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Thread: Scottish Highland Stalking

  1. #1

    Scottish Highland Stalking

    I may use the time sitting in our cosy, warm and dry cottage to start a little write up about another fantastic stalking experience, while outside its just … WET...

    I met Rob Dhu through the SD and after a couple of emails and several phonecalls, mainly about training a tracking dog (Rob did very well so far...!), I received the generous invite to join him for some red hind stalking in the beautiful Scottish Highlands!
    That was some experience pretty high on my wish list, so of course I got booked in for the first week of January.

    After another quick flight (almost too quick for getting my connected flight in Amsterdam, thanks to this stupid self service security check through..) I arrived at the airport where Rob collected me and took me for short drive up to his place.
    The afternoon was used for a little stalk on his ground in search for a munty, before leaving early Sunday morning to drive all the way up to Scotland.
    So gear ready and a quick ride to the ground, gun and Chubb (Robs Labrador) out and off we went.
    A nice afternoon, loads of pheasants around, and some munty tracks to spot.
    We slowly stalked along the forest edge, stopping all couple of minutes for an intense check and scanning the woods for deer or deer movement.
    When entering a small open line taking us through the forest, Chubb started winding intensly, so we got even more alert.
    Nothing to see so far, so we kept moving forward slowly, when Rob finally spotted a munty at the far end of the ride, sloqwly heading towards us....
    We kept closing the distance and when about 150 meters away from it, I got ready on the sticks.
    Another couple of minutes, the deer coming closer and finally turning broadside, the shot went off and the munty dropped stonedead on the spot.... What a start!

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    We gralloched the young buck and went back to pick up the truck, before heading back home, happy as we could be!

    In the evening I met Robs lovely wife Sandra and we went off to have dinner in a local restaurant, to be ready for the oncoming trip the next day...

    A short night, filled with dreams about the Muntjak stalk and the imaginations about the Scottish highlands, and up and off we went...
    The truck loaded with all kinds of gear, food and drinks (of course), plus Chubb on top of it all.
    We finally reached our destination, about an hour after sunset, after several stops for me taking lots of pictures, and moved into our little cottage.
    Truck unloaded, rooms settled in, dog fed and us entering the local restaurant for another nice dinner, a beer and whisky afterwards, and soon enough sleeping like a baby, ready for the next day.

    I woke up and had a quick look into the backyard, the valley below our house and sure enough, a couple of reds hanging around there...
    A single hind, obviously tamed wished us a good morning, staring through the bathroom window.

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    Then the local stalker Johnny arrived and we started our first tour searching for those highland reds.
    Soon enough a group of about 15 hinds and calves was spotted and Rob and me left for the first stalk. The terrain wasnt too bad, a hill, but not too steep , but everything was wet, very wet...
    We made our way uphill, stalking, climbing and a bit of crawling and sneaked into a good position, those reds only about 65 meters away.
    But somehow one hind caught an eye on us and we had to be ready quick, Rob told me which beast to shoot, the first round chambered, aimed for the high neck, fired and … missed... (afterwards we think, I may have hit the ground in front of the muzzle...?)
    Rechambered, back on her, now heading away from us, Rob made some noise, she turned broadside, another Bang! and down she went, reloaded, Robs advice „Turn around!“, rifle on the knees, another hind in the scope, 170 meters, on the shoulder, Bang!, down she is...
    Now I figured what just happened on my first highland stalk, and I bet I was smiling like my kids around the Christmas tree!

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    Some shaking hands, „Well done and good shooting!“, and a walk up to gralloch the two beasts before dragging them downhill to be collected by Johnny and his very handy Argo...

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    Back to the larder, cleaning and hanging them up, and time for a little break and another whisky just for health reasons, of course...
    The afternoon saw us entering another valley, but all the spotted deer were stll way up in the mountains and far out of reach...
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    The evening showed us Rob as a very good cook, serving a lovely chicken curry, which went down very smooth, of course with some more whisky and beer...

    Tuesday morning Rob and me took an early ride along the main road, scanning for deer, and after spotting a hind and a young stag, we went for a very short and quick stalk, layed down on a little hillside and bagged another hind.

