Around 12 months ago I was in Sweden With Wayne D and Andy. It came up in conversation that I had never shot a Sika and was keen to try and get one. Wayne mentioned that he might know someone that would take me out for a Sika Hind. Scroll forward to December, Wayne rang me at work to say he had spoken to his mate down in Dorset and he could fit us in for a weekend at the end of January. I jumped at the chance and the date was set for the 25th of Jan.
There was a lot of concern over the weather in the week before we left but we decided to take a chance and I finally set off to collect Wayne on Friday. After a fairly wet journey south we finally arrived at our destination and were greated by our host. A quick plan was set for the morning and we went of to our accomodation. There was a full moon and the weather forcast wasnt looking good for the morning but Wayne clearly stated that it was going to be very rough through the night but would be lovely in the morning, it would then commence raining 1 hour after sunset!
Sitting in our digs that night, the wind was trying to blow the place down and the rain was hammering against the glass, I must admit I doubdted Waynes forcast.
The alarm went off at 5:45 and a quick look out the window proved Wayne to be right, no rain.
As Wayne knew the area he was dropped off first with direction to stalk towards a high seat, we were to go off in a different direction and would collect him later on. My guide took me to a high seat overlooking a nice sheltered field of stubble where we sat for about 15 mins before deciding to try elsewhere. We collected Wayne and went to look at another area.
Again Wayne went off in one direction while we set off to stalk toward a big Basin in the forest. It was a lovley area with nice open areas and lots of Rhodedenderhon! bushes. After a short stalk we reached an opening in the forest looking out toward a big basin covered in patches of gorse and Bracken. My guide immediatley spotted a group of Roe does about 250m away in the gorse. Suddenly, he pointed out a group of Sika Hinds toward the top of the Basin. He asked me how confident I was to shoot at that distance and to be honest I thought he was asking me to shoot off sticks. I told him that I would be happy off the floor but not off the sticks. Luckily it was a misunderstanding and he was already looking for a spot for me to get into a prone position. By the time we were on the ground, the hinds had moved down a bit and were now in a position that put some off the group about 180m away and a couple a bit nearer. I was rock steady and he selected a hind and along with the instruction to aim a bit low on the body to allow for the steep angle, gave me the go ahead. I settled the crosshair low just below centre on the hind and squezed the trigger. A welcome thump came echoing back as I worked the bolt. as the group run around, I lost sight of my hind but he was happy with the shot and selected another for me to shoot. He pointed her out and I fired again, She dropped to the shot and I reloaded. The group moved off and I started to reload the rifle. My guide was happy and so was I. Just then another Hind appeared and started walking toward us from about 160m away. 'Get ready, if she gives you a shot take her' came the command and just as she was about to step behind some gorse I fired again and she dropped alomost immediately. I new Wayne would be thinking that I was either having a field day or things had gone horribly wrong. Suddenly a shot rang out from Waynes direction and a quick Radio message confirmed he had a Roe Doe in the bag. My guide asked wayne to head toward us in order to help with the extraction, however Wayne took a wrong turn and by the time he arrived the Deer were already close to the truck (and I was close to a heart attack) Back to the digs for a quick Breakfast and we were soon out on another bit of ground that held Fallow,Roe and Sika. Our host was keen to Get some Fallow if possible so again Wayne set off to do his own thing and we went off to do ours. My guide spotted a group of 3 roe does in the hedge under the high seat we were headed to so we set off at a crawl toward them. Suddenly he tapped my shoulder and pointed out 2 Fallow that had entered our field and were heading our way. He asked me if I would mind shooting them if we got a chance and when I saw the first one I couldn't belive it, he was a beauty. The trouble was we were stuck in the middle of a field and they were coming straight at us. I was prone on the Bipod and they were only about 120yds away if that but they were in a dip and all I could see was the top of there antlers. Eventually the wind got the better of us and they ran off back to the wood, the roe had moved off as well and to be honest I thought that was it for the evening. My guide had other ideas though and took off in the direction of a high seat to look for the Roe. Sadly they had moved off and he decided to have a last ditch attempt at stalking around the edge off the wood. Light was going now and I doubted I would be able to shoot in another 5 mins. As we neared a corner of the wood, Wayne's voice came over the radio telling us he had blanked but was heading for the truck. As my guide put the radio back in his pocket he looked up to see a fallow buck standing in front of us about 50m away. He had the sticks up in a flash and I was in position, I put what was left of my crosshair on his shoulder as he 'whispered take a shot if you are happy' I squezed the trigger and a 130gn Interlock found it's mark. The buck turned and ran for about 20m then dropped dead on the woodland edge. I was elated. After we dragged it back to the truck I was knackered again. My turn to cook dinner and an early night with a big grin on my face. Sunday saw fair weather again and we were back out after more Sika. We saw lots of Roe and passed a chance at a couple of Does but the Sika were avoiding us. A shot rang out and Wayne had another Doe in the Bag. After another breakfast we packed our things and headed home a couple of happy hunters. It's impossible to tell the full story here but in short it was a great weekend away and would have been even if I hadn't fired a shot. I felt privaleged to be in such learned company and to be made to feel so welcome. Wayne has a few photo's he might add when he gets a minute.
A big thanks to all concerned, and i'm already thinking about next year (although maybe not on my daughters birthday next time!)