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Thread: Caithness with Moray Outfitters again

  1. #1

    Caithness with Moray Outfitters again

    Just back from another trip to Caithness, with John Allan from Moray outfitters, and this trip was special in a number of ways so I thought I would share.
    I am a regular at Strathmore, taking 3 or 4 trips a year, it is a challenge in some ways, as it is reasonably flat, and so careful stalking and crawling is needed. But at the same time it is reasonably easy, physically it is not difficult, and with care and following the excellent stalkers instructions success for me has been good. John recons if you can stalk here you can stalk anywhere.

    This trip was with Donsider, his first trip stalking stags in the flat lands, he is more used to the mountains. And he brought some weather with him, it just poured all day and night. It was blowing a gale and simply lashing down. Loch beg, at the top of the Thurso river was down by 15 feet but all the burns were flooding and we knew we would see it rise. The ground was soaking, basically everywhere and stalking was getting difficult day one. Roads were rivers, puddles lochs, John and I tried a few stalks but the wind and rain were beating us, and the only real chance we had was blown as we simply got too close before we could see the deer, we had no choice but to stalk in and then bumped the stag. What was good was that the rut was full on, and deer were roaring despite the hellish conditions. We abandoned hope early afternoon.
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    Dave and John in Bugger this mode - or looking for a lost contact lens!

    Next day was better, we drove in to huge floods, the Thurso was in a raging spate and clearly Loch Beg had filled, rising 15 feet over night, in a great big dirty flood. Burns and streams we would normally step over were in flood and our stalking may be restricted by river crossings this time, but it was calm, dry and even a little bright, and the deer were roaring all round us, it was spectacular!
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    A little flood

    Donsider and John headed out, as the stags were close early on, and I tagged along behind, however they were mooching away from their overnight feeding and working away from us, and with the wind working round plan B had to come into force. I would head back and get the argo, the others would head out round the wind and find the deer. A bit of a walk. I parked up as directed and did some business on my phone, awaiting the signal to come over. And when it came Johns message was a little cryptic “take the argo over but be quiet and slow” ok, how would I do quiet in the argo? I chugged in slowly to meet a jovial John, and a bedraggled looking Donsider, they had a stag, WAY over there, and it was a Royal – what a result. But they also had some stags behind us, and John was keen for me to have a look. We had a quick stalk, but John had a change of mind, he had seen a stag a little way away he liked the look of. We chatted about the stags and I commented that I would like a royal one day, I am not really a trophy hunter, but like the idea of a royal, and Donsider had done it again!

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    Donsider and his stag

    This was to be an epic stalk, we drove the argo in a few hundred meters, then walked a few hundred meters, and then crawled a couple of hundred meters through the reeds and puddles, to get close enough. Eventually we were on a raised bank, with the herd in front of us. John told me to stay down whist he spied the deer, he had a quick grin and then were back into hunter mode – he was up to something!
    I got onto the rifle and had the stag broadside in my sights, he was a cracker, big spread. But he had a hind right behind him and I knew my 3006 would punch through at 160 meters. Then a hind made us, perhaps just a little but the deer reacted and the hinds started moving. The stag stayed, but turned his back on us. It was all going wrong. John quickly sussed the situation and barked at the deer, and the stag turned again and started walking slowly almost side on, I needed him to stop. John lowered the binnys just as the stag stopped and looked in our direction, just for a second. The crosshairs were right into his shoulder and I fired, just as John focussed back on the stag, and just in time to see him drop on the spot. We had a quick chat, John was happy it was down, I was delighted and knew he had gone way beyond the norm to get me a stag, it was now well after 1800. We chatted as we approached the stag, and I got the feeling John was up to something again. As I approached I kind of guessed, 6 points on one side noted as we walked in, a quick count and 6 on the other, a royal, John knew all the time! I was elated.

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    John and I (i am the fat one without the antlers!)

    The stalking there is spectacular, and I will be back in a week for another trip, last days of the stags and first of the hinds, it is addictive up there. I think it is ideal for stalkers like me, with an injury or two, or if hauling yourself up a mountain is just too much. I hope to report back with more success next week!

    I left Sauer and maxwal up there, and look forward to them adding to the story, with news of more stags
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    Last edited by diverdave; 09-10-2014 at 19:54.

  2. #2
    Well done and a pretty little Royal great write up and nice to see different areas were reds can be stalked.

  3. #3
    I'm up there next week.

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  4. #4
    Great pics and nice stags , well done
    Zeiss Pro Stalker and Agent for Starlght Night Vision

  5. #5
    You left good luck !!!
    My first red stag today !!!!
    Bit if work & john pulled out the stops !!!
    But of drama as the best took a step as trigger pulled .... Shot was back & low ... Hinds left him & he settled but alert behind a tussock showing only his rack at 300 yds approx .... Not good .... I was thinking my first on the reds I've fluffed it....!!!

    Stalked back and round ... John got us in view back on him ... Fully alert & looking at 30 yds ish & a quick one in the neck ... Went a wee way to redeeming the day .... Crap happens but it's how you deal with it ...

    John utter proffesional & perfect gentleman

    I've done roe for a lot of years but this is a totally different ball game .... I'll be back !!

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  6. #6
    A good account of our two days stalking Dave and thanks for putting it up on SD. I was too busy getting all my kit sorted out and dried for my next trip. As Diver Dave returns back to the flat lands of Caithness next week I travel to my stalking ground in Glen Lyon for the first week of the hinds. I think this has to be the best of both worlds for stalking. You are stalking arguably at the peak of the rut and as you are shooting hinds rather than the stags much lighter on the purse. Stalking Glenlyon when compared to stalking in Caithness, well this will be like stalking in the Himalayers.

    ..............And well done Sauer on your first stag, I do believe we left our luck with you in Caithness though I do hope it returns before I go to Glen Lyon of which I will give a full account to SD on my return.

  7. #7
    Great write up & photos, thanks
    I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, but it was only some fecker with a torch bringing me more work

  8. #8
    Great write up, thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    As donsider said you could not get two extremes greater than Caithness and Glen Lyon, Caithness maybe difficult stalking, but John knows his stuff and anyone who goes with him is in good hands.

    Glen Lyon on the other hand much more physical though the actual stalk may well be easier, not unusual to do two or three Munroes in the same day, and can remember doing the same one twice in the one day.

    Sorry not my intention to hijack the thread just got carried away.

    Well done John some happy clients it would seem

  10. #10
    Boggy when you have stalked the glen you know you've been to Scotland .Recommend both to our English site users.
    Already a few thousand feet up when you see this lol

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