I was recently talking with a stalker who like myself is approaching the end of his stalking career, he was telling me that for almost fifty years he has kept a journal in which he notes all aspects of his day not only if he has been successful, the weather, the wind, location, exact time of day, rifle and ammunition used distance to the shot, reaction to the shot etc. etc. he also includes photographs
and over the years has filled several A4 sized books.
He says that when he can no longer stalk he will only need to open one of his journals at any given page and all
the information he has recorded, will allow him to relive that day.
This got me thinking I have never kept a journal and my cull records, record what is required by law
nothing more in the old days in books which are probably in the loft somewhere and in more recent years on disc, and seldom looked at again.
I personally find looking at lists of dead deer boring,and only look at them to compare deer numbers over the years, to see any developing trends do cull plans need to be adapted etc.
I also dislike photographs of rows of dead animals it leaves me a little cold, I do have quite a few photographs with dead deer in them but they are kept because of the people in them or some other feature not for the dead deer.
In fact when I stop to think of my memories of stalking few of them are directly about deer.
and writing of them in a journal somehow I think something would be lost, the same with photographs often a camera was not available at the time, or something is lost maybe because my photographic skills are quite poor, but while a camera can record an image it can't record a feeling.
Some things that evoke memories for me and can't be recorded in a journal nor on film and if they could would loose something
the early days of spring before the trees burst into leaf but they have a green sheen to them when viewed from a distance.
The glen floor carpeted with yellow primroses beneath the alders.
The first warming rays of sunshine in the morning having spent a bitterly cold night sitting at a fox den waiting for the dog fox having shot the vixen the previous day, as you gradually warm up you are filled with a sense of well being and it feels good to be alive
A double rainbow stretched across the glen a second rainbow outside the first with the colours of the outside rainbow reversed , I have only seen this phenomenon once.
A full solar eclipse watching the deer start down of the hill to wards the glen bottom as the light began to fade as they would normally of an evening, only to start back up again as the light returned looking totally confused, awesome.
Watching a Roe doe and her twins play tag.
Hearing the first roar of the season just as the last light is fading and away in the distance a stag answering the challenge.
The September day when you hear that wink wink and your eyes are drawn heaven wards to spot
the first skein of pinkfeet heading South.
To look out in the morning and find that everything is white with the first snow of winter, and so still that you could hear a pin drop.
A bright day in November when the birch trees in the distance look purple and there is the smell of wood smoke on the air though the nearest habitation is many miles away