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Thread: Scottish Stag Stalking Trip October 2010

  1. #1

    Scottish Stag Stalking Trip October 2010


    Well at the end of last week I embarked, along with two friends who I met through my time running the Stalking at Hoplands Estate in Hampshire, which some of the members will know well...

    Colin and Hoshang were my stalking companions for the weekend and what a great trip we had which was no surprise as we have had a few over the last year...

    We were stalking Red Stags in Scotland with Neil Gavin from the site also just North of Dundee, his ground is a fantastic piece of ground approximately 4,000 acres with a mixture of open hill moorland, thick sitka spruce and larch with a forestry track running through the middle from one end to the other...

    My biggest regret of the whole trip was due to concentration on stalking and making sure I got everything right, and most importantly extracted everything we shot asap I actually didn't take anywhere near as many pictures as I have done previously which was a great shame, however I have an escape from that as I hope to be returning for hinds and helping Neil over the December and January months so that is aim 1 for those trips... It is a truly stunning place and something that I will never forget some of the moments we all had up there...

    Now the first morning was all a bit of a blur as before we knew it we were on the ground and stalking, I was stalking the main track and Hoshang and Colin at separate ends of the moor... It wasn't long before I heard the roaring and this wasn't too far from the track so I made my way down through the forest to the edge, however the stag and his fellow stags where grazing on the other side of the boundary about 100 m away there was about 10 - 15 all good stags with a nice Royal above them on the skyline roaring away... I then carried on around the forest edge when I spotted a spiker... He jumped the fence and started walking away completely unaware of my presence, now this why preparation is so key... I as a relatively competent stalker I would like to say, due to some reasons through no fault of my own had only fired 5 shots through my new .300 win mag before the trip so of course my first shot would be a spiker moving away that only on the 4th shout stopped and looked back, off the sticks at 100m and I was off the shot early and pushed the shot to the left, clean miss well although not the start I wanted I was pleased having seen the stags and also that it was clean as I saw the bullet strike in the bank behind... So not a very professional start but hey ho thats just how it is sometimes...

    Well after a few words to myself I set out on a long stalk seeing what else was about and spent most of the morning enjoying the stags roaring on the neighbouring hill and just taking in all that was happening at this special place...

    When I met up with the guys, I was pleased to see Hoshang smiling... He said he had shot a Red Spiker I thought great news, but he said that Colin wasn't so happy... as when Hoshang had fired all be it well over a mile away Colin had been stalking into an 8, 10 and 12 point stag, and was just about to take his shot prone at 150m when Hoshang's shot rang out across the moor...

    Well it was then off up the hill to drag Hoshang's stag back... as we turned the corner I was immediately suspicious, I noticed what looked like a rather tall rack laid on the track, at which time I shook Hoshang's hand and congratulated him on his fantastic 9 point stag, some spiker that hey, he probably doesn't know the difference

    That evening then came round fast we were back out again at 3:30 o'clock...

    Hoshang was now on the track and Colin was again at what became known as Colin's Moor End...

    I was in the middle of the Moor stalking towards the end that Hoshang had shot his stag in the morning from a High Seat...

    The weather had turned for the worst though and with rain and fog visibility was down to about 100m at best on the moor... I was also struggling with the wind so I decided firstly to lay out on the moor and have a snooze to bide my time for an hour or so and then woke up at about 5 pm... Neil had told us that by about 5 20 PM the deer will start to move and thats when the action is most prominent...

    Therefore I decided to make my way to an area of the moor that Neil had said was very productive and tucked myself out the wind as best as possible, at about 5 30 I started stalking the forest edge on the moor, with the wind quartering from behind I decided that with this visibility a fast stalk was needed so that the swirling wind didn't alert the whole moor... I first came across a Roe doe with a small buck calf en tow, then she winded me and was off, next was a yeld Red hind who again winded me and was off, then within a few 100 m I noticed coming over the hill was a large outine... turned out to be a spiker followed by a small 6 pointer who was a poor head... I decided that I would take the 6 pointer 1st in an attempt to cull both thus hoping that the spiker would run towards me... When they finally came over the hill and had a good backstop I took my time to make out the stags chest and sent the 180 partition on its way, with a serious whack the stag dropped straight down... The spiker also ran towards me looking back, and at about 60 m I took him as well with a high neck shot... Well I was now happy again confidence back and faith in the rifle, I thought so it was me in the morning which was my belief but its always nice to be reassured...

    Now I decided that I would gralloch both and drag one to the road and save the other for the morning as the nights had started to drop off nicely the gralloched carcass would have been fine... On inspection the spiker had still not completely cleaned and he had a large Tuma in his stomach, therefore completed the gralloch and left all tools, gralloch, carcass etc on site for a better inspection in the morning and another opinion although I was certain of the outcome... Next with new knife etc I continued with the 6 pointer and had him off the hill by dark which was nice and energy sapping 400m along the hill and then down with rifle and all...

    The other guys saw a few deer but nothing on the menu...

    The next morning was clear again and we spent the morning glassing the moor, we saw lots of stags and hinds but just couldn't get onto any of the stags despite a lot of moving and trying to predict where stags would cross back into the forest...

