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By Yokel Matt
Last Saturday evening - I'd been up well before dawn and after walking for miles and seen feck-all (on my permission anyway) decided to spend the last 2 hours of daylight sat in a high seat set in 12 acres of divine sitka spruce permission that was part of a 300 acre block. It was both cold and windy so being sat on my arse in the highseat and before long I was absolutely freezing my nuts off.
Some total bell-ends had decided to spend the evening pretending to be Ray Mears or Bear Grylls and were 150 meters away on the neighbours permission with a roaring fire and trying to break more firewood so moral and expectations were low to say the least!
Maybe ten / fifteen minute of shootable light left - like a mirage, a group of sika approach from my left. The adult hind was easy to spot so, selecting an obvious calf as soon as it was clear BOOM.... thump. followed by deer running every-which-way. I followed my hind calf the few yards that she was visible to gauge her general direction and then was distracted by as following group that stopped in the same spot. There happened to be another calf in this group so, going for a straight pin-shot, I dropper her on the spot.
The first strike had been on in an area of rushy grass on a ride of woodland and try as a might in the half-light I couldn't find the strike spot. I spent an hour, well past darkness, looking with a decent torch and eventually gave up.
I was back at dawn the next day to follow up and was PISSED to see that something had got there first. I must have walked past it a dozen times but it was invisible in the ditch if collapsed into... I really must get a dog!
By Yokel Matt
The phone rang, it was the landowner of my patch in Dorset saying the freezer was empty and there were a lot of deer about. This statement was followed by a pregnant pause which I was quick to fill with a date in the diary! Having neglected this place for a few months and still conscious of my promise to Foxdropper to put him on a stag we found ourselves before dawn at the venue last weekend. We were early and hungry as the MacDonalds we normally stopped at was closed for a refurb - The injustice of it all! As our stomachs protested we went over the game plan and as first light came kitted up and went to our staging area where we could have a good long glass as the light got stronger.
Tim was first to spot something, a large black object moving purposefully around 400m away towards a copse on the boundary of the permission. He looked to be a nice stag but didn't hang around and was shortly over the fence and in the wood. Like a ferret up a trouser leg we were off to wait up in a thick hedge closer to the copse ready for him should he reappear. No sooner had we got there then 5 more sika appeared, 4 hinds and a small stag. They were leading him all over the place and he followed obediently, several times they made their was towards us only to turn back when one of the hinds changed her mind... as females do. Eventually he seemed to get bored with it and followed the same route as the earlier stag into the copse which was within range but no opportunity presented. After discussing safe fields of fire we decided that I would circle round the copse and hopefully bump them towards Tim. The approach route for me was pretty open with several sheep fences to get over so I harboured no aspirations greater than a roe and that's if I was lucky. That was beside the point though as the priority was to get Tim his stag. I took it slow so not to properly spook them but only succeeded in bumping a roe doe from the copse which went the wrong way. Making my way back to the rendezvous two fences later I looked over my shoulder to see a hind to the right of the small spinney I just passed and paid little attention to earlier. It was apparently an old bomb blast spinney and lay in the middle of the field. She had a calf at couched at her heel and was staring straight at me. She was a good 250 away so I crept my way towards her in plane sight getting over two sheep fences in the process and got down on the bipod - amazed that she was still there and convinced that the sika population was better off without her in the gene pool. At the shot all hell broke loose and the field was alive with sika - at least 10 other animals erupted from the spinney. She had taken the 6.5 in the chest at around 150m and settled herself down at around 180. Many of the other deer had stopped to assess the situation and were within easy range but my hind looked to be labouring with a lung shot at this point still looked lucid so I left them be and concentrated on her. Around 10 mins later her hear went down and, with her calf still by her side I wasted no time in giving her some of the same. Following her short run through the scope I heard two shots in quick succession with corresponding meaty thumps from Tims position. The yet another sika hind appeared to my left, jumped the fence and stood looking at my second hind which was down and kicking her last. A small movement brought the rifle towards her, pin on the heart/lung and the fifth shot in 15 minutes rang out. Seeing the result through the scope she must have lost a pint there and then but it didn't stop her running a good 50m with it hosing out of both sides.
Taking stock at 8:30 after the gralloch we hade made a fair start to the morning.
Safely stowed away from any flies we went to investigate the rest of the 700 acres. We saw another 1/2 doz sika and a couple of roe but they were all pretty mobile and we didn't want to clear the ground in pursuit. We also bumped a huge stag which was couched no more that 10 meters away from us while we discussed the forthcoming afternoons plan near the brush and bramble area behind a stables. He would certainly be worth looking at later so we drove the rest boundary on recon whilst pretending to be the shepherd.
After a good lunch and the customary socialising with the owners we set about getting in position for a evening wait up. We had just kitted up when a cyclist saw us, put 2 and 2 together and came over to say he'd seen a decent stag 'just down there' pointing approximately to where we'd seen the big fella earlier. Being the stand up gent I am I gave Tim his peg of choice where the cyclist had motioned choosing myself to go where I'd been that morning, out of the way and with an enormous pile of gralloch in the vicinity to the foxing later that evening.
