Monday, 11 October 2010

Stuck into a rut

I was really looking forward to getting going this morning. Indications were that the rut was -at last- starting on my beat last Friday. So you can imagine my dismay when I looked out by the first light of day and could see nothing for thick mist.

The mist persisted all morning. I kept my allotted guest amused by taking him fishing. We covered a good stretch of river using my favoured 'hit-and-run' tactics and saw plenty of salmon jumping but, alas, it was not to be.

At midday we could see the mist starting to rise so we hurried back to the lodge. There we met another guest who HAD met with some luck. He'd caught a salmon in the pool at the bottom of the lodge drive. Less 'hit-and-run', more "och, this-will-do-me-here". Maybe I need to review my methods.

Anyway, I collected my ponyman and walking ghillie and headed off to the hill. It was still misty when we left the rover at the top of a ridge but before we'd had the chance to drop out of it I could hear roaring. Hallelujah!

I had to investigate 4 or 5 groups of deer before I eventually found a stag I considered mature enough yet poor enough for shooting. Thereafter followed a soggy 40 minutes as we crawled to within range. It was going to be a tricky shot off the top of a rock (to get the rifle clear of the bracken) made slightly easier when the stag decided to come back along the slope towards us. He eventually stopped 120 yards below us to return a roar that I'd given him.

The guest and his rather tasty Rigby rifle both made a good job of the shot. Upon investigation the stag turned out to be the mature switch-topped eight pointer I thought he was. And back at the larder he turned out to be 16 stone forbye. That's a good stag for these parts.

We made our way home at the end of what turned out to be a beautiful afternoon. That's been a rare thing of late, and it makes you appreciate it all the more. The sun wasn't the only one beaming.

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