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Thread: Ringers gets a red....

  1. #1

    Ringers gets a red....

    I first met Ringers through work, and our first ever meeting was a customer/supplier one....and was quite 'testy', however a chance "What are you up to at the weekend?" question at the end of a later meeting revealed a shared interest (passion in my case!) in shooting, and 'work' meetings were never the same again, with shooting and stalking becoming agenda item #1, all the other guff was secondary....

    Over the last few years, we have become good friends - I've changed jobs a few times, and he's now retired (jammy bugger ), giving him more time for fishing, shooting (he's got back into game shooting) - and deerstalking was starting to creep up his agenda. I never egged him on, honest.....

    We've had a few attempts at roe (no joy), and a few attempts at muntjac (with Ringers securing a respectable buck - which he only did to spite me 'cos I still haven't got one ).....but he really REALLY fancied trying for a red stag. So I said I'd see if we could sort summat out.....

    We first tried to line a date up last year - but were thwarted left, right n centre thanks to various factors including work demands, sickness, and appalling weather....

    Fast-forward to this year, and we managed to find a date that worked, and agreed that come hell or high-water, we were going!

    That date was last Monday - and given that I have a reputation for having a weather jinx, I almost didn't dare look at the forecast as the day grew closer.....surely the good conditions of late couldn't hold .....could they?

    They did.

    I met Ringers at the pre-agreed rendezvous point, and we headed off to the farm to meet the stalker; as we trundled down a track in my truck, we started to spot deer on the slopes - and then we heard the roaring. Timed to perfection for the height of the rut! The chaps were shouting and bellowing all over the shop, and as we saw more and more deer, I swear I could hear the quickening of a pulse from my passenger.....

    We disembarked, got geared up, and paused to take in the sights and sounds - and then we set off.....

    ......and after the first lug uphill, remembered how unfit we really were ("I'll just pause to have a scan with my binos...." )

    With the wind in our faces, we set off along the valley, tacking uphill towards where we could see various parcels of deer, pausing periodically to watch stags of various shapes, sizes and colours parading, roaring, rounding up hinds - and generally being stags. Ringers' face was a picture.

    After about 45 minutes, we spied a couple of likely candidates, and so we split up, with Ringers and I scuttling uphill, our guide waiting lower down the slopes after giving me the brief on what we could and couldn't take should the opportunity arise. Another 20 minutes of shuffling, stooping and crawling brought us to the crest beyond which we ought to be able to see deer..... Bugger. Gone. Not spooked, just decided that they wanted to be a little further along the valley - but that put them out of sight of us. Hey ho - so we carried on at the same height on the slope having gained the upper ground, spotting as we went. And then we saw the stag.

    Drifting into us from further up the valley wall, I first saw antler tips over a brow when he was about 200 yards from us. I grabbed Ringers' arm, pulled him down and hissed "There's your stag!"...

    Rifle was up on the bipod, laddo was still advancing our way.....but all that Ringers could see was grass.. I repositioned him from my left side to my right....now can you see him? "Nope!". Distance now about 110 yards.....and closing....I wound the scope mag right down.....NOW can you see him? "Yesssss......"

    The stag was visible about 100 yards off now, slightly uphill, but not quite broadside, so I said just wait, he'll come into the clear section to his left....as he did, I whistled, he paused - now only 90 yards away - and stood perfectly broadside on.

    BOOM!

    A good solid impact, a lurch of a couple of yards - and he was down. Ringers had his stag. (....and he'd cycled another round in ready, was maintaining aim, doing everything he should have done).

    We waited a few minutes - as much for Ringers to get his heartrate down as anything else - and then went to find him.

    One perfectly-placed shot, one helluva memory for Ringers.

    (After a gralloch, a chinwag and a relax, we set off and I managed to secure a second stag - but I'm not going to fill this write up with that; this was Ringers' day, and I'm delighted that we managed to get the result that we did. Great weather, great experience, great company. Isn't that a lot of what makes a day memorable?)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch

    "...Nicely just doesn't cut the cheese....." A new twist on management-speak courtesy of a colleague.

  2. #2
    Nice job Merlin.

    When you have shot a few it's often more rewarding to guide a newbie into his first than it is shooting yourself.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  3. #3
    Good job Merlin. How did you manage to get the old buggers off the hill?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by woodmaster View Post
    Good job Merlin. How did you manage to get the old buggers off the hill?
    ......is that the stags, or the chaps I was with??

    (Extraction was a lot of huffing, puffing and swearing as we dragged the out....it's surprising how well a dead deer can snag on every little thing when you're hauling them.....)
    Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch

    "...Nicely just doesn't cut the cheese....." A new twist on management-speak courtesy of a colleague.

