An epic wet week on the Stags

NigelM

Well-Known Member
#21
On Wednesday we had broken two of the party and one had gone home, leaving just two of us for the hill. My partner in crime had shot the day before so I was on. Heavy rain and 30 knots of wind again so it was going to be another challenge.

We spied a stag with hinds the other side of the lock on the way out so that became the plan for the day. Another river crossing ensured wet feet for the day and the dog looked less than enthusiastic for a repeat performance of the day before. A good climb up to get over a hind and calf soon sorted us out and when we finally got up there the rain had stopped which was a bonus.

The stag was holding about 40 hinds, the biggest group we had seen so far. When we found them the were feeding away from us so it was up again to make some ground and drop back in a bit further up the glen. The plan worked and we snuck in to about 150 meters, unable to risk getting any closer.

He was lying down in the middle of the hinds facing away from us. Wind was at about 2 o'clock and very gusty. I retconned on about 3" of drift at that range. After 20 minutes of waiting he still hadn't stirred and the thoughts of a shot to the back of the head started to enter my mind, but I resisted, just a bit too risky in that wind. After 40 minutes the hinds stood up and continued to feed away from us over the ridge and out of sight. Finally, after the last one went he stood up, arse to us, and immediately took off over the hill.

We moved forward again and got sight of the majority of the hinds but no stag in sight. We were pinned down and no option but to wait again. After 30 minutes he showed at 200 meters, feeding left to right, perfect broadside. Allowing 4" for wind I waited for him to stop and fired. Good heart shot and he went down, a nasty looking switch with both brow tines and a bay tine on the left side.

I called the dog forward when I was sure the stag had passed away and cast him off down wind to find it. He shot off as instructed and caught the scent, quartering up into it whilst we were ambling down the hill. Now usually he goes straight in when he finds a deer, grabs it by the neck and gives it a good ragging. On this occasion he went straight in between the back legs, surgically removed the stags testicles and swallowed them both whole. Not even a chew, straight down! He had done the same a year ago on the same hill, but never attempted to do it since. Can't work out why, but we had to see the funny side of it after he had his bollocking :D

We dragged down to the loch side and split up, one going for the rowing boat and two of us for the vehicle, both at opposite ends of the loch. After a somewhat dodgy crossing we met up gain at the other side and loaded him up. Another big, fat 211 Lb stag in the larder and a bit more whisky consumed. A great day on the hill.
 

sauer

Well-Known Member
#23
Never ever ....EVER !...... lay down for a snooze naked if that dog is about !

You may wake abruptly and find your self able to sing soprano !!!

Paul
 

philip

Well-Known Member
#24
On Wednesday we had broken two of the party and one had gone home, leaving just two of us for the hill. My partner in crime had shot the day before so I was on. Heavy rain and 30 knots of wind again so it was going to be another challenge.

We spied a stag with hinds the other side of the lock on the way out so that became the plan for the day. Another river crossing ensured wet feet for the day and the dog looked less than enthusiastic for a repeat performance of the day before. A good climb up to get over a hind and calf soon sorted us out and when we finally got up there the rain had stopped which was a bonus.

The stag was holding about 40 hinds, the biggest group we had seen so far. When we found them the were feeding away from us so it was up again to make some ground and drop back in a bit further up the glen. The plan worked and we snuck in to about 150 meters, unable to risk getting any closer.

He was lying down in the middle of the hinds facing away from us. Wind was at about 2 o'clock and very gusty. I retconned on about 3" of drift at that range. After 20 minutes of waiting he still hadn't stirred and the thoughts of a shot to the back of the head started to enter my mind, but I resisted, just a bit too risky in that wind. After 40 minutes the hinds stood up and continued to feed away from us over the ridge and out of sight. Finally, after the last one went he stood up, arse to us, and immediately took off over the hill.

We moved forward again and got sight of the majority of the hinds but no stag in sight. We were pinned down and no option but to wait again. After 30 minutes he showed at 200 meters, feeding left to right, perfect broadside. Allowing 4" for wind I waited for him to stop and fired. Good heart shot and he went down, a nasty looking switch with both brow tines and a bay tine on the left side.

I called the dog forward when I was sure the stag had passed away and cast him off down wind to find it. He shot off as instructed and caught the scent, quartering up into it whilst we were ambling down the hill. Now usually he goes straight in when he finds a deer, grabs it by the neck and gives it a good ragging. On this occasion he went straight in between the back legs, surgically removed the stags testicles and swallowed them both whole. Not even a chew, straight down! He had done the same a year ago on the same hill, but never attempted to do it since. Can't work out why, but we had to see the funny side of it after he had his bollocking :D

We dragged down to the loch side and split up, one going for the rowing boat and two of us for the vehicle, both at opposite ends of the loch. After a somewhat dodgy crossing we met up gain at the other side and loaded him up. Another big, fat 211 Lb stag in the larder and a bit more whisky consumed. A great day on the hill.

Don’t suppose he is a wire by any chance - :lol:
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
#25
Funnily enough none of the guys at the lodge slept very well that night. He was renamed "The Surgeon" for the rest of the week.

And yes Philip, he is a wire.
 