    That evening I was off to Colin's moor with the plan of sitting a few hundred meters away and scanning the whole forest edge in order to spot and stalk some stags that came out to feed...
    Firstly there was a Roe Doe came out, then 2 hinds and a calf so the signs where good... then not 5 minutes later 2 stags came out...
    I made my way down the side of the peak I was on and made a plan for the route to take, when I appeared round the corner after a stalk of several hundred meters, the stags were jumpy, this was surprising as the wind was perfect and they were looking straight over me across to the other moor... This was explained later as Colin had shot a young 4 point stag which had caused them to stir...

    Now there were 3 stags and 2 hinds and the calf on the hill in front of me, I ranged a big 8 pointer which looked to be going back at 260m and got set up, I was laid prone and had my ruck sake as a bumped under the stock so the near perfect rest, slowly squeezing the round off I was met by a huge leap, jump and crash to the floor, he then scrambled some 20 meters and that was it... After a wait and letting the others move off I made my way up to the stag, he was a huge animal and with a cracking head, not multi-pointed but very wide and then curling in at the tops... He was gralloched and left for the morning quad extraction... I then headed back to the main track round the edge of the forest... On my way I passed what had been named the wallows having walked it in the morning I estimated some 10 acres of wallows by the time you had walked them all, it was amazing... I had almost got to the bottom and heard a massive roar behind me, back in the forest so I decided to take a break from walking and sit and listen, after a few more roars it sounded as though he was moving closer, then a sudden grunt and final roar marked his entrance thrashing the sitka branches on the edge of the wallows and groaning away, I took aim and dropped him with a straight on neck shot which he crashed to the ground with... On inspection he was what I believed a magnificent 12 pointer again a gralloch and I was off for help...

    On return after a discussion with Neil we decided all was best left until the morning as Colin and Hoshang were off home and therefore we would not disturb anyone with quad, chainsaw etc that we needed for the extraction...

    Sunday morning and 4 hours later we had 2 amazing stags out...

    That evening was beautiful, sunny and still on the moor and that was where I was going to spend the evening... It wasn't long before a Roe Buck came out he was a little beauty, two twiglet like antlers maybe only 2 or 3 cm in height but very nice indeed if you like odd heads... Then a hind who came out and returned...

    Then a few minutes later I noticed antlers on the hill behind I spun around and waited, then he appeared right on the skyline, 300 m away a magnificent royal, perfect symmetry, with the perfect 3 tine cones topping off each antler he was a picture up there and my definition of a perfect stag... Now if I'm honest had he been safe I would probably have taken him as he would have been a trophy of a lifetime although it would have been a hard decision to take, but as he was not safe it was an easy decision and being the last trip for stags I am happy to say that he will more than likely pass on his fantastic genes yet again... Having been completely distracted by him I had forgotten the forest edge and when I turned back around there was a spiker no more than 50m stood staring straight at me, he turned and ran some 70m and looked back broadside, again i sent the 180 grain home and after a whack and few stumbles he dropped...

    I would like to thank Neil once again for an amazing trip and I look forward to visiting with guys on the hinds in the near future...



  2. #2
    alex what a fantastic read i really enjoyed that and your pictures are great too,looks like you had an exellent time ,wayne

  3. #3

    well done mate, tell neil thats a nice bit of ground wouldnt mind seeing it one day lol
    hope you paid your tax on entry and exit to scotland

    ha ha


  4. #4
    Well done Alex, another great write-up and equally great result!


  5. #5
    Just like all the stalking I have done with you before, I enjoyed every minute of our trip Alex and look forward to many more!
    The one thing I really enjoy with you buddy is the banter, if you know what I mean! I know which buttons to press young man and you bite everytime,hahah lol!

    Cracking write up and yes I was a little angry on that first morning, when I was on those three wonderful stags, but if the truth be known I was so happy to experience such a majestic sight on the mist covered moor faced with three beautiful animals, I feel happy and satisfied that they lived another day.

    For me seeing Hoshang so happy with his Stag on the first morning is a memory I will never forget.

    All the best


  6. #6
    Great write up buddy. It was a wonderful trip. I am sure there will be many more trips. Enjoyed all the conversations and the banter between you and colin. Great entertainment. Love the snaps, please send them to me.
    speak soon


  7. #7
    Excellent write up and tremendous photos. Wish I had someone with me to take photo of me & mine and also to help drag it back.



  8. #8
    Alex, Colin and Hoshang

    It was very much my pleasure to have you all stalking with me for a few days, the banter was great and you were all excellent stalkers, i am glad you appreciated the style of stalking (Old school which means that the stalk only finishes when the beast is hung in the larder), you all mucked in with recovery, dragging and appreciated my rather unique way of transporting the deer back through the scottish lanes.

    See you again for the hinds.

    Best Regards

    Neil & Boo

  9. #9
    Guys, thank you all for your comments... It was as said a great trip just happy to share it with you...

    Hoshang aka 30-06, welcome to the site it's about time and I sure some of your experiences will be valued on the site...

    As for you Colin aka Realtree, don't get me started, and be prepared on the hinds you will have a map prepared for you and nailed onto your hand so you don't get lost

    Neil the chat about the hinds has already started looking forward to it a lot, and yes think we need a trailer as even we surprised the scots with our transport methods i think...

    Keep Boo going he is a cracker...

    Take care,


  10. #10
    well done guys, cracking write up Alex

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