  5. #5
    I was alluding to the old bugger that shot the deer and the deer itself!!! I must say it makes a big difference to how easy they drag down the hill depending on how you tie them up. That's the same whether it's the deer or the old man.

  6. #6
    Merlin, it's about time I expressed my gratitude to you publicly on this forum.

    I know how much you enjoy cheesy compliments and general sycophancy, so here's a few toe - curling words from me on Monday's stalk.

    Monday was the realisation of a dream for me. I have always wanted to stalk in the hills and shoot a stag safely and humanely. For many chaps like me approaching their old age ( woodmaster, I really am only 60, it's just that I'd spent the previous hour and a half breathing through my arse...and aging 10 years) it's a daunting prospect. Where, and how do you start to learn to stalk deer? How do you apply for an FAC? - what about DSC1? - what are all these different calibres and ballistics all about? So many questions and potential obstacles, that Merlin helped me overcome.

    Long story short. I bought a good air rifle, and practised on rabbits and rats. I learned how to shoot off sticks and despite not being able to hit the proverbial cow's arse with a banjo at the start, things gradually improved. I renewed my shotgun ticket and became involved with a local game syndicate, so I had vermin to go at, as well as game - all useful experience.
    After endless phone conversations ( where do you get that patience from Merlin?) You arranged my first stalk last September in Cambridgeshire. In the high seat at first sparrow fart, watching the day begin, I realised immediately that this was something special. I also recognised that if I wanted to be a safe, humane, and reliable shot, then I should gain as much experience as I could, as well as complete my DSC Level 1. Merlin arranged my second outing in North Yorkshire in March. I had a 50 minute drive from home, Merlin a 3 hour trek across the Pennines. It was mid - week, so he took a day off, with work in the morning And it bloody snowed. I had a Roe buck in my sights, but we were a week too early...

    My third outing was in May when Merlin invited me to join him and 3 mates on a return trip to Cambridgeshire for the Muntjac. Great company, loads of stalking experiences shared, and 6 deer between us, including my first, a nice muntjac buck on the morning of 3rd May. Fortunately for me, I was accompanied in the high seat, by the BASC Regional Officer who helped with my first gralloch. The only one of us to not get a deer was Merlin, and it was heart- warming to hear his mates words of gratitude for organising the weekend, and their understanding and encouragement....

    Then came the DSC 1 and more lengthy phone calls. Questions, questions, Merlin leant me his manual and shared his knowledge. I completed the 4 day BASC course run brilliantly by Chris Roberts, at Jim Riley's excellent facility in Chippenham Cambridgeshire ( thanks both I will be back..) and passed.

    So finally to Monday. My 10th outing in 13 months - 9 organised by Merlin. His account of the day captures all of the thrill of the stalk, and the sheer physical exertion needed to get up the hill, take a shot, and then get the animal off the hill. What is more difficult, is capturing the emotion of the day. Everyone has dreams in life, and sadly, not all of them come true, but that's reality. The good news is, NigelM is spot on. There are some people who derive as much pleasure from helping others achieve their dreams as they do for themselves, and Merlin is one of them.

    And I'll bet his toes are curling now..

    Once I return to walking upright, and my hamstrings stop pinging like bloody piano wires, we must do it again

    Thanks for everything Merlin

  7. #7
    Good job. Great that you have managed to realise a dream. I'm sure with your enthusiasm and Merlins good luck you'll have many more spectacular trips.

  8. #8
    Well done all round.

    It won't only be his toes curling soon. He will have a moustache to curl as well ;-)

    Ringers.
    Great job mate. Really pleased you bagged your first hill stag.
    Our weather jinx was in full swing last year to go to the same place.

    Always nice to get people onto their first.

    Catcg you soon Merlin ;-)

    ATB

    Jon

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ringers View Post

    I know how much you enjoy cheesy compliments and general sycophancy, so here's a few toe - curling words from me on Monday's stalk.

    ..........

    And I'll bet his toes are curling now..
    Hells Bells, I think I'm going to have to invest in a pair of those Persian slippers my toes have curled that much!!

    It was my pleasure mate. First of many I hope.
    Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch

    "...Nicely just doesn't cut the cheese....." A new twist on management-speak courtesy of a colleague.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 243varmint View Post
    Well done all round.

    It won't only be his toes curling soon. He will have a moustache to curl as well ;-)

    Ringers.
    Great job mate. Really pleased you bagged your first hill stag.
    Our weather jinx was in full swing last year to go to the same place.

    Always nice to get people onto their first.

    Catcg you soon Merlin ;-)

    ATB

    Jon
    .....I've had a return to form! We're out pheasant shooting tomorrow - and guess what? It's going to rain!!

    Speak soon mate.
    Nothing is worse than having an itch you can never scratch

    "...Nicely just doesn't cut the cheese....." A new twist on management-speak courtesy of a colleague.

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