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Thread: The Four Stages of Stalking

  1. #1

    The Four Stages of Stalking

    I am not going to claim credit for this, but its in adaption of the Four stages of fishing, which I am sure I first read about in a book called Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life, which a very dear friend gave to me at university, but like most things I have loaned it and cannot rememebr to whom I lent it.

    Like fishing, and actually most things in life, I reckon there are four stages to Deer Stalking and have written this following on from other discussions.

    1) Stage One - you are a novice - all you want to do is shoot a deer - any deer, it doesn't matter. Your riflefeels alien. You cannot see deer, even though they a wearing brightly coloured flourescent jackets. Every footstep is greeted with the sound of breaking branches. The rifle just feels cumbersome and awkward, and how the hell can ever find a deer through the telescopic sights - actually how can you see anything in that timy dot in the middle of the sight. And the stalker you are with thinks you are a blithering idiot and just making life more difficult for him. Eventually you have blundered into a few deer and you begin to get the hang of it.

    2) Stage 2 - Addiction phase. Gets expensive - every waking hour is spent dreaming, thinking about or actually stalking. Its a numbers game - you just have to shoot deer. Easy to spot, as you have to have the latest kit. You will spend thousands on a rifle built to your exact needs, with a massive scope and all the accessories, only after six months you will decided your needs change and you will sell it at a great loss and you will have something else built for you. You will be laden down with range finders, high powered binoculars, gralloching tools, indeed you will have to invest in an argo, pulled by the latest 4x4 pick up just to carry all your gear, and of course all your deer that you shoot. The combined area of your so called "permissions" will equal at least the Duchy of Cornwall.

    Don't worry nobody will have to enquire whether or not you shoot deer, because you will have told them already. And its perfectly acceptable to wear Real Tree dinner jackets when invited to a black tie dinner, or Real Tree underpants on a first date.

    3) Stage 3 - you have shot more deer than you can remember. Actually its quite easy - get to within a few hundred yards. Set up your sniping position, meaure the range, dial in and squeeze the trigger. Now you spend all your time going after a gold medal buck, others will spend fortumes on going overseas to stalk in the most difficult conditions, others get into Big Game. Some try to make it more difficult and have to get in close for their bow or pistol to have effect (only applicable to our North American cousins). For others who have the rifle fettish, its about finding that very rare and expensive rifle and then using that to take a gold medal head.

    Again quote easy to spot, given the quality of the trophies on the wall and the entries into his passport.

    4) Stage 4 - you just go stalking. Your rifle, will be of quality but you have to look at the barrel engraving to remember what calibre it is, but it will be light and handy. When you go out stalking you just pick it up, two or three rounds in your pocket, a knife and a pair of binoculars and you just go stalking. You dont have to look for deer - you just see them out of the corner of your eye. The pleasure is in just being amongst them, the joy of new born calves, gettig to know the old stags and the camaradery of old friends, or young family who can share this with you. You will take the odd beast that needs culling, but its always with regret that you squeeze the trigger. And once a year you will spend an evening reloading a box or two of bullets from that tub of powder and box of bulets you bought from that local gunshop thats long gone.

    If stage 4 makes no sense, you are not there yet.

  2. #2
    I'm currently at stage one but hope I can get to stage four by skipping the expenses of stages two and three

  3. #3
    I’m pretty much on stage 4 for fishing, and mentally at stage two for stalking. However as opportunities to do any fieldsports are limited, I won’t realistically ever shoot more deer than I can remember, and I wouldn’t want to. I want every single one of them to be memorable. I’m also attempting to bypass the insane accumulation of kit stage in favour of going straight to just the right gear. This is partly because of expense, and to a great extent because when you do this by public transport, you really need to optimise what you carry, and this includes deer! It’s also just through inclination: I’ve pared down my fishing tackle so that I carry just what I need, and can move easily between locations. I take the same approach with wildfowling and roughshooting.

    So anyway, the four stages merge a bit. The key one though is that given that I’m now three weeks away from my first rifle’s delivery, and hopefully four weeks away from my first deer, the whole thing is just eating away at me all the time. This all comes together exactly a year after I took my DSC1, and almost exactly bloody years and years since I first wanted to do this…

  4. #4
    thankfully I think I either skipped stages 2 and 3 or am beyond that phase (or just skint!)

  5. #5
    at stage 4 the thing is what comes next?

  6. #6
    Definitely still at stage 2, the trouble is I don't think I'll ever want to move on

  7. #7
    Stage One! Or maybe stage one and a half... I STILL cant see the deer that are pointed out to me but have stopped saying "where?" at the top of my voice and looking all around me - including the sky

    And I do have lots and lots of kit so I think that brings me into Level 2

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ajfab View Post
    at stage 4 the thing is what comes next?

    you go stalking without the rifle just to get out and be outside amongst nature

  9. #9
    Think i'm a bit of all 4 to be honest.
    Just love being out though, shot or no shot i'ts a great pleasure to be among them......

    Alba gu brth

    Sauer 101 6.5x55, Beretta Silver Pigeon 12g Over&Under

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ajfab View Post
    at stage 4 the thing is what comes next?
    There isn't a further stage - it becomes part of your DNA and you are buried with them. You will without a dought develop other interests and these two will have the same stages, but with experience you can probably lessen the length and cost of two and three.

    Last Saturday, myself and a couple of friends pulled out our paragliders went up to East Side in the Pentlands and had a wonderful hour souring around the hills like buzzards. First flight in six months and it had lost none of its old magic - yet 15 years ago I used to fly at any opportunity, was constantly checking the weather and getting really anxious if had n't had a fix. I used to instruct and I remember beginners came to the school and you knew immediately if the were hooked and addicted. I am no longer addicted, its not central to my life, but I can see myself flying for the next 30 odd years, likewise I hope to be stalking, fishing and sailing in 30 odd years.

    Trouble is work gets in the way - have n't hit the 4th stage yet - still at stage 1 me thinks!!!!

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