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Thread: The secrets of stalking sika.

  1. #1

    The secrets of stalking sika.

    Well guys. I've been stalking these sika since last February and have some success, however it never fails to amaze me how difficult they are to find. There seems to be little pattern to their movement except it must be at night. I find lots of signs of their nigh time activity but just not many of them. I know there are plenty on the ground which is thick coniferous woodland, surrounded by open moor, and split up by some nice burns and open glades.
    Generally see in the region of 30 deer between two of us over a long weekend, but this weekend only saw 2.
    So to those of you with years of experience of these little bugg**s what are your best tips. All sensible advice much appreciated.
    Perhaps the mild weather has something to answer for, or the bright moon, or the wind. I honestly don't know.

  2. #2
    Sika hinds at this time of year do go quiet, and with woodland on the ground you my well struggle to see any. The very beginning of their season and through early November are generally okay as they are still feeding hard in preparation for the winter.

    You then begin to see more movement around February and into March (out of season licence). If you get some sunny days just now they may appear but personally anything like regularity has finished with them for the next few weeks or so. Still see a few at night in the lamp but the movement you would have seen around the time of the rut won't repeat itself until springtime...

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=woodmaster;696740]Well guys. I've been stalking these sika since last February and have some success, however it never fails to amaze me how difficult they are to find. There seems to be little pattern to their movement except it must be at night. I find lots of signs of their nigh time activity but just not many of them. I know there are plenty on the ground which is thick coniferous woodland, surrounded by open moor, and split up by some nice burns and open glades.
    Generally see in the region of 30 deer between two of us over a long weekend, but this weekend only saw 2.
    So to those of you with years of experience of these little bugg**s what are your best tips. All sensible advice much appreciated.
    Perhaps the mild weather has something to answer for, or the bright moon, or the wind. I honestly don't know.[/QUOTE

    I'm having a wee chuckle too myself Woodmaster! Im afraid you have to do an apprenticeship with Sika. I would say knowing your ground inside out helps, keeping notes of where deer movement regularly occurs. Also like Jamross says (if you get some sunny days just know) that can be a banker also. The mild weather this year has defo been a contributing factor, most people that I have spoken too that have Sika stalking in the Scottish Borders are well down in numbers regarding culls etc. I also agree with Jamross on that February / March can be good months! for me the best months regarding hind movement (out of season licence only) you can see a lot of deer in these months.

    Theirs no other deer that compares to Sika for me in the UK regarding most challenging stalking. So fickle their unreal....
    Last edited by Von; 11-12-2013 at 09:35.

  4. #4
    Brian has nailed it, to find Sika on a regular basis this time of year you need to call ghost busters, they are quiet, secretive and elusive at the best of times and this time of year is their quiet period. They truly are the ghost's of the forest and difficult to stalk, you will now need some mild sunny weather to tempt them out, or to wait for February/March time (out of season licence) or hang on until the rut next year. They do however taste beautiful and are worth the effort.

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

  5. #5
    I had one year when I saw one sika from the end of October until 10th March, then all of a sudden I was seeing 10 a day. The ground I'm on sounds similar to yours and once November starts their movements seem to become totally random and things usually don't settle down with me until mid-March again.

    I think the best we can say to you is that it is nearly impossible to have any idea what they might do and they seem to do something different every year. Because the daylight is so short there is little reason for them to move during it. Also there will not be much feeding in the forestry now and so they may move out as a group.

    Just like you I've also found that where there is most sign of deer is often where I see and shoot the least deer and if I do find an area with lots of fresh sign and then stake it out for a few days I never see anything on it.

    As best I can see, and I'm far from having this cracked, at this time of year it is an advantage to cover as much ground as possible. So instead of taking your time and stalking a very small area very carefully it is often useful to focus more on covering the ground and hoping to get a shot if you do bump something. When the density is low you need to cover a lot of ground to be sure of bumping into something.

