So we now come to the end of the year and it's time to put pen to paper.
I've only been a member of the SD for just only one year. To be honest I only joined to try and fine a few new members for my small roe syndicate I have. Well the response was overwhelming to say the lest. I had hundreds of replies to the ad and got a bit of flack because it took a while to respond to all the PMs. Just shows what a green horn I was. It did show me the power of this forum to reach people without getting time wasters.
So from there I became a trade member to sell some cull stags back in January, again the response was fantastic every stag posted I sold. This start of my Beginners Courses with the guarantee of the shooting a cull animal as part of the day. Now Although I can not take a client stalking on the two areas I help manage, for a guy who has never shot a deer it's been a great way to shoot one. With the benefit of a controlled environment with all the hands on time needed to get an idea of what is involved in taking a deer. Have to admit I do enjoy showing guys the skinning and braking up of a carcass along with the range time and "the shot". Plus it may well be the largest animal they shoot in a lifetime. Ziggy was on of my Beginners Day guests and he did not shoot the kind of animal I had promised. One thing i have learnt is to be honest and up,front. So I invited him back to shoot another free of charge. Ziggy came culled a nice stag stayed the night and did a butchery course the next day. He has since gone on to bigger and better stags, well done mate.
Attachment 22684March and April I was able to offer Skinning and Butchery courses 4 SD members at one time, showing them how to skin brake up and butcher a roe. Which again very successful but the only problem I have is living and working in leicestershire is the lack of roe deer. The advertising and doing the course was easy. It was getting 4 roe altogether, one trip or sometimes 4 trips in a week to get hold of the animals. Was a the nightmare and proved to much to ask of the people I bought them off. So it was shorted lived. But I did meet some very interesting people, one i
In particular Neil the plumber. Who has become a very good friend.
Attachment 22685April Into roe buck season, I had a good year. Not as a trophy hunter just I love roe deer stalking. I was very lucky to do a trade with Deer Assassin. He was going the come down from Scotland to do a butchery course. But after a few phone calls we came to an agreement that I would go up to him for three days and shoot some roe in return I would show him how to skin and butcher. Wow what an eye opener! I stalk on the west of Scotland DA was on the east coast, the stalking could not have been more different and an abundance of roe. Blown away with his ground. On the second day late afternoon we came across a buck with a couple of does. As we stalked into it, I noticed another buck further up the field with a bad lip. I shot the limping one as it was the kindest thing to do, as it turned out that some **** had taken a shot at him before me. I suspect with a RF, smashed it's front elbow but although broken it had healed just not netted together. Up side was it was 7 points and was the biggest roe I had ever seen as well as shot. Thank you DA a very memorable trip.
Attachment 22686Into May and before the midges I managed to take two great guys of the site to Scotland on separate dates roe buck stalking. Have to say that I love the boarders at that time of year. Good chance of a buck plus favourable weather and long days. On both trips I got Neil and Fraser their first buck. Neil came first at the beginning of the month a nice 4 pointer. We had stalked the first days without a seeing a bean. Late afternoon sun out little wind, it was perfect. As we came out a ride I just looked over the small rise and there was a buck. Neil crawled to the top of the rise, took his first roe buck 140 yards Sweet. Second trip with Fraser, again second day late afternoon and same condition. We stalk into a buck no far from where Neil shot one. It's very hard for two people to stalk into a roe twice the noise and twice the movement. Fraser bagged a 6 point roe happy man. This month was the high light of my year. Seeing two grown men very happy.
Attachment 22687Moving into the summer months my deer shooting is on hold for culling bison. But this year I have sold some of the bulls to be culled. Now it has been no secret as I have offered a couple of cull animals on the SD. But the for the most have been through a friend of mine and has gone very well. All but two have been culled by British guys. The down side of this was advertising on the SD, it has not gone so well. Not for the response I not only had a lot of interest but takers too. The bison cull bull was published in the shooting times by someone who found it distasteful that I was offering a bison hunt in leicestershire. But I was offering a cull animal not a hunt, the advert offered an SD member the opportunity to shoot a cull animal (just a little different to a stag). A member put up a post to do with the ST letter and it got a lot of hits good and bad. I was going to get into the debate but my client ask me not to. As we had done nothing wrong or illegal plus the are bred as game, can be shot, ect ect. His view was let the SD members argue among them selves. But I would think twice on offing a cull bison on this site again. It's because we are all hunters on here and we should stick together but we don't there is always someone wanting to have a pop just because. Plus it's not up the the members on here to be judge and jury on whether an individual wishes to cull a legal quarry, but some think they are whiter than white.
This was the saddest part of my year as its the SD members that will miss out.
Attachment 22688September and the winter moved in and the red stags came into play. Had 45+ to cull for a client, so again I advertised on this site with an excellent response. I made a few changes to my previous ads. In that I would do it as a field to fridge to help more accomplice stalker to maximise the carcass. As well as the novice stalker. As I cull them for meat they have been all big bodied animals, Some guys have be lucky to shoot two deer, due to a clients demand for meat. There has been some good heads removed from the cull animals. But mikewilliams took I think one of the best stags this season. Not for the fact it was the biggest or the best. It's because it was his first ever deer and it's now hanging pride of place in his home in Anglesey.
Attachment 22689One of my clients has had an terrible year with his deer. His herd had come down with lung worm through the wet summer. Having a devastating effect on the animals. 75 lost in 3 weeks. Heart braking for him, then to find out sway back was also affecting the herd too. I was ask to remove more animals. One of the SD members I'd met earlier in the year, who is a novice but is desperate to extend his knowledge of deer and what to do when there down. So I asked if he wish to help no charge just need a hand. But he would have to help gutting and skinning well you probably know his answer. So he go to shoot 15 healthy stags then practice his gutting and skinning. Lets just say he's larder work got better and better. It's nice to give something back.
Attachment 22690Also through the year I'm very lucky that I also help at a lot of country and game fairs with my client who sells the bison meat. Getting to do the show it gets me out and in for free bonus. But my wife and I were going to the CLA fair not to work, just do a visit and have a good look round. Take a picnic, bottle of bubbly and have a good time. Well we all know how that turned out. As for Weston Park GF too many people were going so I stayed at home. But Neil_r was very kind to take my 7 pointer down to be measured. Wow just shy of gold. Not back for a non trophy hunter. So I'm going to have a chest mount as I probably won't shoot another medal in my life time.
Attachment 22691The latter part of the year I've just been busy butchering for christmas, the venison trade has been very strong this year and supply has been out stripped for demand. Maybe the public are getting the hang of what good meat is.
So my last trip of the year is to Scotland with my good friend Oliver on the 28 to 30th. It is our annual pilgrimage for roe. We both have had enough Christmas cheer by boxing day. Good was to unwind before the new year.
Looking forward to a few changes with my work but feel very lucky I can earn a living in something I enjoy doing.
To finish, thank you to all I have met through this forum and all that have come out with me to shoot. It been a fantastic year all round and a lot of it is thanks to the SD. It is a credit to the site owners.