It was time for a long overdue trip down to my ground in Dorset to cull some sika that were terrorising some sheep - don't know whether it was just pent up frustration or what as the rut is quite far progressed now but they weren't doing themselves any favours.
We arrived bang on first light - weather was nice, still and only a little chilly and as soon as we got out the truck we could hear on whistling down on the ground below. We got ready sharpish and set off to an area that had been a favourite spot for them in the past trying not to spook the sheep that occupied all the fields. Tim got into position and I moved to the other side of the hedge to cover the blind spot and he started calling. A good 15 minutes later and nothing to be seen on my side I hopped back over the gate i'd crossed to suggest to Tim that we try another spot and no sooner than my feet touched the other side a shot rang out with an immediate thump afterwards. Being able to see Tim where he was I glassed in front of his and could see a stag down but thrashing on the ground no more than 20m in front of him. Result! I took a few paces towards him and bugger me another stag hopped the far fence line and ran towards the one on the floor.... bang... down he went to. Tim got up from his kneeling position and went slowly forwards to see if the 'last rights' were needed for his first one when I spotted yet another stag leap into the field and trot up towards him - I called Tim's attention to this, the larger of the three, and fair play to him he kept his cool and made the triple with no more than four minutes from the first shot to the last. I'll bet that doesn't happen very often! Tim was one big smile and who can blame him!
The sun had broken through by the time we had done a quick gralloch and the warming grass brought our attention to quite a lot of flies in the area, no doubt due to the sheep. We headed back to fetch the truck and get them stored away before they got fly-strike. From the higher ground where the truck was parked couldn't believe our eyes as a donkey of a stag was making his way across the field id been covering at the start of proceedings not 25 minutes earlier. Taking the truck to the corner or the field I grabbed my rifle and got down on the bipod guessing the range a around 200m. Boom and the stag lurched to a solid chest strike and ran around 50m before standing still and wobbling for 5 minutes before collapsing. We paced him out at 240m and he was a right fooking unit so I was glad we had the truck handy.... and it wasn't even 8 O'clock yet!!
A flyaway comment to a nearby friend (who owns a nice stand of douglass fir where we had to go later to sort his deer out) revealed a game dealer in the vicinity so the next couple of hours were spent sorting the venison out followed by a sociable cup of tea with the landowner.
The afternoon spent in highseats at the Douglas Fir patch that afternoon yielded two small roe bucks that would have been left had it not been for the specific instructions of the owner who, because he saw them every time he went there, held them responsible for the damage inflicted by the every deer, squirrel and woodpecker in the forest...
That evening we went back to the place we'd had all the luck that morning and called in a sika pricket that I neck shot at 70 meters from a rise overlooking a lush valley - Tim called a decent stag who must have travelled nearly a mile but we lost sight of it in the fading light and vowed to go back in the morning.
Weather this morning was atrocious - pissing it down would be an understatement.... biblical more like.. but it brightened up about 8am and we went to a different vantage point and resumed the call. A absolutely massive stag was chasing a hind, after offering only the briefest of opportunities gave us the slip and followed the hind into the gorse. What happened next was what dreams are made of - a stag appeared on the horizon with the sun on his back coming straight into the call. He followed the same route as the bigger stag and we thought we'd lost him until he suddenly appeared to my left 160m away - a quick adjustment and he took a solid chest shot but then proceeded to run 80m to a fence, jump it and then do a further 150m loop of the field before jumping another fence and disappearing into the gorse... seeing this makes you appreciate how they get their reputation for being tough!
We found where he cleared the first fence and the blood pattern confirmed a lung shot which we then trailed up the hedgeline to his second jump spot finding a reassuring squirt of claret that this exertion has produced.
A thankfully short trail from here found him stone dead... another stag in the bag and the end of fantastic trip.
Edited by Yokel Matt, 16 October 2016 - 08:24 pm.