    I'm also coming to the conclusion that a lot of the "wisdom" about sika is based on people, some of them might never have seen a sika, extrapolating from what a red deer would do. I think many people assume that because they are closely related so they are bound to behave in the same way and while this may be true under some circumstances I don't think it is generally true. So my advice is to ignore all the "wisdom" you've been told and to watch your deer carefully and see what they get up to. To give you some idea of how things change I have a trail camera out and in the summer it might take well over 100 photos a day with deer in them. In approx the last 5 weeks I have photos of about 5 deer, maybe 50 photos in total, and the camera hasn't moved since before the summer.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  6. #6
    I'm having a wee chuckle too myself Woodmaster! Im afraid you have to do an apprenticeship with Sika. I would say knowing your ground inside out helps, keeping notes of where deer movement regularly occurs. Also like Jamross says (if you get some sunny days just know) that can be a banker also. The mild weather this year has defo been a contributing factor, most people that I have spoken too that have Sika stalking in the Scottish Borders are well down in numbers regarding culls etc. I also agree with Jamross on that February / March can be good months! for me the best months regarding hind movement (out of season licence only) you can see a lot of deer in these months.

    WTheirs no other deer that compares to Sika for me in the UK regarding most challenging stalking. So fickle their unreal....[/QUOTE]

    Thats interesting Alan, as I wondered if it was just me not seeing the usual large numbers in groups this year.Another funny season so far.

    only thing I wanted to add Woodmaster, is that if you have some rides in the woods, narrow and pretty dark ones, sit down and get comfy, and just watch them for any deer crossing, you won't see a lot but may just get a go at one to make the trip worth it. I have more success doing that on hinds than sitting waiting for them to come out into the open in the mornings or evenings...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    Thats interesting Alan, as I wondered if it was just me not seeing the usual large numbers in groups this year.
    :-) This is the first year that I've seen groups of deer, and the first year that I've been fairly reliable in seeing deer right into December, though only in one very small area. Amazing the differences.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    :-) This is the first year that I've seen groups of deer, and the first year that I've been fairly reliable in seeing deer right into December, though only in one very small area. Amazing the differences.
    frustrating is is the word I would use...

  9. #9
    Thanks guys. I was surprised that the numbers showing changed so dramatically. Couple weeks back I saw 20 myself over 3 days and my mate 10. Guess the rut was on late as stags still whistling back then. This is my first full season on them as I took on ground last February. I have a number of good dark sheltered rides so will give it a go sitting waiting in them. I've tried stalking for 5-6 hours non stop and covering alot of ground but to be honest the chances of being in the right place at the right time seems slim when no deer being seen. Do you guys find morning before say 12 better or late afternoon?
    I'll be up again after christmas, and hoping for some hard weather so they get out feeding more? Keep sharing the knowledge as I can only try it all and see if they have any effect. All this said I do enjoy the challange they provide as it would be no sport if they all lined up on time. But was wondering if they had all pi**ed off or I was suddenly losing my eye sight.

  10. #10
    Just my opinion, but stalking for 5 or 6 hours is not how I would expect to shoot numbers of Sika hinds at this time of year. Better to find a spot that shows signs of travel and just sit and wait. It may get boring after a while and I know there is more to stalking than just pulling the trigger, but if you want to shoot one its the way I would do it.

    As for morning/evening, at this time of year I'm not sure it matters an awful lot???? I still think if you get a bit of warmish winter sun you may get lucky. Do you have larch on your ground? Any signs of stripping?

    by the time the season is just about to end the hinds are looking to start getting some decent food in them, remember the foetus will be getting a bit bigger and she needs more intake for that alone, depending on what kind of a winter it's been and how much condition she has lost. End of last season we were shooting hinds still full of fat as it had been pretty mild compared to some years.

    This is is my experience with them, others may find things a bit different. Still say they are the most mysterious, frustrating, challenging, annoying but best tasting deer in the UK!!!

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