Apologies about the delay but was awaiting for my lap top to be fixed and my mobile isn't good enough to up load pictures.
Early this year I had a had a couple of targets that I wanted to try an achieve, sika was one of them.
I know a chap called Jonathan who is a professional deer stalker but not a member on here who I have known for 7 years and spoke about sika stalking.
He informed me that I should give Arron a call to see if we could arrange anything. So early this year we exchanged several messages and agreed that I could try for a sika stag. I did request that I am not a trophy hunter but should a beast become available I would be interested. No promises were given but promises of good stalking were which was fine by myself.
Late September we spoke again and arranged a stalk. We had a couple of stalks, each time I learned something new and more so about sika. I have a lot of experience with red, roe and fallow but very little on sika. One of the first things I have noticed about sika was the speed that they graze, they can come into view then completely disappear and constantly on the look out. Clever buggers!!!!
A couple of weeks back we arranged to meet and at a time. Gear packed away on off we were. Arrived at our destination. First look through the binoculars and we seen some sika, Arron looked at me and smiled, I'm not one to get my hopes up but felt that this could be the night.
Wind check and we decided that we would have to venture to the bottom and stalk up towards them. The sika that we spotted seen pretty settled. All checks done and decided about how we'd stalk into them and keeping our scent away, there was cover but we new that we might have to differentiate from the track we decided upon. The wind started to swirl a bit which started to raise a few doubts but we decided to keep low to try minimise any scent to them.
To our left we spotted two sika. We decided to have a go at one of these. Crawling along a hedge line under fencing etc we got settled as far as we could go. Approx 140 yards away two stags were spotted. I was told which one to take should it become available for a broadside shot. We decided that a safe shot wasn't on due to the back stop. (surprising how a safe shot looks on until you're lie-ing down) Keeping low we crawled back out and stalked further up to were we seen the previous herd. Out of know where a sika jumped right in front of us and bolted towards the heard we were stalking into. Immediately I thought that's it game over but our initial target had moved away from them and looked a little weary but remained. Standing still for a while allowing things to settle we decided to use a hedge-row as a place to keep us out of view. Another look and the stag was grazing, moving and looking around. As it turned away we jumped a beck and snuck under the hedge to keep us out of view. All settled but the stag had vanished. We decided to settle here for the remaining of the stalk should it appear. 45 minutes max was left before dark. The stag showed it's self again but vanished again. I was keeping a look out for this stag when Arron whispered to me that there is another stag to his left lay down. Only antlers could be seen. I was told to keep a look out for our original target while Arron would keep an eye on this other stag. Several things were running through my mind, would the original show?? or surely the other stag would have to stand up but if it did would a shot be on as the land dipped which was why we could only see antlers.
After about five minutes the stag laying down got a scent of something, head up and scenting the air, Arron said "I'm sure it's going to stand soon so get ready and wait for my command"
It diffidently got a scent of something, stood up but not broadside. I new immediately that this could possibly turn and walk away into the bracken and wouldn't come back. Walked in a straight line but no broadside shot was available. The stag paused turned 45 degrees, Arron said "take it"
I hesitated for only a couple seconds but I'm glad I did as it turned another 45 degrees, which if I had of took the shot it would off been a gut shot due to it turning further.
The stag turned it's self to the original track and I new that this could be my last chance. It stopped again,
Arron "get ready it knows something is wrong" It turned broadside and I instantly thought what a beast couldn't believe the size of the main and the beast that it is. Arron "take it now" cross hairs smack on and squeeze of the trigger and a round was on its way. It appeared a life time for me waiting to see a reaction to the shot or hear the impact. Then remaining looking through the scope impact was heard followed by a buck-a-roo back leg kick reaction and seen it bolt 30 yards into the bracken, witnessed a bit of thrashing as could only see the antlers but then nothing. We waited for a few minutes and said we were happy to see the shot reaction that it gave. Shot was approx 135 yards, so we walked in slowly and steady applying caution and respect to the stag. As we got closer we were seeing nothing, I thought we had a runner then got a little closer and seen antlers only. Standing still waiting to see if any movement and apply a second shot should it bolt but no movement. Got closer and closer and found a beast lay there. Checked the eyes and Arron said "congratulations" Normally a hand shake is shared but for some reason I gave a man cuddle. I was totally elated as I got my first sika stag but for Arron as well as I new how hard he has worked getting me a stag but also my first sika stag.
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This was my reward. I decided to do this beast justice and get it shoulder mounted. Arron performed an amazing job capeing the stag and caped it via skinning the full cape in one allowing for the taxidermist to take a full measurement etc...
We shared a dram of whisky to celebrate, a bottle is on it's way to Arron before Christmas as a token gesture.
Once caped I placed it in a large tub, I didn't want this beast rolling around my vehicle so placed the tub on my passenger seat. Every few miles while driving to the Johnathan's (taxidermist) I glanced at the stag.
Arron is a true gent, kept to his word and was an honour in meeting and stalking with, which I learned a new method in skinning. Arron has also had the praise not too long ago on here.
Hope not to long winded and enjoyed.