It has to be said that I'm getting a bit despondant. It's stag stalking season and I have no stags.
Last week I was fortunate enough that there wasn't a full complement of stalkers every day. On those days, I wasn't sent out stalking and could then catch up with a lot of the stuff that normally gets put on hold at this time of year; stoat traps, putting out medicated grouse-grit, building a new midden....
But it's Tuesday and today, like yesterday and the two stalking days last week, I scoured the ground and didn't see a single shootable stag all day. Part of this is due to 10 consecutive days of West wind (drawing the deer further and further away from my ground), part of it is due to the rut not having started (after all, I have plenty of hinds) and part of it is due to the neighbouring estate having put a fence up right along our shared 'march'. A lot of my early stags used to come over from that estate. Not any more.
But as I write this the wind has swung round to the East, bringing with it thick mist and hope. I only pray that only one of these remains when tomorrow comes.