Finally back from my stalk, and it was a tremendous time. We flew over to Scotland and had about 8 days to take in sights.In that time I stalked my stag at the Straloch estate. I was picked up at Pitlochry by Stalker Johnny on the 7th. We had already eaten, so I was introduced to a couple of younger chaps. One was a temporary assistant, and one an understudy. He was only 18, had never stalked, and I believe he had never even shot a gun. Not sure how he decided to be a stalker!
We started out in an Argo. I'd seen one years ago, but don't have them around where I live. The heather of course was wet and soft, and much different overall than anything I am used too. Moving over mountains to get an elk has a few similarities, but mostly differences. We spotted a nice stag right off the bat. I thought we were going to end the quest early that morning. I sat prone on a hilltop overlooking the estate fence line. Would have been a rather easy 230 yard shot, but the stag never stood still. Johnny didn't want to me risk a shot. The stag ran down the fence line after some hinds, so we followed down the ridge and I got another try. I was unable to locate the animal in the scope in time for a shot. It would have been 270 yards. I am used to shooting at 500 yards, and using my own guns, would have felt pretty secure. Winds didn't seem all that bad at this point.
We then circled the estate and noted some animal locations and went back to a shack for lunch.
We took up stalking straight up over the hill (mountain) where we imagined and had seen to be a few animals. We did find 4 stags attending up to 50 hinds, and got as close as we could. This was still about 700 yards away, as there was a smaller stag between us that we didn't disturb. The smaller stag finally got up and moved on so we moved up on what looked to be 3 good shooters. We took a 2 hour stalk as they were moving gradually closer to the far end of the mountain. We got within 80 yards, but found the only stag left in the immediate vicinity was an inferior animal that was going to get to live another day. Behind us during this stalk, we noted a neighboring estate made several shots and moved a herd of over 300 animals to the far end of our visible field at the other end of this mountain.
I spent the next 1.5 hours stalking crawling and crouching about 750 yards. Got plenty wet, and was thankful for my drip dry nylon pants. No cuts or damage to skin, feet, knees or hands, though the water was cool. The temp was around 50F at the beginning and got a little cooler at the end. We scared up most of these animals, but I did get a chance at what looked to be a 14 point animal in his prime. I had signed on for a 11 point or under, so I had to pass, but it would have been a great animal with a shot straight up a the mountain. We kept on going to behind a big rock and peered around to find an older 10 point stag that was past his prime. Just the perfect animal for my stalk. I made a 200 meter shot and ended my day about 4:30. I had gotten rather nervous that I wasn't going to get another shot after my failure to find the animal in time that morning when push had come to shove.
I really enjoyed Pitlochry, and though we spent time there, we went many places. Tried Balmoral, but it was closed. We went to Stirling, did a Safari, saw a distillery, went to the fish ladder, and on and on. People were generous and engaging. I loved the stalking culture, and do intend to go back for Roe Bucks perhaps as early as next Summer.
Straloch is top notch, and I definitely got my money's worth. I stayed at East Haugh House, and have only good things to say about their food and location.
Transitioning to driving on the left was not that big of a deal. Everything is smaller, but we got used to it last year. Thanks for the hospitality!
The rock at the top and slightly to the left is where we stalked too. About 200 meters away, this is what we got to after 750 yards on the ground and water!
Unfortunately I don't have edit function, so I will have to live with the problems with the pictures.