I'm not sure where this should go, so I put here, apologies if I'm wrong.
I had the good fortune to try stalking properly after many years of shotgun (clay and rough shooting) and fox. Having looked about various sites for what could be had and the requirement to shoot abroad with family, I happened across the website of Ian Farrington, based in Devon. He pretty much covered everything you could want or ever need to, including the abroad requirement.
The 2 stalks and overnight accommodation where beyond expectations and the level of skill both shown by Ian and freely given as first class advice were phenomenal. I couldnít of wished for a more professional and knowledgeable guide to introduce me to the nuances of lowland staking.
I have to say if anyone was ever considering or curious as to whether stalking was for them, regardless of previous experience, then my best advice would be to give Ian a call at the rush. His prices and services are quite transparent with nothing hidden, very reasonable and the accommodation and meal by Jo are exemplary. To be fair if you donít manage a kill on your first visit the knowledge you gain is more than worth every penny.
The experience started with some range work and practice with sticks etc., which proved very useful and introduces you to a perfectly balanced and set up Tikka estate rifle if you donít have your own, which I donít as yet, my .223 perhaps wouldnít be welcomed and Christmas wiped out my .300WM fund for a while.
The first outing was a high chair experience and was awash with deer, unfortunately either way out of range or the wrong variety, ho hum you canít have everything, the experience to me was worth more than any kill.
The second outing started on foot with a stalk in more beautiful Dorset land available to Ian and almost straight away through the trees were two Roe, how he saw them I'll never know, I could barely see them after he pointed them out to me!. We approached on hands and knees from this point, for about 30 -40 yards out of sight of the Roe, finishing up about 113 yds. from the target Doe. The wind was up a little, Ian set the sticks and beckoned me to prep for a stick shot, similar to that which we had practiced the day before on the range. I was pretty un-gamely, not being built for stealth but managed, somehow, to lift a knee and plant my ass on the deck to rest the rifle in the sticks. Still fired up from crawling, the cross hairs were all over place, more guidance from Ian and things began to steady up. He called the target deer, a doe, and took note of her position, told me where he wanted the aimed shot to be, mid-point from the top of the shoulder to the spine, "the shots yours, if youíre comfortable take the shot" was what I heard next. After what seemed an eternity of more self-doubt, I took what I thought was the best aimed shot I could make. Both deer flew in to the woodland to the left, "where did you aimĒ Ian asked, I told him I thought it was where we agreed and hoped this to be the case. After reloading and waiting for 10 minutes or so, we walked up to where the Roe was shot. There was a tuft of fur lying on the ground, a small trace of blood slightly further on; to the left in the direction of the woodland was a patch of almost orange blood and some flesh matter, confirmed by Ian to be lung. We continued to follow the blood trail and found the doe about 10 - 12 yards from the point of shot and Ian confirmed the Kill. How chuffed was I!! Ian then proceeded to give an almost autopsy level breakdown and faultless gralloch demonstration. The Doe was in deed taken just above the heart and the round had taken out the tops of the lungs, the impact point, unbelievably was where we had discussed previously, mid-way between the top of the shoulder and the spine.
I have to say that it was without doubt the most informative and enjoyable hunting I've done. I canít recommend Farrington Deer Services enough.
In conclusion, Iíll obviously be taking up more stalking, however a word of warning to all thinking of having a go, itís a bit like eating Pringles, ďonce you popÖÖÖ.you know the rest.
Here ends my ramblings, until the next outing which hopefully will be on wild boar, with Ian.