Countrymans Diary

Stalking the Wind.

 

Well the Red deer rut has started, stag herds have begun to break up and I have heard a few starting to roar. I love this time of year, as it stirs the blood and as you follow the deer you feel like you are amongst the action. This reminded me of last year’s rut and the stalking challenges it brought.

I took three guests out on a Friday and the Saturday. The Saturday was some of the hardest stalking I have encountered.

Friday started off overcast as we headed into an area where the rut generally takes place. I decided to get into a vantage point and glass the glen and the surrounding hills. After 20 minutes we could see 6 stags from our position, I picked one out for the first guest and explained how we would approach the beast.

We made our way down from our vantage point into the base of the glen, we picked and weaved our way through heather and bracken, using every crag and hillock as cover, we got within a hundred meters of the stag. I sat everyone down and explained I would crawl to the edge of the knoll we were in the shadow of and take a peek and assess how the beast presented himself to us…

As I crawled over the edge to have a look through the binoculars I could see the stag was still lying down, he then lifted his head and started to lick his nose, a sure sign he was tasting the air, the wind had swirled around and was taking a slight breeze in his direction…

Sliding back down the slope I told the guest who was to take the shot to start to crawl up the slope and explained the stag had caught wind of us and if we don’t get into position and ready to take the shot the beast would be off….

We crawled back to the ridge and as we rounded it the stag was standing but looking in the opposite direction, this offered me the opportunity to pull the legs out on the bi-pod more rapidly than usual, my guest draws the cross hairs on the engine room of the stag, he told me he was ready and I replied, take the shot.

“BANG”…….. The stag’s legs buckled and he fell back, I told my guest to reload and cover the animal… We waited the customary ten minutes before we went out to the animal..

My guest was very happy and thrilled that everything came together and that we covered so much ground in the stalk without disturbing any of the other deer in the area…

Once I had Gralloched the Stag we moved into a few more areas, but as the day went on the deer became more elusive, right at the end of the day we manage to get into another stalk but this stag was too busy seeing of young interlopers trying their luck with his girls,  the light was dropping and the stag kept moving higher and higher up the hill…

Saturday on the other hand was totally different…. Lots of stags and hinds about but the wind was horrendous, it was not blustery but it would swirl around and change direction thought the stalk… Two hard slow stalks we did that day, covering miles in order to get within rifle shot but being busted by a change in wind direction at the last stage..

But that’s why we call it stalking.

 

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