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Thread: Sneaky sika

  1. #1

    Sneaky sika

    I was out today chasing sika and while I came back empty handed it was a nice day to be out and it was also an interesting day.

    In the afternoon I managed to see three stags, one young one, one that looked like an older stag who was going back and didn't have much height to his head and one pretty young one with a great head in terms of height though I think he only had 6 points. He is going to be a really great 8 pointer if the poachers give him the chance. Now, you might wonder why I didn't shoot them but they were all on the sky line and attempts to get into a position for a safe shot didn't work out well for me. No matter how sneaky I was it would appear that the sika were rather more sneaky.

    In the evening I worked my way out of some forestry towards an area of grass in the knowledge that it provided a safe shot should something appear on it. Unfortunately as I worked my way towards the open ground the wind dropped and every footstep seemed to make a sound on the forest floor, which was almost in darkness by this stage and had a wide collection of booby trapped sticks, branches and other traps for the unwary stalker. Then I spotted three hinds out in front but it was clear they knew that something was not quite right. It was also clear that, try as they might, they couldn't see me and weren't sure what was going on. I'm pretty confident they heard me. We played a game of chess for a while with the lead hind very nervous and never taking her eyes off where she thought I was lurking. I managed to get into a position to get the rifle up and the cross hairs on a shoulder however it was just so dark that I knew any shot would mean a long follow up, I've never had a sika run less than 30 or 40 yards. I also knew that they would run into the thick cover just to their side and it dropped down into a swampy thicket that may well be infested with crocodiles. In the dark I decided I wasn't messing with any crocodiles.

    So, the hind lived to fight another day. I sat and watched them for another 15 minutes or so and while two of them started to feed and seemed to have lost all interest in me at no point did the lead hind ever take her eyes off where she thought I was lurking. All told I would say she watched me, to the exclusion of everything else, for about half an hour.

    You can say what you like about sika but they aren't half sneaky.

  2. #2

    I once stepped out from the trees onto a clearing to see a hind and calf about 150yds away. She looked up which made me freeze in the awkward position I was in. I reckon, like you she never took her eyes off me for what seemed like 20mins. When the muscles in the thighs started to spasm and I had to move, she just walked into the trees, taking her calf with her.

    Yes, they are sneaky b******s compared to the stags but that's why we love stalking them!!!

  3. #3
    Philip, I shot a nice young Sika stag last Saturday night, well before dark, which was unusual. I expect I am stalking under similar conditions to you, blocks of conifers surrounded by rushy fields and whins etc.

    I have found that the Sika are nigh on impossible to stalk under these conditions (for me at least). I was in a hedge line over looking a plantation and a couple of fields. Quite early on, around 4.50pm I spotted a pricket on the edge of the wood around 240m to my front left. He messed about under the trees and never came out into the open. Closing the distance was impossible without spooking him and anything else that may be ready to emerge. At about 5.10pm another better stag appeared directly in front of me at about 140m. I watched him emerge from the wood and feed without him ever being more than 5 yards from the cover. I was able to close the distance by about 35 yards in several attempts while he had his head down feeding behind a bush. I watched him for 20 minutes when he was perfectly shootable, but I wanted him out in the open. It became clear that he was not going to leave the tree line, and I thought he would go back into the wood. At around 5.30 when there was still good light, he stood perfectly broadside with his head up and I shot him in the neck, which turned out perfectly, but not something I am very comfortable with.

    Anyway, all this is to say that given our small wet fields etc, I find that the best plan may be to take up a strategic point over looking woods and trees and then be prepared to take the best shot that presents, you will rarely get a perfect stationary broad side shot. CNS shots are not to be taken lightly, but if you are confident in your rifle, they work very well under limited circumstances.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  4. #4
    Well done on the stag Brian, I'm glad it is not just me who lies in the ditch peering at a deer and weighing up the shot! I've yet to try the head/neck shot though I have a load that I'm fairly confident in at the minute. I did contemplate a neck shot on my hind yesterday but it was off sticks and although the distance wasn't great I thought it was too far and not steady enough. Because of the vegetation I couldn't get down behind the bipod.

    I think you are right that the way to get the sika is to sit tight somewhere and wait for them to come to you. If you wander around in forestry or even forest edge with brambles and thickets all you do is bump the deer ahead of you and they wash away in front. Now, I'm sure most are more skilled than me but I just can't see how you can move silently through such vegetation.

    In saying that I've a few areas with lots of deer sign that I've never seen a single deer on despite watching it. I have a portable high seat that I would put up in areas that clearly see a lot of deer but am reaching the conclusion that the deer must not venture out onto such ground until it is pitch black, even where such areas are relatively secluded and in fairly deep cover.

    I've never seen a book on sika deer and stalking them in the UK/Ireland but maybe we should attempt to write such a thing as there must be some key to getting in on these chaps.

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