Well, back from my annual trip up North. Two weeks, the first in Sutherland the second in Dumfries & Galloway.
First week included a stalk on the first day (as a party we had four stags booked for the week), so up early to get everything ready. The day was warm and windy, so no worry about midges. A quick walk up onto the high ground to spy out over the Flats:
There were plenty of beasts out there, but as ever deciding which ones to stalk was the challenge Eventually Johnny, the stalker, decided to try to stalk in to a small group of two beasts. Leaving most of our kit with Donald, the second rifle for the day, we realised that we would be in sight for the beginning of the stalk so had no option other than to crawl our way down the burn. This achieved we then made our way carefully to the first vantage point. Reaching the top of a small knoll the beasts were still unaware of our presence and grazing quietly. Pinging them at a touch over 350m we decided to crawl back down and make our way closer, entailing a classic "wet willie" stalk through the peat bog and heather. Eventually we made it to the next vantage point, roughly halving the distance between ourselves and the beasts.
Cresting the small hillock we could now only see one beast that had bedded down. Fortunately for me it was a shootable beast - an eight pointer but with switchy tops. Getting the rifle up on the bipod we decided to give it 15 minutes to see if it would get up and start grazing again. Time passed by but I could see through the scope that the stag now had its eyes closed and was dozing in the warm sunshine.
Figuring that we could be in for a three or four hour wait we opted for plan B, so getting the cross-hairs aligned on the base of the neck I waited to get comfortable and then took the shot. As the stag slumped over his friend re-appeared from the other side of a slight rise and stood broadside on for the best part of three minutes. Resisting the temptation to pull the trigger on the second beast we waited until he departed and then made our way up to my stag. The 150gr Nosler BT had hit the mark and the stag would have been blissfully unaware. Gralloching the beast we took a GPS reading and then placed the stomach over the upturned head to provide an easy mark for the ghillie who would arrive in the Argo later in the afternoon.
After a walk further out onto the Flats we stopped for our piece and then had a successful afternoon getting the second stag at about 3pm:
Now just counting off the days until next year's visit!