Monday, 7 December 2009

What a drag!

The sun shone today. So- after phoning Sky News- I took some photos as evidence. You can see there is a fair amount of snow on the far tops. (Earlier this week we had it right down to the bottoms of the glens. 'Orrible wet stuff it was but it did make belly-crawling on grassy slopes a doddle- unless you were trying to crawl uphill.)

I'd already had a good day, managing to bag 3 beasts in the morning. Then the last stalk of the day was right on the top of a hill. The wind had dropped to nothing, the sun was in my face and the snow was crunchy and very difficult to move on quietly. With a lot of care I managed to get to within 100 yards of a herd without them becoming aware of me.

As a result, I managed to shoot a couple of dry hinds before the rest ran off. "That's a horseful" I thought " that'll do nicely." Then the herd stopped and right at the back was another lovely big yeld hind, standing apart from the others.

I can resist everything except temptation. As she was standing bum on to me, my only option was a neck shot. It was a long shot- about 220 yards I estimated- but as she was facing straight away from me the chances of a wounding were extremely small. At that angle you usually drop them in their tracks or dont touch them at all. Sort of "do or DONT die". Wouldn't you know it, she dropped to the shot.

So there I was with 3 big hinds, my horse 1 mile and 1000 vertical ft away, the land-rover 1 mile in the other direction and less than 2 hours of light. Oops!

There was little option. When Eric- my ponyman- eventually arrived with Fergus- the pony- we loaded the 2 largest beasts on the saddle and they headed off. And the last beast? I attached my drag rope to it and hauled it back to the 'rover.

Before I'd even started squeezing the trigger on the third beast, I'd known that this was the only likely solution. (In these parts you ask questions first and shoot later, pardner.) I rationalised that the uphill and flat parts of my drag were in snow and the vast majority of the rest was downhill. So that was all right.

And the theory was good -actually I've dragged deer from here before. Just not quite as big as this one. By the time I was back at the rover, I was lathered. And my reward for all this effort?

I got to skin 2 of them back at the larder while my sweat chilled. (We only skin our best, clean shot yeld hinds. They then get sold privately at a better price than we get from the game dealer.)

When I at last got home I would have liked nothing more than to have settled down in front of the fire. Instead, it was a quick turn-around and off out to a local ceilidh followed by an hours drive to my parents for the night.

No rest for the wicked? Just call me Damien.

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