Stalking Trip to Argyll
During the third week of September my father and I visited Argyll stalking for Sika and Red stags with Neil Gavin a member of the site. Having traveled up on the Monday with it raining almost all the way the weather prospect look bleak for some good weather but the forecast for the following days was to be better.
We arrived at about 9pm and were met by Neil, we where staying in the lovely four bedroom B and B farmhouse on the land we where due to stalk which was a mixture of Forest and Hill with parts of hardwoods. We had a quick chat about the following morning’s proceedings and a few stories then we got some well needed kip before we awoke early at 5 30am. The next morning came fast and the weather was ok, having driven up to the forest edge we began our stalk only about 20 minutes in we noticed a Sika hind on the track and although she passed on a few minutes later two stags appeared one being a cull animal and the other a fantastic 8 point beast but they passed very quickly before I could get the shot off, plenty more hinds where seen over the day and my father and Neil saw a very good 8 point Sika in the evening but unfortunately where in the car.
The second morning was fantastic weather again the morning started with seeing a few hinds I then made my way down a ride which showed lots of signs of deer as well as stags with rutting scrapes and wallowing holes. As I neared the end of the ride I noticed a nice stag moving along the ride towards me I set up my sticks a with a small cough stopped him as he was broadside and took the shot, was a good shot reaction and he took off into the forest. I found very little blood at the point of impact but there was lots more where he entered the forest so the nerves calmed slowly, after about 15 minutes of carefully tracking and following specks of blood on hands and knees I found him with a slightly high chest shot but I was ecstatic having shot my first Sika and him being a fantastic head to was brilliant, he was a six point stag with two very small points at the top and bottom of his right antler.
The second evening was one that had lots of anticipation as we placed ourselves at the bottom of the glen on a sunbathed evening; the edge of the forest had lots of lush green grass and surely had to produce some deer. There was lots of stags whistling and all seemed good, even better several hinds where seen moving along the forest edge, then I spotted a stag move out the forest he was slightly better than the one in the morning he moved up the forest away from us and unfortunately he wouldn’t turn and disappeared which again was a great shame. We also spotted a stag with some hinds right at last light but it was so dark he soon disappeared into the wilderness before a shot could be taken.
The last morning was the worst weather of the trip with high winds and lots of rain, so was hard work and only as couple of hinds where seen. However this seemed to be a blessing in disguise.
The evening looked much better weather wise, so my father and myself placed ourselves on two separate rides that had lots of signs of deer. After about 15 minutes I heard a crack from across the forest, he had shot a young Sika Stag, I then carried on my stalk and after half an hour or so I spotted a young Sika Stag “nobber” waited until he turned broadside and he dropped to the shot, as he was only a young stag I bled him and then carried him back to the forest track. After having Gralloched him with Neil there was still an hour of light again so I set off again, having only passed the spot where I shot the last cull stag by about 100m I came across a small drainage ditch cut into the forest and there was a “spiker” Sika Stag stood broadside looking away from me. As I crouched to take the shot be looked at me and I squeezed the trigger again a nice thump and he took off, having followed the blood trail found him face down in a drainage ditch.
It was a fantastic end for me to a great few days that was an experience I really enjoyed. In many ways with a bit of luck it could have been more successful but hey that’s stalking.
I would like to say thank you to Neil for the experience and I’m sure that any other members of which there are a few who use Neil will not be disappointed especially with the amount of deer present in this area and Neil himself as a Stalker and person.
All the Best,