atticus wrote:I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoyed the fresh air and the scenery.
As you've asked, Here's a more detailed report which I hope may entertain you all.
Well, this Saturday was the occasion of my first successful deer shoot. And what a day it was. Firstly, so as you know the circumstances, I am 67 years of age, very overweight and unfit, and on some pretty pokey medication that puts a wall in front of physical performance. With that in mind I made contact with Robbie, a hunter I know in Scotland and arranged an accompanied stalk. It started well, a long 350 mile drive North and I arrived Friday evening. The scenery on the way up was stunning, even from the M6, the snowline easily visible on the hills on what turned out to be a lovely day. I had half expected the weather for Scotland in late November to be, well, inclement to say the least.
Saturday morning, up at sparrow fart and off we set a round the 6,000 acre estate in the 4x4, after checking my rifle’s zero. Not a lot doing but we eventually spotted a few fallow deer lurking on a heather moor and off we set on foot. Stalking is a very slow moving business. That land looked like easy walking. Ten yards and I discovered it was anything but! Tussock grass and bog is a swine and with my physique and health it immediately started to try and kill me. It was downhill and the group of fallow were behind a slight rise. In very short order I was walking like a drunkard and breathing like a man in the middle of an asthma attack. The ground was treacherous, firmly frozen in one step then grabbing a foot in a mud hole the next. I fell over a couple of times, to Robbie’s amusement, but I crossed a small stream OK, and we got to a good position for when the deer would come in to view.
To save my embarrassment I will merely say I made a balls of it, they moved too fast, I was too knackered, and I missed a shot. The good news is that it was a complete miss so no wounded beast to find. I felt terrible but what’s done is done so it was back to the car. Sounds simple doesn’t it. Nope! I turned around and looked at the climb back to the car, this time uphill and over the same treacherous ground. Well, there was no other way out so it’s face the pain and take your time. Up to the top and just a wall plus fence to climb. About 50 yards to the right was a nice firm gate so we opted for that. Fate justly punished me for my earlier error. Just as I got both legs over the gate I slipped sideways. My head hurtled towards a wooden fence post that had stood the ravages of time and weather for what looked like centuries. It was as hard as Iron I remembered thinking as my head hit it with the full force of 32 fps squared gravity, cushioned only by my right ear. I then continued horizontally towards the ground, my head being saved from contact with mother earth by a conveniently placed large rock laying at the base of the wall.
Robbie manfully stifled a laugh and offered a hand to help me up. I tried to say “Call me a Taxi, and make sure it’s four wheel drive.” But It came out as “Give me a minute or two.” Probably the concussion that did that. Anyway, the double vision soon cleared and I started to remember my name and other important facts so we made it to the car and adjourned for lunch in a café at the town before getting back on the land.
We drove around for a while before Robbie picked out a couple of likely candidates only a few hundred yards away. With a hunter’s instinct he had found two fallow deer, possibly the only two on the land that were short sighted, had a heavy cold and were stone deaf. We parked up and off we set. Over exactly the same sort of ground as before, but further. Or at least it felt further. Robbie set off, telling me to take my time while he scouted ahead. After just a couple of hundred yards I was aware that I had seriously overestimated my ability to move about on anything other than tarmac. By the time I had caught up with Robbie I felt half dead but I wasn’t giving up. He told me later that he had started wondering how best to get the air ambulance to our location. I was coincidentally wondering the same thing. “Another hundred yards.” He said quietly to me. This is coincidentally exactly the same distance it takes a drunken asthmatic to turn into a near paralytic asthmatic with emphysema and whooping cough.
The deer seemed blithely unconcerned about our, OK, my approach. I think they must have been a couple of stoners doing some hard skunk. We got in range and lay down. God but that felt good. The trouble is I had now hit that wall provided by the medication and I was done for. I could barely move to get the rifle on shot. Robbie gave encouragement, saying we had plenty of time, but something so simple was being very hard. Eventually, after some time, I had them targeted and was only breathing at a rate suggesting I needed an oxygen tent. A little more rest and I had relaxed enough to be able to take the shot with confidence. They were at a distance of 168 yards, close enough. I took the shot but the recoil moved me off target so I didn’t see it drop. What did surprise me was the solid ‘whoomph’ of the bullet’s impact. Robbie reported it had dropped straight down. For the technically minded it was a .308 Sierra 150 grain spitzer in front of 42.5 grains of N140 from a Bergara break barrel and a Meopta 7x50 scope.
By this time I was done for. Robbie said he would fetch it out, which was great because if I had gone with him he’s have ended up pulling me out instead (or burying me!). He went off and I lay there looking at the sky mainly, but also the superb scenery, and thinking there’s worse places to die. He returned in short order with a small young buck fallow. The shot had been a tad high, Robbie told me, but effective for all that. I also started thinking that I had to get back to the car. After a bit of a rest and a few piccies, we started back. As we progressed, Robbie had got used to me taking a tumble and was less worried. By the time we got to the car my legs had turned to rubber, I was back on the emphysema ward and absolutely wrecked. We loaded up and set off after a bit of a break. We looked around for another, perhaps easier, prospect with little result then a suitably decent sized young buck galloped along to our right then stopped. We stopped also, expecting him to flee, but no, he stood there posing like a good one. It was the nearest thing I’d seen to a deer suicide note and at about 120 yards who am I to argue? The hope for the day’s outing was for two fallow and that’s what we got. They’re now in the boot with some ice awaiting the attentions of a butcher tomorrow.
It was a superb day out. The weather was cold but fresh, the wind light, the scenery simply incredible and the company great. Robbie is incredibly knowledgeable about deer stalking but was also able to communicate that knowledge well with a tyro like me. He took me to my limit, having correctly assessed what it was better than I had. Positive encouragement at all times without any of the bullying that some people mistake for such encouragement. A star man that I hope to hunt with again.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to be offended by it."