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Thread: Foiled by a right handed ditch

  1. #1

    Foiled by a right handed ditch

    I am, for most things, right handed but I shoot left handed.

    Recently I was out sneaking up on some sika. For about 3 hours I had worked my way through a forestry plantation moving ever so slowly and not making the slightest sound while keeping the binos scanning the ground in front of me. My task was made extra difficult by a very light wind so there was no other noise in the forest to hide my footfall upon the deep layer of broken twigs and branches which covered the forest floor. I had been working my way along parallel to a forestry track in the hope that deer might move out onto the edges of the track to feed as evening approached.

    I was approaching a bend in the track, and an area where I knew deer to hang out, and so decided to make my way into the ditch at the side of the track for a good spy into the bend. I dropped down into the ditch and something caught my eye and there right at the bend was a little sika stag feeding away on the grass at the side of the track. My slight problem was that he was only 50 yards away from where I was and so he had me pinned down a bit. I've seen the videos where people stand about shooting deer of sticks at 50 yards and less and all I can say is that you will not do that with my sika as they spot even the slightest hint of something not right at 200 yards or more and that is the end of stalking for the day. My position in the ditch was somewhat covered by undergrowth and this had saved me from being spotted.

    It was at this point that I realised that I was a left handed shooter in a right handed ditch! Until this time a ditch was a ditch and there was no more to it but now it was evident that ditches were "handed" and my ditch was the wrong ditch. I could maybe manage to set the rifle up onto the track but due to the direction in which I was facing this would mean that it would have to be a right handed shot. I studied the situation further and decided that I could set the rifle out on the track and then roll out behind it allowing a left handed shot. I moved the end of the moderator, covered in a cammo sleeve, out beyond the undergrowth and up came the head of the stag and he looked directly at me. I couldn't believe that he had seen such a small movement in the half light at 50 yards. I kept as still as possible and watched while he made up his mind that it was nothing to concern him. Even so he wasn't as settled now and didn't go back to his browsing.

    For a little while I continued to work on very slowly getting the rifle out onto the track while the stag kept looking around. Then I felt the breeze touch the back of my head and I knew the game was up; the wind direction had changed on me. Just maybe I'd get lucky as the breeze was ever so light and he hadn't shown any sign of smelling me. Unfortunately luck was not on my side and while it took a few minutes for my scent to move his way on the light breeze it was no time until his nose went up in the air and he flared up his rump patch and trotted into the safety of the trees.

    Despite being very nervous creatures I've also found sika to be nosey and this chap was no different in that he didn't just run away but rather he worked himsefl round in the thick cover until he either got a good sniff of me or, perhaps, he could see me. It was at this point that the barking started and that was an end to the evening in terms of stalking.

    So, my hint and tip for today concerns ditches - should you find that you might have to shoot from a ditch then take some care to ensure that you don't end up, as I did, as a left handed shooter in a right handed ditch.

  2. #2
    Another hint and tip for today for you!

    Take the next box of bullets to the range ,and practise with the right handed shot for the next right handed ditch! lol
    50/60 yards shouldnt be too much of a problem to master . Right?

  3. #3
    Good post.
    Another thing to remember; A right handed shooter leaning way over a low hedge to shoot 3rd deer(suppose I was being greedy) left handed ends up with an aching eyebrow even with a 30-06

  4. #4
    Hi very good post & as stated by 243me practise with right handed shots would be good. Im very fortuniate to be able to shoot a rifle right or left as iv had to as not to loose oppertunitys. I do quite a bit of rabbit work with .22 rimmy & shoot a few left handers & i think this has stood me in very good sted as far as practise goes.

  5. #5
    I'm very left eye dominant - there is nothing wrong with the vision of my right eye but I feel that I can see sod all out of it. So, although I have practised shooting right handed I'm very reluctant to do it, especially in the semi-darkness. With that in mind I'm going to restrict myself to left handed ditches in the mean time.

  6. #6
    I'm very right eye dominant but I shoot left handed when reqired and to date not had a problem although you need to remeber that unless you are truly ambidextrous you will never be as accurate left handed so choose your shot carefully. I taught myself to shoot left handed lamping rabbits with my pickup on my own, but its not easy to overcome the eye dominance problems.

  7. #7
    Excellent post that highlights what a wary quarry the Sika is and how slowly and carefully they have to be stalked. I am constantly telling people who stalk them on my ground to take their idea of slow stalking divide it by 4 ten go at half that speed! Usually they come back and tell me how difficult they are to stalk, as if I didn't know .

    I am a bit like you I am right handed for most things but I write left handed, and naturally shoot right handed. This does mean that I can quite happily take a shot left handed, and as due to to maturity (old age) my master eye is going from right to left it means that any handicap that I may feel from shooting left handed is compensated for by a better view though the scope.

    A clever man knows his strengths, a wise man knows his weaknesses

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JAYB View Post
    I am constantly telling people who stalk them on my ground to take their idea of slow stalking divide it by 4 ten go at half that speed!
    The Google Earth measure tool says that I'd covered just less than 300 yards in the 3 hours, well it was about 3 hours as I'm not sure what time I started. Any faster and I'd bet the deer would have seen me long before I'd seen him.

    I've noticed with sika, especially stags, that they like high ground with a view. Now this might sound unlikely in thick forest but the trees are often planted in parallel lines and so there are sometimes "channels" between lines of trees where you can see for maybe up to 100 yards. If there is one of these channels with a high point on it the stag will lie on the high point in the cover and just watch. If he sees someone walk along the track at the end of his channel or move in the forest in the area he can see he will be gone for the next two days.

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