On Friday, I took a lady from our office out for her first stag. She enjoys walking the hills and it helps us keepers as she can see how things are done from our point of view, why we need what we need, the hours we put in, etc. etc. and personally I think it opened her eyes and she realises that we've already done 3 or 4 hours of work before she goes into the office and we're still going when she leaves.
The headkeeper came along and took some photos, there's the usual post-shot poses.
We took the argo out along the track to the same hill we had spied out a couple days before that, left the argo and proceeded on foot. It didn't take long before I spotted some antlers poking over some heather, it was a bit far I thought (rangefinder gave 150m) for a first timer but she did well on the range so I was happy for it to happen. The swirling wind made the decision for us though and he caught our wind and went over the top.
Another walk along and 3 stags were spotted just resting up, a young narrow 6 pointer, a wide horrible looking 9 pointer (6 one side and a brow and very weak tops on the other) plus a royal. The royal was out of the question and since we have a full weeks stalking ahead, I was happy for either of the other 2 to be taken. The stags of course, whether by choice or by shear luck (I reckon by choice), positioned themselves to be facing in every direction we could have come from. I made the decision to go straight at them and slide up the hill hoping that we were too high and at too much of an angle for the 9 pointer facing our way to notice. Thankfully he was looking sleepy. The office lady did superbly well, freezing when I said to, allowing me space to check the situation first and overall just doing what I would expect of her. We got to about 160 yards and we weren't going to get any closer so we sat and watched them for a while. The narrow 6 pointer was up and feeding towards us. I must have changed my mind 4 times about which one we were going to take but finally settled on the young narrow 6 pointer who unfortunately just didn't make the grade over here. He offered a shot so I gave the go ahead to take the shot and remember the strong wind coming from right to left but then he moved and I had to ask her to wait a bit longer. Finally he turned broadside and I gave the go ahead again. She fired, the bullet strike was clear as day on the stag who ran about 20 yards before stumbling and falling down dead. Brilliant stuff. The headkeeper came along as he had stayed back out of the way and pointed out the dozen or so hinds plus an old, old stag who was just below us. Damn we thought, would have been good to get him.
You can talk yourself out of every stag on the hill and it was a shame it never worked out where we got a 'better' cull stag but narrow is narrow and it's not what we want over here.
Some photos of the day.