    We walked back to the truck, turned around to collect the beast and there were another hind and a calf right next to the dead body of the other beast.
    Rob took the calf straight away, so two more deer for the larder!
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    While unloading our morning quarry, Johnny arrived, pleased to see the result and smoothen the breakfast with another, you may already expect it, whisky....

    We then left for the valley we were in the afternoon before, still loads of reds around, but still high, very high, up to the snowline.
    After spotting a group a bit further below, Johnny and Rob planned the stalk up to them, and after a couple of minutes, Rob and me went off, uphill...

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    We made our way, a pretty steep uphill stalk at the end, and a littel crawl, and there they were, only 120 meters from us, 4 beasts to see, perfectly broadside!
    I got ready, just waiting for Robs command, which one to take first, when immedaitely all heads went up. I could feel the wind changing and coming now straight from behind, blowing uphill towards them....
    Another couple of hinds came in and all of them took off... We got busted by the wind!
    They made a wide turn and a single hind offered a broadside shot on about 160 meters, right on the shoulder, Bang!, down she is, sliding down the steep slope towards us.
    I felt really happy again, a nice and decent hill stalk and some more good shooting!

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    Gralloching, a downhill drag and another pick up by Johnny and the Argo made it perfect!

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    Time to finish the day with another lovely (Pasta) meal, prepared by Rob the chiefcook himself and some lovely red wine, and, of course, whisky...

    After a very stormy night and a hard rainy morning, we didnt leave too early and finally left together with Johnny....
    I can tell you, it was pooring down...
    Heading towards the area of our first morning, we spotted a group of about 25-30 reds, mainly bedded down up on the hill side. Rob and Johnny discussed how to approach the beasts and soon enough Rob and me left for another stalk.
    We made our way, wind and rain around us, a soaked ground, came more and more uphill and spotted a group of 3, which made us to turn around and sneak in through another gully. We kept stalking, had a little, but for me very streneous crawl and got into a perfect position, a bit above the large herd, about 120 meters away...
    Again a hind spotted some movement, but this time we got ready just in time:
    First shot, hind down, the whole herd took off, bur another group of 4, hidden in another gully got in sight and headed straight uphill. Rob told me for which one to go next, Bang!, another calf stumbling downhill, dead on the feet, rechambered, another lonely hind in the crosshairs, Bang!, down she is also....
    I couldnt believe what just happened and started to shake for excitement, Rob gave me a well deserved „Well done, good shooting!“, and after an also well deserved quick whisky we went to recover and inspect our quarry...
    It took us a while to find one beast, because it did stumble and slide downhill way further than we thought and layed out of sight for us...

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    After the gralloching another downhill drag, towards Johnny and the Argo...
    Johnny was again really pleased with the outcoming results and hadnt expect 3 beasts down, so, you know it already, time for another... Whisky...

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    We finished cleaning the carcasses and getting everything back in at about 14:00, so time to get out of the absolute soaked gear and to start getting it to dry out, no afternoon stalking, hard rain, hard wind and a very cosy cottage to sit in and celebrate this very memoriable day!
    Rob fed us well again, this time with fried potatoes, carrots and some lovely Muntjak backstraps, delicious!

    A stormy afternoon, a calming down wind over night and some more snow up on the hills the next morning, plus a forecast with more snow showers during the day...
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    We left at about 9:00 and headed down the road to check for some deer to be on the lower hills and sure enough, on one hill side I could spot a couple.
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    We had a little uphill climb and got within range of about 100 meters to one of the beasts, crosshairs behind the shoulder, Bang!, and down in the bracken it went, reloaded and the crosshairs on the second one, now heading uphill... Another shot of the 6 x 47 went of, and another deer stumbling and sliding downhill towards us!
    When getting up, while the next stormy snow shower tried to soak us again, i spotted another deer showing up next to the one we dropped first.
    So down on the bipod again, Rob got ready and find the deer in the crosshairs, another Bang! And down it went.
    Happy about this results, we climbed up to our quarry, immediately found and gralloched two of them and then...started searching for best number 3 for the next our, without any result...
    We couldnt believe it, checked the bracken again and again, still nothing...
    After the oncoming drag and delivery of the beasts to the larder I discovered 2 shots on the hind, one lung to lung behind the shoulders, one straight on the shoulder!
    So we thought about what happened again and again, but were still not finding the solution of this miracle...?

