Headed across the pond last week of Sept to the 1st week of Oct with three fellow hunters/friends. After a couple days of touring and checking out the drinks and fun Edinburgh had to offer we were off to our hunting headquarters. We split into two pairs and worked different areas, as usual Aaron and I were in strong persuit of trophy Red Stags and Trophy Fallow deer. We got the job done in 4.5 days with the first two days in good clear weather then spent the rest of our time battling cold winter rain and fog. I hunted hard with Aaron on the camera after a Roe Deer but was not able to find the trophy class I was looking for. We ran into quite a few does and fawn with a few decent/small bucks. These deer are very hard to get close to and spent most of their time in the thick timber.
In Scotland sliceners are the norm, with a .308 Cal that sounded like a .22 Aaron looked over stags but elected not to pull the trigger. Headed up a mountain in some timber we spotted a pair of large Fallow deer bucks and the persuit was on! Covered in Optifade we kept about a 60 yard pace with the wind to our face until the animals were finally calm enough to slow down/stop. Cautiously the fallow took refuge in a very thick timber patch and we had a 15 minute stand off with no clear shot, also we had the smaller of the two standing infront of the larger buck we were after. The animals knew something was wrong but couldnt pin point where we were and finally decided to move off to a more comfortable area, as they attempted to leave we had Aaron ready and steady on a branch while the film was rolling! The buck took one step leaving no shot, then a minute later took a hard quartering away turn as they were about to leave, with a 6 inch shooting window Aaron got the job done entering behind the ribs and finishing behind the opposite shoulder bringin down our first harvest.
We then refueled and decided we would go after an area higher up on a different mountain where we could see hinds (female red deer) in the optics next to a timber patch. We set up a plan and waited as we knew any stags in there were to come down either the open ravine or down the forest restoration fence line behind small stands of trees. With the Stags rutting hard they were making large wallows of 30 x 70 yards virtually over night and they were headed down to a wallow as we were hoping for. While the stags disappeared behind the trees I caught a glimpse of a nice stag, He had some serious back sweeping tines and I liked what I saw, we crawled off to the side for a chance to get a shot through the trees but no avail, as I waited Aaron whisped "im on him" and there he was standing right in the muddy wallow next to another smaller stag, I took the shot at about 210 yards as the Blaser .308 barely barked the stag came crashing down with a neck shot right in the muddy wallow!
After muddy clean up, pictures, celebration and some internals being removed we dropped down to a lower area where we found a bachelor group of stags who spotted us comming. As they became frantic we quickly glassed a monster 21 point with perfect crowns that had to go down. It was either now or never as Aaron prepared for the shot the Stag hid behind a smaller one and presented no shot, when they decided they had enough of those odd objects in the distance Aaron took full advantage of an open shot to the vitals, he did the classic back leg kick dropped, regained his footing with a rack full of vegetation and dropped dead there after. These animals were not nearly as presured as our game here due to the fact that the average citizen does not have the means to hunt over there. They have some absurd gun laws, bag limits and limitations for their residents. Almost reminds you of pronghorn behavior. After celebration the work began with guts, and loading em up to hang in another location for skinning and processing. Out there they call their meat lockers a "larder" and can legally sell the game meat through a local game dealer. Customs would not allow us to bring the meat back so we let the land owners and host put it to good use.
We spent our last few days soaked to the bone in the non stop rain and fog, covered miles upon miles through the heather covered hill sides. We also took note of the simple but amazing work put into their stone walls that ran for miles upon miles, quite a labor feat to the understanding eye. With nothing but does and small bucks I was not able to find the SCI Gold Medal Roe Buck I was after. I managed to get with in 15 yards of buck on the edge of a creek bottom be he was too small. I also had a 70 yard encounter with a large fallow buck in the fog but had no shot opportunity. Our guide Steve,was very hospitable and kept us entertained when hunting wasnt a possibility due to weather. We helped him with some sheep culling for the freezer putting down 4 in short order with head shots. He had quite the collection of large calber rifles for his hunts in Africa, mounts, punt guns and a waterfowl collection. He was gracious enough to actually give us neck collars off of geese he had harvested on his hunting grounds, with no love for the Canadas they persued ducks, Gray lag and pink foot geese regularly. He also had in his collection a single shot 4 guage and side by side 8 gauge shotgun he still regularly used while hunting!
On the final morning we decided to take a shot at an area holding 'the biggest Fallow deer we've ever seen" We also spotted Roe deer along the way but no big bucks, as luck would have it we arrived at the area to see if we could find this buck, shortly after we arrived in the woods we found the Buck and his does but they made out at first sight of us. We swept around slightly into the timber when we caught movement in the trees, the buck was behind his does and stopped with just enough time to pass one through his vitals ending our trip on a great note!
We booked this trip with International Adventures as they are a reputable outfitter in Scotland and it was all they promised it to be. Very hospitable, superb 3 course meals for dinner and great accomodations. The locals were very friendly and helpful...except the drunks :rotfl: Going to these places makes you appreciate life in the states, no place like home but one hell of an adventure!...and I guess you guys probably want to see some pics!