Didn’t know this red stag hunt was going to be as physical demanding as it was! The always wet and slippery steep terrain was quite a challenge! Crawling trough the wet heather and muddy streams in the cold windy rain on my belly was certainly memorable. The first day a young man from New Zealand guided me, and we had no luck that day.
The next day a Scottish Gamekeeper & Ghillie guided me to a somewhat small stag, but I was way too exhausted to try for a bigger one. Took him down at 150 yards with the Gamekeepers Tilkka .243. He did a great job getting close and although I don’t trust a .243 I loved his rifle!
The next day out a different Gamekeeper/Ghillie got me in position for a shot at a much bigger very old red stag. We laid in the wet heather a long time as the stag roared and moved closer to the heard of hinds. Ian’s Tikka was also very nice and it was in a much better caliber, a .270.
I shot my red stag in the middle of a roar as he had paused from trotting after the hinds coming up up and clearing a hill with just enough of him showing so I could put my bullet where the neck joins the spine! He went down dead. Cold and soaking wet the water was slouching in my boots and the magnificent Stag was down! What fun!
I did have take my wife to a shop that sold Harris Tweed Jackets & Trousers and tell her that the Gamekeepers really do crawl through muddy streams and soaking wet heather dressed like that and at the end of the day they don’t look any worse for the wear!
Is there anything that the outfitter should do differently in your opinion?
I was under the impression I would have the same guide to myself the entire hunt. I had one guide, (the first day) two different Gamekeepers and two different Ghillie’s (days two & three) as I hunted a total of three days. So, I didn’t know I was supposed to tip the Ghillie’s until I was checking out, so 5 different people in in three days… that’s a hell of a lot more tipping than the advice of 50 lbs & a bottle of Scotch! My guys wanted cash. I shared the two Gamekeeper’s with two different hunters.