Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Much to my relief, the hind season is finally over. And in case I haven't mentioned it before IT HAS BEEN HARD.
Oh, I have already, have I ??
A couple of the pictures show the grand finale to the season. If you're wondering, the whisky was a gift from some grateful guests. (As if we would have pinched it from THAT lot!) Very welcome it was too. Thanks lads.
And so to today. Today I was setting up my long-neglected stoat traps. I don't think I've yet recovered from the marathon that was the hind season because by 11.30 I was feeling absolutely knackered. I hunkered down in the lee of a bank to have my piece. Trying with little success to shelter from the drizzle carried on an icy blast.
My banana had a sticker on it and- as I've done 1000 times before- I stuck this to the lid of my lunchbox. Then as I sat there I started reading the names on all the different stickers. Braeburn- New Zealand; Cape- South Africa; Fyffes- Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, The Windward Islands.....
Those far-flung lands have always sounded exotic, but never moreso than right then. Strangely, I could almost feel the warmth of the sun....
They say hypothermia can get you like that! It was time to get round more traps.
Boy, do I need a holiday.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
It's a sair fecht!
The light covering of snow is making heavy weather of the stalking. There are no short-cuts when you stick out like a sore thumb. Furthermore, the long detours (to keep you out of sight of the deer) force you higher up the hills and into snow up to your f..f..f..fetlocks.
Generally speaking, the deer are still in great nick. This becomes very apparent if you make the slightest mistake.
Take yesterday, for example. I had a regular guest- John- out. The deer were low down on one side of the glen. So we took a long, slow plod over the hill above them. And as we did so, the deer casually crossed the glen.....
So John and I had a long belly crawl down a (mostly) frozen burn to cross the floor of the glen without them seeing us.(See pic!) As we did so I noisily broke through some ice. Brrr! 500 yards away one or two hinds got to their feet.....
By the time we were able to move freely again, most of the 400-strong herd were on the move. By the time we got to our shooting point there was 1 scrawny hind and her scrawnier calf left- and they had their bags packed and their passports stamped. John managed to nail the calf.
It was a massive amount of effort for 15kg of venison but it's typical of what this season has been like.
Today, for the first time in ages, I managed to come home with a decent bag. But it required a long walk, two long stalks and nearly all the daylight that was available.
I love my stalking but I have doubts as to what is going to come first- the end of the season or the end of my tether.