I've just returned from a successful weekend stalking in Scotland where I shot my first Roe Deer.
The trip was organised by Adam from Athina Sporting and we were on the Garroch & Erlestoun estate in Dumfries and Galloway.
After the recent storms and gales last week, we were concerned that our trip may have to be cancelled, but the weather improved and the forecast was for calmer conditions so we set off from Herefordshire early Friday morning in good spirits. We arrived at our accomodation, the Ken Bridge Hotel, New Galloway, early afternoon where we met up with another member of our stalking group for this weekend.
Suitably attired and armed, Adam drove us through the estate so we could get a feel for the ground we would be working over the next couple of days.
He stopped at a likely location for us to do a bit of glassing on the hillside and to quietly stalk through a wooded area. Having been there a couple of weeks before, Adam sent me along a track I knew to gain access to the wood where the wind would be against me, whilst he went up onto the hill above with the other stalker. I worked my way along the wood, stopping regularly to check ahead with my binos for deer and after about an hour, much to my surprise, I spotted a Roe deer ahead. It was grazing and moving along, away from me. I followed, hoping to get into position to take a safe shot, I lost sight of it for a few minutes as the contours of the ground hid it from me. The light was going, but I kept low and worked my way up a small rise and there it was only 80 yards ahead, slightly above me and backstopped by the hillside......perfect.
I gently rose and set up my sticks, placed my rifle on top, chambered a round, thumbed off the safety, aimed at the heart/lung area and fired. It dropped straight to the ground and didn't move again.
I sent a text to Adam on the hill above and he came down to me and gralloched the Roe. As it was my first and as the tradition decrees, I was bloodied and carried my kill down the hill unaided.
The wind and rain worsened over the next couple of days, which drove most of the deer into the dense cover of the forestry blocks and although we saw quite a number and tried several locations, no one in our group was able to get clear sight and close enough for a shot.
I'd like to say a big Thank you to Adam of Athina Sporting for organising a great weekend in a spectacular location. I can't wait to book in for next year during the Red season.