Apologises for the length I seem to have rambled on a bit.
I have had an interest in deer stalking for quite sometime, however due to other sports (diving) and work, time was not in my favour. At the start of this year I decided to hang up my fins for good for various different reasons. I had a quick google and found a stalker who offered a novice stalkers course down in South Ayrshire about 1hr 20 mins drive from me.
After a couple of emails and phone calls we decided I would do the first day back in September. I arrived at Chris's place and we chatted about what we would do that afternoon and evening and a bit about my background etc etc. So off to the range for a zero and see what standard my shooting was, I was slightly concerned about this as the last rifle I shot was a SA80 at a standard military target. Anyway I fired of a couple of rounds at the zero target from 100 metres in the prone and again at 70 metres standing using sticks. All within the 4inches and not bad groupings.
After a quick cuppa tea we were on our way to the ground. Sat up a high seat for the first time, just appreciating the peace and quiet, no phones, no internet, no noise just a beautiful view over the woodland and hills of Ayrshire. I saw 2 Roe Does but no bucks so no shot was taken. I then had to head back to work for 6 weeks, so we arranged to carry on on the 9th of November for the next 2 stalks and the possibility of doing the assessments on the 10th.
At this point I had not committed to the assessments, but had ordered the manual from the BDS. Once I started reading and learning I was gripped and found it fascinating. So another quick call and registered to do DSC1. I had 6 weeks to self study so between the manual, and as many photos as I could find online I studied like never before.
0400 on the 9th I bounced out of bed several coffees and a drive to South Ayrshire arriving just before 0615. Chris explained the ground we would be going to had just been cleared of trees and was about to be re-planted he had a licence to cull all deer irrespective of sex or breed, however priority was Roe Does. There was a heavy frost and the car was saying -4 ish and no wind at all. It was decided to use high seats again. Off we went quietly moving down to the seat, when 100 yards or so in front of me was a young Red Stag knobber. He was broadside on, safe backstop and slightly downhill from me. I brought the rifle up but the crosshairs were all over the place, so I slowly dropped onto 1 knee but could not see him clearly. Bugger! So slowly and quietly moved forward, everytime he looked up I stopped, eventually I managed to get to within 60 - 70 yards away. But again I was not steady enough to shoot safely. He detected me then as he was stamping his feet and barking. I just stayed still and watched him as he moved about and eventually disappeared. Got into the high seat where I saw a beautiful sunrise over the frosty land, next thing I knew it was 0930 and time to leave.
Back to Chris's for a massive fried breakfast, bit of a chat on the written assessments and visual test, then down to the range for the shooting tests. Managed to pass that part. Then we went back out but nothing was moving in the evening.
Tuesday I arrived for 1530 and went straight out to do the safety tests, I was expecting my lack of experience was going to show here so was not overly confident, however with the studying and instruction I had had another part was ticked off. I was then into the house for the visual exams and written assessments. I think I got 1 wrong on the visuals, 3 on the general and none on the hygiene and large game handling. A PASS!!!
Now the learning begins, I have got a syndicate place and hopefully Strathclyde will issue my FAC this week as I have a deposit down on a rifle.
So a quick thanks to Chris at South Ayrshire Stalking for his time and instruction, and to Ann for the massive fry up and free Ox liver which she gave me lastnight. What a way to celebrate my 39th birthday, with the added bonus that the sale of my diving kit has more or less paid for everything so far, well almost