    Anyway, two more in the larder, a late but extended breakfast at about 11:30 and off for another stalk at about 14:00.
    The forecast showed a heavy storm coming in, with even more snow, so that might bring them down a bit...?
    We entered one large Glen and spotted about 100-150 reds, in different herds, heading downhill.
    Finally a quick stalk and short crawl uphill and another hind was in the bag!
    Time to call it the day and return to beer and whisky, and, of course another lovely meal, steaks with potatoes and carrots, to be prepared by our personal chief of the kitchen!

    Yes, we survived the night, but man, that was some roaring storm!
    After a quick cuppa Rob and me left the cottage and headed down the road, there were deer all over the place, obviously driven and pushed downhill by the storm, some of them scary close to the road.

    We spotted another group a little uphill and made our way, got into position in about 150 m and sure enough, another one in the bag by 11:00!

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    Back to the larder, back into the cottage and time for some more tea, coffee and our breakfast....
    And this time... No whisky for me...

    Later on we headed out again and entered the large Glen again, sure enough, a large herd and a couple of smaller groups were spotted.
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    We stopped and scanned the details, an obviously weak calf was grazing at about 250 meters away from us, so Johnny let Rob go for it.

    Rifle out, bipod ready, 4 clicks up on the tourret, a cosy lay down, another Bang! and the 6x47 left a calf stonedead on the hillside! Good shooting, Rob!

    After the gralloching and downhill drag we kept going, went all the way up to the end of the road, spotted even more deer, but didnt get a stalk on anything suitable.

    On the way back to the cottage we scanned the ground along the lakeshore, where had seen a group during the day and finally got into the right position: Rob got ready again and another calf was in the bag!

    So another fantastic and successful day was about to be finished with some drinks and of course, another perfect meal (Indian style scrumbled eggs), well prepared by sniper and mastercook Rob!!

    The final morning found as almost blown away by the heavy snowstorm, rattling on our little cottage...

    So, obviously no morning stalk, unfortuantely...
    At about 12:00 it finally cleared up a bit, so we gave it a try and entered the big Glen again.
    The ground was scattered with several deer herds, most of them searching for some shelter, the storm picked up again...
    We scanned all herds very intensly, but nothing shotable was selected, so we kept going up the Glen and made the same way back out.
    A final drive up the road brought us a larger herd of about 50 animals in sight, a very quick stalk up the roadside hill, a little crawl and Rob was ready on the bipod. Johnny spotted a nice single hind, perfect for the kitchen, so a couple of minutes we got up out of the snow with another hind ready for the larder!
    What a way to end this fantastic week!!

    In the evening we cleaned up the cottage and went into the local restaurant with Rob and Johnny for another nice dinner and some drinks to clebrate my great experiences up in those beautiful Scottish Highlands.

    Sunday we spent on the road, heading back home. We made our way through heavy snow, had hundereds of deer along the roadside waving „Goodbye!“ and got home safely...

    Now I am back home in stormy and rainy Germany, back to family and back to work...

    Rob; I cant thank you enough for this very memoriable trip!!

    Thanks to your lovely wife and Johnnny also.

    Please be back at my place in November for some hopefully different experiences also!!

    Atb and thanks my friend, see you in 4 weeks (but dont tell the missus yet...).....

    Last edited by Wildboar1973; 15-01-2015 at 17:31. Reason: Whisky... You know...
    People's hobbies are more their measure's than are their jobs.

  2. #2
    Waiddmannsheil michael. Great write up even if it did take ages to do!!

  3. #3
    Pics will follow soon, just working on the upload!!
    People's hobbies are more their measure's than are their jobs.

  4. #4
    It was a pleasure to have you there

  5. #5
    Fantastic write-up. I enjoyed that, thanks.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Brilliant write up wish id been up there also, reading that I sort of were,haha,well done to all...Karl

  8. #8
    Nice read Michael, well done rob, good time had by all from the sound of it! And enough whiskey consumed to keep several distilleries in business!!!
    Opinions are like arseholes....... we all have them, and most of them stink

  9. #9
    Great write up Michael! Well done to you and Rob. Sounds like a great trip

  10. #10
    Thanks guys, a lot of fun and a great trip!
    People's hobbies are more their measure's than are their jobs.

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