Unforgettable high seat experience

Woodsy

Well-Known Member
Yesterday, 12th August, at dusk. Sitting in a high seat on the edge of a wooded valley looking out on to some rough ground and a barley field. The canopy and branches of the big old ash tree slightly overhanging my left side. Very still, almost no breeze. Clear sky. Light starting to fade. An almost full moon rising above the horizon to my right, between a big oak and an old beech tree. Rifle butt on my right thigh, stock resting on the left hand corner of the shooting rail, barrel and moderator pointing up at almost 45 degrees. My hands were both resting on the rifle. Suddenly from my left something swooped silently through the canopy towards me and landed on the very tip of my moderator. An adult tawny owl! I felt the rifle move slightly in my hands as it landed. It’s back was to me. At the moment it landed, it fluffed up all its feathers and from the movement of the back of its head I knew it was scanning the rough ground below and in front of the seat. My heart started thumping. A moment later it turned its head all the way round as owls do and stared straight in to my eyes. It move its head forwards and back and from side to side, just a foot or so from my face. I think at this point I smiled and breathed out; I’d been holding my breath. Off it went as silently as it had arrived, back in to the trees. The rifle barely moved when it flew off. I heard it call three times from the edge of the wood maybe 70 yards away. Then all went quiet.

Has anyone else had an owl land on their rifle while sitting in a high seat? I wonder if that will ever happen to me again. Or is it a once in a lifetime thing? One thing is for sure. I will never, ever forget it.
 

takbok

Well-Known Member
What a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing it.

We've got tawny owls in our garden and I love seeing and hearing them occasionally.
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
No never had that happen, but tucked under trees out of the rain, a peregrin swished & landed a couple of feet from my face. We both sat there for two or three mins, then it flew off across the valley.
Enjoyed that experience a lot.
 

Home Loader

Well-Known Member
Not an owl, but have had several close encounters with wildlife.
The most memorable was sat in a high seat one evening, a buzzard landed on a branch next to me, sat looking at me and the into the wood and back at me and again into the same area in the wood several times. Moments later a gang of Fallow appeared, when I moved it moved to a tree closer to the deer and promptly took off at the shot only to alight and wait for its dinner!
In that wood we regularly have buzzards follow us.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Have had owls land in the tree I regularly sit under to wait for a deer. Highseat in Caithness overlooking the river Thurso 20 yards away from - Osprey stopping to take a small salmon. Sitting in tight on the marsh down at the Tyne estuary had a peregrine take a redshank close by and also sat and watched otters move close. Watching two young otters playing in the pond.

And the funniest was stalking and the kind invitation of PKL on his ground down in the borders. There was a set of young badgers on a steep bank. The young badgers were rolling up in balls and tumbling down the slope, shaking themselves off and running back up and doing it all again. Just playing for the fun of it.

Its moments like these that I just love and going out stalking and just being quiet is what makes these moments happen.
 

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
I was hovered over repeatedly in a Kent marsh at dusk, whilst waiting for imaginary ducks, by a barn owl. It sat in the wind 50cm to a meter above me, staring down to work out whether I was dangerous or food. Verdict: neither. It was awesome. Never fired a shot. But that was normal. I never shot any ducks in Kent.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

wirehair

Well-Known Member
I had a similar experience with a sparrowhawk a few years ago, i watched it fly up the rideline and land on my moderator, looked at me and startled flew off.
 

andychas

Well-Known Member
I had a remarkably similar experience to you this year! I was sitting out in a high seat with the NV just after the first silage cut this summer, it was gone dark but still just enough light to be watching a barn owl hunt the field, then it flew straight towards me and landed on the rest- bar of the high seat right in front of me, I stayed stock still and after checking me over, turned and surveyed the ground below from his perch. He sat there happily for a few minutes before turning round to look at me again, then flew off to continue his rounds, Have to say that was definitely the most amazing experience, stunning bird and a real privilege.
That particular high seat has definite signs of scratching on the foam covering the rest-bar, so I suspect its a favourite perch, I just happened to be there at the right time. I had the thermal with me, and it would have been lovely to get some images but the memory will stay firmly etched in my mind!
 

estokes10

Well-Known Member
Good stuff sounds like a good evening.
Not half as romantic as your encounter, I was attacked by Buzzard got a black eye for my inconvenient positioning of a high seat.
When i say attacked what mean is flew into but it gives the story that bit extra in the Pub!
 

cjm1066

Well-Known Member
In sitting doe box in the borders, I was using the binoculars when I heard what sounded like the rifle falling. Turning, everything went white as something grabbed my arm, it was a barn owl landing on me, the white was me looking into its wings.

My heart was still hurting over 12 hours later, the next night I watched the owl fly past.
 

Bavarianbrit

Well-Known Member
Around 2008 I had a tawny land on the side rail of a highseat almost the same as yours did it took me ages to turn my head to face it then we just stared at each other it seemed for half an hour but must have been 2-3 minutes then it lifted off and flew away, it is one of my most treasured moments. Deffo once in a lifetime happening.
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
Around 2008 I had a tawny land on the side rail of a highseat almost the same as yours did it took me ages to turn my head to face it then we just stared at each other it seemed for half an hour but must have been 2-3 minutes then it lifted off and flew away, it is one of my most treasured moments. Deffo once in a lifetime happening.
I have had exactly the same experience but with a Barn Owl. Magnificent birds.

I have a few Owl boxes around the farm and one of the chicks fell out a couple of years ago. I only found it as the Vizsla went on point for it as we walked past one morning. I got a ladder, picked it up and put it back int he box where it fledged successfully with the others. I couldn't believe how light weight it was.

IMG_1336.JPG
 

Rasputin

Well-Known Member
Never a barn owl. They are so cool. What an experience. Had kingfishers a couple of times on my fishing rod and also an otter which I inadvertently stroked reaching down for some bait. Not sure who was more shocked about that one
 

TomDeer

Well-Known Member
Amazing. One of those experiences that makes stalking so enriching and rewarding - irrespective of whether a deer shows up!
 

The fourth Horseman

Well-Known Member
Whilst being the stalker for a well known late Lord a number of years ago we had a pair of Hobbys on the estate.
He told me there was some excellent malt whiskey waiting for me if I found the nest for him to see.
Sat in a high seat whilst my wife stalked on foot and a Hobby landed on the shooting rail. When my wife had a shot I went to find her and she informed me she had just put a hawk off an old crow's nest.
Bingo and Cheers your Lordship. :tiphat:
 

Brittany boy

Well-Known Member
Two years ago while shooting foxes with the night vision I had a barn owl hover a couple of feet above me as I was using a mouse squeaker to bring in the fox , fox move on while I was too busy watching the owl .
 

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