I took it slow - I'd had a great day, the evening looked to be a glorious, still and unseasonably warm. I was happy to sit up and take it all in when my daydream was broken by a crash and two sika-like shapes dappling through the other side of the hedge towards the boundary. I scurried to a hole in the hedge and dropped to one knee, a hind was in full flight with her bright white arse flared out and soon disappeared from my view point. Through the hedge I could see the other shape had stopped so I quickly wound the sling under my elbow and steadied my kneeling stance encase it should amble into my firing line. It did... fook me, a nice stag - not a big a head as the one we'd both seen earlier but still a nice 6 on a large frame. It only took a second to process the information. 1) This wasn't the large stag seen earlier near Tims current position 2) The were soon to be over the boundary 3) I'm still working on this one..... 4) Bang.
Still yet to see a chest shot sika drop and not move this chap was no exception despite the connection sounding like a cricket bat whacking a wet rug - he staggered around 50 yards before kneeling and rolling over. He was a fair lump and went on the hook at 125lb - my largest sika by far and a nice clean animal.
Needless to say I felt like a right shit for the rest of the day but Tim was pretty understanding about the whole thing - next time for sure mate!
Now for the night shift - it was nice and dark after coffee and Victoria sponge cake with the owner and the fox population was due for a pasting. Despite the long day Tim was well up for it despite all the hills we had ahead of us - I had a 12ampHr lithium battery and Tim had a 10ampHr, both fully charged and I knew I was in for a late one when he said under no circumstances were we to check the time! After mine when completely flat we switched to Tims and eventually stopped when we could hardly put one foot infront of the other despite his battery having 2 red dots to go. Right result though - 14 seen, 7 shots, 7 dead - good shooting mate.
By Yokel Matt
The alarm went off at 3:30am and the first thing to cross my mind was what the hell was I doing! I'd only been in bed 3 hours after a hellish week, the wife wasn't well and neither were my two young children. It was going to land me firmly in the red on the brownie point factor but a day trip down to Dorset had been in the diary for ages and I wasn't one to shirk on my social obligations.
Tim turned up at 4am and we bundled the gear in the my car and headed down with the conversation very much on the subject of the weather and were we going to get away with it. I'd had a call weeks earlier from a relative who has a small wood to say he had some tree work that he could do with getting done and that a landowner friend of his (where i'd recently picked up 750 acres of stalking) had been in touch to say the sika were coming back and they'd like one for the freezer if I would oblige.... oh and by the way.... we think the boar are back so could I pop down and have a look!
We sat in the car at the ground waiting for some semblance of dawn to arrive and were pretty quiet as the wind rocked the car and the rain pelted the windows. On any other day this would be the place to be but I really couldn't see it happening in these conditions so decided to make for the woodland permission a 30 minute drive away. As I've mentioned before this postage stamp permission is only 12 or so acres but is set is a much bigger block so can be hit and miss with the deer but never fails to help you unwind, relax and just enjoy being outside.
Arriving at first light the weather on this side of the hill away from the coast was far different and first thing we heard was a sika whistling which was a good start. Of the two seats at either end of the block one is definitely hotter than the other so, being the stand up gentleman that I am, I offered this to Tim which he tried to accept without a smile creeping across his face.
The whistling stopped as the light got stronger and, with my view limited and seat swaying a bit in the stronger gusts I wondered how long it would be before I heard Tims first shot.
Despite being cynical about my own prospects I remained vigilant and almost jolted in surprise when I saw a dark shape move in front of me. Confirming with the bins it was a dark stag, the hat rack hard to make out as it moved between the trees but a stag to be sure and if he presented I was going to take him. This patch has yielded several hinds and prickets amongst countless roe but I've never seen a stag on it although they undoubtedly use it as several good animals have been seen in the near vicinity. At meters he stopped between two trees and I took my chance at the base of the neck, the shot felt good and I was surprised when he turned away from me and disappeared from view only to reappear 40 yards to the right, walking in an awkward fashion and quivering when he stopped. Having seen how tough these can be I thought it best to end any speculation and put another one into him from which he made another 20 yards before collapsing.
I'm pretty happy with him that's for sure - my first mature sika stag.
The obligatory drag pic with me looking to see if Tim was going to help...no..... can't blame him I suppose!
Being the host I felt a little awkward at hogging the mornings sport but promised to make amends by acting the ghilli for the rest of the day. We walked miles, withstood driving rain and got soaked to the skin but not a sika or boar was to be seen for the rest of the day.
Still... I'm sure we both had a good time - I know my result made the naughty step back home a little easier to bear.
Im looking to purchase first rifle and have been using my mate tikka t3 lite at the moment but as the license draws nearer i need to decide on a gun for myself and i have been looking at the tikka t3 lite and the sako 85 finnlight
can anyone let me know if they have any info on the finnlight or has anyone been using one