Thursday, 29 August 2013

Skull Pix pt?

This Skull road sign was spotted on the A22 by The Bambi Basher. Considering the over 250 rta's involving deer do far this year on that stretch of road alone it's plausible  they're all road kill !

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Deer Stalking In Wiltshire Pt3

"I am SO going to blood you" HunterX

What is it about hunting? Really WTF is it? How can it be so hard to leave town in a timely manner? Especially as out of the season we could all gather together with our tools. Now with the prospect of yer actual shootable animals we struggle through the treacle of work commitments. Ai Yi Yi!

I'm on a construction site all day on the Friday, receiving regular changes and updates to our plans from HunterY who is at a fever pitch of excitement. By this time I'm just too dog-tired to care. The work get's done and I set off across town to meet HunterY who is still receiving regular travel updates from HunterX, he'll be leaving the office at 5.30 sharp, not before 7.00, make that 9.30, at the latest. Really. Anyone would think he was a plumber!

I'm passed out on HunterY's sofa by about 7.30 and oblivious to any further news of delayed departure. HunterX arrives at about 11.00 and we're off into the night. The truck blows a hole in its exhaust and we roar our way west.

The night is thick, all we'd need is the chirp of cicadas, and we'd be in Virginia on a summers night. We grab a little more sleep on the floor of a cow-shed and are on the ground a little late with the dawn is already breaking.

Leaving HunterY in a treestand HunterX and myself creep down a ride and deposit ourselves in a seat which overlooks the intersection of four rides, the long horse riding lanes that intersect the forest.

A Doe and her fawn appear from nowhere and mooch about for a while, out of season and in and out of view. Another Doe with a fawns and a follower appears. Again as if teleported in. Still and with baited breath we watch entranced, one of the Does seems to catch a hint of something on the eddying breeze, she acts weary but not enough to spook her and her young. A third group stroll into view Mum, this years fawn, last years fawn and hello who's this? Bringing up the rear with his nose to the ground is a rather handsome pricket, in his first year of having antlers, his coat white with a tinge of orange to him, strawberry blonde if you like. HunterX whispers "do you want to shoot him?" Muttering "that's why we're here, no?" I settle over the stock of the SAKO 85 and watch the shot present itself. One squeeze later, he staggers, describes a quick circle and crumples to the ground not 20 feet from where he received his .308 dinner invite.

To the disappointment of one commenter/troll I put a couple of fronds in his mouth, and wish him well. The deer not the Troll. I'm not what you'd call 'blessed with faith' myself but something atavistic stirred in my soul and it seemed appropriate to wish him well on his next adventure. I find all that whooping and high-fiveing on youtube a bit, well not to my taste, but at the same time some reflection of the moment seemed appropriate.

Just as I get to work bleeding the beast, HunterX surprises me with a handful of blood all over my face, this seems only to add to his delight. He keeps repeating 'I cant believe you're so calm" While it is exciting and wonderful to have meat on the ground again after all this time, I'm battered, I can hardly keep my eyes open. Wearily I accept his directions, "left a bit, no right, back a bit" as he takes the snap he shouts "that's animal husbandry right there!" As you can see in the picture at the top of the page - perfectly posed. Bah!

The gralloch is interrupted by the distant crack of an un-moderated 30-06, HunterY has meat on the ground too. As we work HunterX cuts off a slice of liver telling me
"In my family we always eat a bit of the liver when the animal is on the ground"
I'm not sure if this is actually true or he was just trying to claw back some dignity after being proven to be afraid of his dinner at the Kebab shop the weekend before.

Lots of stalkers abandon the liver and other offal at the gralloch or view them as dog food. What a waste! I've gotta recommend this practice to you, quivering, still at body temperature, fresh liver is one of the most amazing foods I've ever eaten. Delicious and then some. Woodland Sashimi.

With meat in the larder and all of us feeling battered-tired we beat an early retreat back to town, where I treat my flatmate to the surprise of finding me doing home butchery on the kitchen floor, before collapsing into bed to sleep the sleep of the dead.

An armed ramble with The Bambi Basher and Keeper Du Bois next and maybe another go at the Fallow Bucks.

More soon

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Deer Stalking In Wiltshire Pt2

I'm 'real life' friends with a few readers of this blog, occasionally I get the time to do a bit of hanging-out with them.  HunterX and I did a bit of unsuccessful Deer Stalking together and this year we've been fishing and having our two-man reading circle, [or as there are only two of us participating should that be hunting-book-tennis?].

HunterX has joined a wonderful deer stalking lease. Where as youngest member its fallen to him to set up the larder and highseats. He roped your pal SBW and our new friend HunterY into helping prepare for the season.