Fishpond

Well-Known Member
#26
Thankyou so much for a wonderful couple of instalments - well told and great humour - I'm going to have to give this a go sometime - without the canine castration I hope!

Dry powder

Richard
 

philip

Well-Known Member
#27
Funnily enough none of the guys at the lodge slept very well that night. He was renamed "The Surgeon" for the rest of the week.

And yes Philip, he is a wire.
yep
Thought as much, my wire would swallow rabbit bolters whole and throw the head back up, hitting you in the back of the head on the way home, his party trick apart from the occasional ripping off and eating the never regions of deer, he would retrieve a fox and stop off on the way back for a scoobie snack.

obviously I didn’t quite feed him enough he weighed in at 49 kgs. :eek:

trying to convince the boss that the smell was old muddy water and it would be ok when he dried off did run a bit thin on occasions

thanks for sharing the stalk experience, that’s a memory maker

cheers

phil
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
#28
Thursday morning there were 4 of us back on the hill again. We turned out for muster at 0900 to be greeted by the stalker who very dryly informed us that today was going to be "very wet and windy". That didn't bode at all well judging by he previous MO for understatement.

We jumped in the vehicles and went up the track to the spy point where vis was so bad we could see the square root of f**k all. We decided that if we were going to find deer anywhere that day it would be in the hags on the lee side of the mountain so we drove down to the bothy and went up from there. It really was pretty foul. We sheltered in the hags for the worst of it, hunting for stags in the lulls. By 1300 we were all **** wet through and starting to get a little chilly. We hadn't seen a deer or heard a roar all morning so we decided to go back down, warm up, dry out and regroup for Sika later in the day.

Two party's went out on the ska at either end of the woodland which is about a mile long in the bottom of the valley. The rain and wind had abated, the skies had cleared and it promised to be a good evening. One of the guns had been driving back from town the evening before and had stopped and photographed a big 8 pointer which he was focussed on calling in. I went off with another guest and tried at the other end. Despite best efforts neither of us saw anything so it was a blank day.

Later that evening we were reminded about how beautiful the highlands can be. After dinner we slipped outside for a quick smoke and looked up. With zero light pollution the sky was quite incredible, the milky way cutting a huge swathe through the night sky and if we had known anything about astronomy we would have been spotting most of the constellations. As it was we only managed the Plough and Orion. Stunning evening.

Friday was the final day. One more had departed so one gun went with the stalker and the other two of us went down the the bothy and took the other side. We had spied a group of 15 hinds and two sets of hind with calf on the way down, but no stags. All week there had been 8 to 12 stags at the top and we were not sure that there wasn't a stag with the 15 hinds, too far away for our optics.

Another river crossing and wet feet and we went up to get over the two sets of hinds and calves. We came down to spot them each time just to ID exactly where we were and then moved in to where the group was. They had moved. If we had carried on looking for them we would probably have been winded by any stags that were on the top so we doubled back and stalked into the top.

In Scotland, for those of you who don't know, the march is usually either the watershed at the top of a hill or the burn at the bottom. This hill is no different and right at the top there is a pile of rocks with a marker on the top which is a very positive march marker. As we approached it I caught sight of an antler the other side. Back pack and rifle off we crawled in to find an 8 pointer holding a single young hind with 4 young stags around him. I put the rangefinder on them and they were 137 meters the wrong side of the hill.

I stalked the other estate for about 8 years and know the stalker well. It would have been real no-no to have gone poaching so we sat and waited. If they fed into the wind they would come over the march, but after 30 minutes they showed no sign of doing so so we backed down and left them undisturbed.

We now wanted to find those hinds to see if they had an admirer with them. After 20 minutes we found where they have moved to, just 200 meters from where we had seen them 4 hours earlier. We stalked in from above and watched for 20 minutes from 130 meters but there was no stag so again we backed down.

A long walk back to pick the vehicle up and we reflected on our day. We hadn't bumped anything, we had two good stalks, seen 20 or so deer up close and hadn't disturbed any of them. The trigger hadn't been pulled but we felt pretty good about it.

All in all a great week. Good company, great stalking. No as many stags seen as previous years and a funny old rut, but we had 3 Sika and 3 Red in the larder and all of us were very happy. In fact it was so good that we all agreed on Friday night that a week wasn't long enough so we have booked 2 weeks next year :D

Hope you enjoyed the read. A bit of an epic but it's nice to write and re-live what was a fantastic week.
 

Cootmeurer

Well-Known Member
#29
Later that evening we were reminded about how beautiful the highlands can be. After dinner we slipped outside for a quick smoke and looked up. With zero light pollution the sky was quite incredible, the milky way cutting a huge swathe through the night sky and if we had known anything about astronomy we would have been spotting most of the constellations. As it was we only managed the Plough and Orion. Stunning evening.
.
great story, really getting me excited for my own trip over in less than a week

as as to your stargazing, there is a great app for smartphones called GoSkyWatch. Hold it up and it orients to the sky position and provides names of every constellation or celestial body visible (and those just below the horizon that either were or will be visible). First time I used it I ended up standing outside almost long enough to give myself hypothermia.
 

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