After yet again an iffy rut, on off, on off, last night it seemed to all happen at once, and not a shot fired!
I was out with a mate trying for a last minute Sika stag and after dropping him off I had left it a bit late to get into the seat I wanted to use. I sat in it for about 30mins but felt I had disturbed deer on the way in as they would have been close to coming out by then. I saw a hind and her calf walking from the restock back into the mature trees, so decided to go for a walk and look at a couple of fields the deer often come onto at night on the edge of the wood.
As I was almost where I expected to see them I heard a stag whistle through the trees obviously already out on the field. When I got to the point of having a look I could see at least 20 beasts out feeding. I got to a better spot for spying and realised there was one group of about 30, with more coming out to join them from further away, and another smaller group of a dozen or so 400yds away to my left. I sat down and got the rifle up on the sticks but to be honest had already decided it really was just too dark for the shot.
Anyway, I could make out two stags fighting, I mean really going for it and the antlers could be heard clashing from where I was sat. I could even hear some of the hinds chirping softly away to the stags, saying 'I'm here! I'm ready for you!!!' and the calves looking very restless with all the activity and testosterone in the air! There were at least another couple of stags on the periphery of the group looking for their chance, and throughout it all one or two of them would give a whistle or a groan. It is probably the most activity I have ever seen with Sika in such a concentrated area and in such a short period of time. Up until last night I hadn't seen a group of hinds being held properly by a stag this year.
Pity I hadn't been there a wee bit earlier to get some of it on camera.