I have to pay for the rest or rely on invites from friends. I'm still learning and hope I always will be! In terms of shooting experience I've been shooting rimfire and centrefire for 12 years, I've shot hundreds of foxes, thousands of rabbits, and thousands of rounds at bisley (.308, .243, 223). I've got several hundred acres of fox, pigeon, and rabbit shooting dotted about. I also do vermin control work for several farms that friends work on but this is on request from the farmer rather than a "permission" (and I get paid on some of them!).
I first started shooting rimfire and centrefire in NZ where I worked for several months doing groundskeeping and vermin control - Possum, rabbit, deer, boar, and feral sheep (mainly possum & rabbit). I came back to the UK and found borrowing a gun from the boss and taking a wonder was a big no-no here! So I got an air rifle for the rabbits etc, then carried on shooting at bisley or going with friends with FAC's until I finally got my own land and FAC a few years ago. Got my DSC1 about a year later (useful and worthwhile but no substitute for experience IMO).
I'm a volunteer on the Deer/Traffic Collision Scheme - I'm not as experienced as a lot of guys out there but they needed someone and I'm far more experienced than the average policeman or RSPCA officer at finding and putting down deer. And I have the right tools for the job!
I've met a lot of genuine guys on here who are pro's or have access to a lot of land, and who've been doing it for years, who literally have shot thousands of deer - Which is great, lucky them and I'm glad I've got this forum so I can learn from and interact with them. Everyone starts somewhere, and hopefully in 20 years I'll be able to offer people the same sage advice!
Some people on this site have been amazing - I've had very experienced guys going massively out of their way to help me out with reloading, free trips out shooting, and advice on training my dog. Thanks to all those who've helped me so far
I spend way too much time chatting on here as I've got a lot of time on my hands due to my work situation!
This post isn't a dig at "armchair stalkers" (though the pompous ones do annoy me) and I'm not questioning what anyone says - just stating my actual experience for anyone wondering and encouraging anyone new or relatively new to stalking not to be ashamed about it (or bullsh*t)!
p.s. Why does this post read like I'm "coming out"