Saturday, 26 January 2013

And We Know What Happened To The Mammoths

Well we've had a load of snow this week. More than we can cope with to be honest with you, although saying that 'sticks in my craw' after bleating for months that we need harder weather.

Anyway, there's so much snow, that we've hardly been able to get to our hinds. There's about 2 feet of it, plus there was serious drifting too.

I've spent a fair amount of the week digging or- better- snowploughing with the tractor. The snow is so soft and deep as to make our snowbikes and snowtrac useless.

I've included pictures of the two days I did get stalking. The first was after some 'handy' hinds not far away but up a steep face. Getting up there was a real battle and I was glad of the help from our young trainee to drag them back down.

The second time was yesterday. I was joined by a good friend and we decided to have a look out the floor of  a wee side glen. We found deer alright but resorted to walking up the river rather than the thigh deep plunge that was the alternative.

It took about 2 hours to go a mile. We eventually got stalked in and bagged a couple of yeld hinds. Eric brought Fergus up, and when he was loaded, it took another 2 hours to get back to the rover. It was a mammoth effort (har).

All the time I was doing this I wondered why I bother. It must just be in my nature to give it 100% every day. It's a shame it counts for so little.

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Exorcism

This was always going to be a time of change. Our old head keeper would have been due to retire in a couple of months. As it was, cancer cut him down before that was allowed to happen. Although he is gone, I can still feel his presence. We all can.

When the time came to look for a replacement, I applied for the post. As did two of my colleagues. Altogether that represented about 5 decades of keepering experience.

So it's safe to say that we were all a bit surprised when it was announced that a 30 year old from outwith has been offered the job. As you might imagine, I've since pondered this decision.

Maybe it's because he doesn't believe in ghosts.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Happy New Year to you, one and all.

Over the Christames break, my colleagues and I have been praying for some harder weather to 'bring the deer in' a bit. It didn't happen.

I also though that, with my ground left quiet for a fortnight, the deer might have settled down a bit. I even thought the big herds might have broken up and spread out a bit. Didn't happen.

We're now 2 days back in the yoke. And both days we've had mist and rain and very little to show for our efforts. Personally, I'm getting extremely windy about how far I'm behind with my cull. The problem is, there is very little any of us can do about it. Even if we were to get the hard weather now, I really don't think we could make up the numbers we need to.

I can't remember if I mentioned it in a former blog, but I had a(nother) cameraman out with me a few weeks back. This one was filming for an internet programme called The Shooting Show.

As it turned out he also (I say also because this is the second cameraman I've had out with me recently) had very poor conditions to film in. All I can say is that the camera never lies- this is what we've been having to put up with all season.

You can catch the programme (dated 7.1.13, I think) on