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Thread: Hill stalking and slips

  1. #1

    Hill stalking and slips

    Why do a lot of hill stalkers take there rifle on the hill with it slipped ive seen it many times on youtube where the rifle will stay slipped until the last moment and always wondered why the only thing I can think of is for the safty of the guide with them obviously not know the guest or there level of gun saftey

  2. #2
    I guess there is less chance of needing to take a quick shot than in woodland. Therefore the rifle can be left slipped and unchambered as it's safer and will help to ensure the rifle stays clean and dry.

  3. #3
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sir-lamp-alot View Post
    Why do a lot of hill stalkers take there rifle on the hill with it slipped ive seen it many times on youtube where the rifle will stay slipped until the last moment and always wondered why the only thing I can think of is for the safty of the guide with them obviously not know the guest or there level of gun saftey
    There are a number of good reasons to have the rifle in a slip that may not be apparent if you've not gone out on the Hill before.

    First, and as palmer_mike says, it's unlikely (though not impossible) that you will suddenly come across a beast when out on the Hill. Instead you tend to spy from afar and then stalk in, so there's no real need to have the rifle immediately available as you do when woodland stalking. In 19 years I've had only one opportunity where an unslipped rifle would have been useful, and that's where we unexpectedly came upon a group of stags in a peat bog at about 30 yards distance. Even so, we still had the chance to unslip the rifle and successfully take the shot.

    Second, it can be pretty filthy weather-wise on the Hill, so keeping the rifle in a slip will reduce the chance of it being fogged up or rain-soaked when you finally get the chance of a shot.

    Third, if you end up with a "full-on, wet willie" crawl to a suitable firing point you may well be taking your rifle through some pretty rough conditions - which in my experience has included peat bogs, burns, granite outcrops and of course the inevitable crottie-infested heather. When you are making that final approach you don't want to be worried about scratching the exhibition grade walnut stock or dinging the Swarovski scope, so better to leave the rifle in the slip until you are almost ready to take the shot.

    Fourth, on some of the hills there's a not inconsiderable chance of taking a tumble, so having the rifle in the slip brings some peace of mind.

    Fifth, with the rifle in its slip you are unlikely to lose a vital piece of it such as the bolt or the magazine. On one memorable occasion the stalker passed me the rifle in its slip and sent me forward on the final approach to take the shot, only for me to find the magazine had dropped out in the rifle slip. I had to crawl back, retrieve it, make my way back to the firing point and shoot the stag, all under the watchful eye of an increasingly perplexed stalker!

    Sixth, and finally, if I was a professional stalker I wouldn't want a client, about whom I might have limited knowledge as to their competence and safety, crawling behind me with a loaded rifle on his/her back, even if supposedly it has been "made safe"!

    After 17 years going out on the Hill in Sutherland with the same stalker, I now carry the rifle in its slip until I pass it to him when we leave the second rifle with all our kit and set out on the stalk to the firing point. As we start on the final crawl he unslips the rifle, loads a round into the chamber, and then passes it to me saying "I've got you here; so now it's all down to you"

    Does that make sense?

    willie_gunn
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 12-05-2014 at 14:34. Reason: Because the opening sentence wasn't well phrased
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  4. #4
    May I add it is also more comfortable a nice soft slip against your back or side while covering what can be a lot of ground bipods and scopes digging in the most of the time.
    Also should your slip strap brake as happened to me then you can carry the rifle. Should your rifle strap brake it dose not matter you then keep it in the slip .
    JMO

  5. #5
    Willie makes the case very eloquently for using a slip. The first point I would add re stalking in Sutherland is that I always check that the folk I'm with can swim.

    As ever, the slip needs to be low noise and not snag on the environment.

    Regards JCS
    Last edited by jcampbellsmith; 12-05-2014 at 15:07. Reason: no noise

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    There are a number of good reasons to have the rifle in a slip that may not be apparent if you've not gone out on the Hill before.

    First, and as palmer_mike says, it's unlikely (though not impossible) that you will suddenly come across a beast when out on the Hill. Instead you tend to spy from afar and then stalk in, so there's no real need to have the rifle immediately available as you do when woodland stalking. In 19 years I've had only one opportunity where an unslipped rifle would have been useful, and that's where we unexpectedly came upon a group of stags in a peat bog at about 30 yards distance. Even so, we still had the chance to unslip the rifle and successfully take the shot.

    Second, it can be pretty filthy weather-wise on the Hill, so keeping the rifle in a slip will reduce the chance of it being fogged up or rain-soaked when you finally get the chance of a shot.

    Third, if you end up with a "full-on, wet willie" crawl to a suitable firing point you may well be taking your rifle through some pretty rough conditions - which in my experience has included peat bogs, burns, granite outcrops and of course the inevitable crottie-infested heather. When you are making that final approach you don't want to be worried about scratching the exhibition grade walnut stock or dinging the Swarovski scope, so better to leave the rifle in the slip until you are almost ready to take the shot.

    Fourth, on some of the hills there's a not inconsiderable chance of taking a tumble, so having the rifle in the slip brings some peace of mind.

    Fifth, with the rifle in its slip you are unlikely to lose a vital piece of it such as the bolt or the magazine. On one memorable occasion the stalker passed me the rifle in its slip and sent me forward on the final approach to take the shot, only for me to find the magazine had dropped out in the rifle slip. I had to crawl back, retrieve it, make my way back to the firing point and shoot the stag, all under the watchful eye of an increasingly perplexed stalker!

    Sixth, and finally, if I was a professional stalker I wouldn't want a client, about whom I might have limited knowledge as to their competence and safety, crawling behind me with a loaded rifle on his/her back, even if supposedly it has been "made safe"
    Pretty much says it all.

  7. #7
    well now i know thanks chaps, must admidt i never really thought about the conditions hill stalkers face in regards to rifle but i suppose a peat smatted soaking wet rifle isnt going to help you chances

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