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7daysinaweek

The golden hour that nearly never was

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I thought I would post up about one of my relatively recent trips up to the west coast of Bonny Scotland. It took place when Covid 19 was only just emerging in the first few days of December when the world had no idea of what was to come. Any way I digress, back to the post in hand.

I had booked a full day stalking on a estate I have been going to for several years with the head stalker. Firstly I wanted to re zero my 243 as I had moved the scope very slightly from a previous fitting. So went out a couple of days before and new zero was set at just a tad over a hundred yards. I was shooting off a set of tri sticks in what I would say was a mildy brisk wind and after several rounds was happy with the zero grouping the last four rounds inside the 4 inch target.

The evening before text to check we were still on for the next day and all good, weather forecast was clear with the odd spot of rain. I got all my kit ready and set the alarm for 03.30, Arrghh I hate getting up at that time in the morning but once I am up I soon rally. So a quick cup of tea, put everything in the vehicle and set off. I love the drive up there at that time in the morning, never much traffic and the mind is free to wonder at what the day will bring. I arrived without incidence at around 07.30 am and the usual quick greeting and off in the the guides vehicle up into the estate which is very large. The stalking here is drive to parts of the estate then out on foot to cover the areas.

We arrived if I recall at the first area of the day about 10 minutes later and out of the vehicle covering a large area of old felled ground with interspersed new tree growth, it was dry but the wind on this open bit of ground was strong. We walked for a good while whilst the guide stopped at very regular intervals glassing the ground. After walking for I would say a good hour and a half he suddenly put his hand up and signaled that a stalk may be on, however it was not to be. After walking down into a large glade with the wind coming mostly into our faces we spied what appeared to be 2-3 red hinds that were moving away from us and as attempted to stalk in they moved quickly into a larger plantation and that was that for the present. What a wonderful sight they were almost gliding through that thick brash, it never ceases to amaze me when looking at the harsh terrain and that they can cover so much ground in such a short time.

Back to the car and we covered a couple of other areas of the estate to no avail not seeing much with nothing presenting itself as a opportunity. It was lovely to cover the ground non the less and then we broke for lunch. I headed off the estate to the local garage that does the most delicious hot scotch pies, anyroads after snaffling a few of the pies and copious amounts of tea and a little nap I headed back up to the estate.

It was around 13.00 now and back out we went and covered a huge area which I have had been fortunate in before. After quite a bit f huffing and puffing as I am not used to the steep ground we entered an area deep down in the estate, the wind does not seem to affect this area as it has trees and is sided by steep inclines. I thought we may be onto a opportunity in this area but this was not to be the case, plenty very fresh signs, slots, dropping and the like but nil other sightings.

So it came down to that last hour when we got back to the vehicle, that golden hour when the light is just starting to go and we had one last place we would be checking. No sooner had we set off in the vehicle disaster strook in the form of a puncture form a sharp stone right through the 4wd new tyres that were them big hefty chunky types. It was unforeseen and understandably both myself and the guide were disappointed and he was very apologetic , I understood that it was unforeseen and it had happened and we had to accept this. A quick call to the estate office and one of the boys was with us within 20 minutes, large trolley jack and pneumatic power tool and wheel changed. By this time we had about 30-40 minutes of good eye visible light left so we drove for another 5 minutes and the guide said that this spot would be the last  possible opportunity if one presents itself. We stopped the vehicle and walked for a good 10 minutes and we rounded a sharp bend in the track up on a elevated ridge. Suddenly the guide stops and set my sticks up for what we know as a signal for a possible shot. He glasses quickly and says words to the effect of straight ahead two red hinds he glasses again and says take the rear animal if confident and safe to do so and I mount up and have to wait a few seconds for the first animal to move forward as they are close to each other side by side. The backstop was safe and they were a tad over 200 yards away. Through the ziess scope they were as clear as day and the shot presented itself well and the animal was down. 

We walked down to the spot at which we he had marked it down and as we approached we spread out in the thick brash and I walked approx 5 yards and the animal was there. We had the dog with us also but did not need to use. After the field gralloch it was a bit of a struggle as the beast was large but after a bit of lugging he bought the vehicle down and we loaded up just as the light was going but could still see quite well. It was a real case of never say never and it is not over until, well you know the saying!

After a short drive we weighed and logged the beast in the estate records and loaded it into the back of my Volvo estate v7o for the long trip home. A little tired but happy. I got home around 21.00 and took the animal through to the back. I would usually hang them up but this was too big for my set up so propped and strung upwards overnight in the cool air. I woke up bleary eyed the morning and undertook at great effort skinning, butchering and jointing it out. As you can see from the pics it was very productive and has gone on to provide many delicious meals. Hopefully it won't be much longer until we can get out again.

atb

7diaw

 

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Edited by 7daysinaweek

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54 minutes ago, Scully said:

Bloody hell, that s a fair haul of meat! Sounds great, thanks for the write up.👍

It was a colossal effort believe me Scully, I am not much over 8 stone wet and it was difficult for me to manhandle, easily 90 kilos post gralloch, maybe more, I cannot recall the exact weight. Obviously a bit less after skinning, it took me the best part of a day to break down into all different cuts for freezing and putting through the mincer. The picture on the kitchen work surface that was one back leg before boning out.

atb

7diaw

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You are back on the forum with a vengeance. 

That was a good story.

I am looking forward already to the next episode of you v triffid. 

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14 minutes ago, JDog said:

You are back on the forum with a vengeance. 

That was a good story.

I am looking forward already to the next episode of you v triffid. 

Thank you JD.

Round 3 coming soon when I can muster up the courage 👍 

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On 30/04/2020 at 13:39, 7daysinaweek said:

took the animal through to the back

Cracking read pal,  the full version is is much funnier 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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1 hour ago, Mice! said:

Cracking read pal,  the full version is is much funnier 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Argghh! It is all coming back to me. 😣

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Great read. I’m not far from you, would be happy to split the drive and head up together next year if you fancied it 👍

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54 minutes ago, 7daysinaweek said:

Argghh! It is all coming back to me. 😣

Like an episode of Brookside 😅😅😅

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