As per usual women, work, and kids conspire and we're a little behind time by the time we all have a clear saturday for the work party. It's also the hottest day of the year and the bracken is both high and crawling with Ticks.

I have to hand it to HunterX he is one of only two people in town who get up earlier than me, sitting outside my place at ungodly o'clock. Chipper as you like. HunterY on the other hand keeps the same hours as Elfa and seems completely non-plussed when we rock up at his flat to collect him on the way out of town. So much for 'we leave before dawn'.

The drive is the usual stuff: animals I've shot, places I've shot them, eccentric deerstalkers I know, cunning plans that have worked out, cunning plans that have not worked out, calibres I would own if I could, knifemakers and knife design. the proper proportion of rusk in an english sausage, and we're soon on the ground.
The last leaseholder has taken his tree stands on to the next place so we spend the morning measuring up and the afternoon strapping highseats to trees. There's a lot of cutting back to be done but thankfully we're joined by another member GentlemanD who has pretty much everything from the Stihl catalogue, all in perfect working order so no fires or nasty surprises this time.

Once the seats are done we drop the tools back to GentlemanD who it turns out has a giant pile of heads in his backyard. Really well over a couple of cubes of them, this guy has shot a lot of big Fallow. GentlemanD lives up to his name and is kind enough to give me the rather wonderful Fallow head at the top of the page. Fallow do get a fair bit bigger than this, but usually only in deer parks, this chap lived wild and free until GentlemanD's super custom .243 brought him home to dinner.

So much for me and HunterY's woefully optimistic 'it'll only take an afternoon'
The next couple of saturdays are a little more tense as we have to overcome a few electrical and plumbing conundrums in the cowshed. Quite a few baking hot hours later the chiller hums to life, the scales are hung, the hoist works, and the fly zapper zaps. All good.

As the afternoons cool off and our work is done for the day, we set off on a few practice stalks with an unloaded rifle. The Fallow are still in mixed sex groups and are taking advantage of the closed season to munch their way through the tenant farmers crops. Stalking without glass you can really see the value of stalking with glass, in one memorable encounter we stalk a Doe and follower, who then become two spaniels before swishing their tails to confirm their shetland pony-ness. We dryfire at a couple of opportunities, blow a couple of opportunities by stumbling about in heavy workwear, and generally look forward to the Fallow buck season's start on the 1st of August.

On the way home we stop off for Kebabs [keybobs for readers in the USofA] at HunterY's 'bab shop of choice. London has a lot of Kebab shops and they run the gamut from; processed mechanically recovered meat - which means a pressure washer and a sieve - to sublime hunks of incredible lamb, stacks of quail and chicken marinated in angel's tears. All served with a hand-cart full of salad and flat bread made in front of you. The really good ones serve offal too, great quivering lumps of liver, and what are those white things?
HunterY "Testicales, lambs balls dude"
SBW "Great! mark me down for some of them"
My first few attempts at ordering are taken as piss-taking by the guys behind the counter and are greeted with much hilarity, only when regular customer HunterY intervenes do they end up on the Mangal (grill).

HunterX suddenly morphs from roughty-toughty-hunting-dude to big-girls-blouse and sits, looking on, appalled. HunterY tries one and agrees that "they taste like brains, just with a more meaty texture"

More stalking and eating soon

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Weekend Reading: From Adnan Sarwar

Been a while since I did a post about blogs that are worth reading. I've been chatting online with an interesting writer called Adnan Sarwar whose work on Sabotage Times I'd been reading over that last few weeks. His series Confessions of a Muslim Squaddie is both a coming of age tale and an interesting insight into the gap between disillusion and duty. Funny too.

Adnan Sarwar is a former British soldier who wrote a diary while serving in the Iraq War of 2003 and since leaving the military has written for The Guardian, Taki’s Mag, Channel 4 News and the Burnley Express. He has been a military adviser to the BBC and ITV for war drama scripts and acted in films, dramas and at the theatre. 

What do you do when you're the only Muslim in the squad and your leader gives you a dead rabbit?

From his story: Corporal and the Rabbit 

Corporal McBride had a Muslim in his section and had a lot of questions for him. What’s all this praying about? Five times a day? Fasting? Mecca? And if I’m honest I didn’t know much about it but I was the Muslim so I was meant to be the expert, I tried to keep up appearances as far and long as I could. During an exercise while digging a trench to sleep in, Corporal Mac asked me ‘What’s this Halal thing all about?’ I told him the animal had to be killed slitting the jugular vein at the throat, he asked why and I told him what I’d been told which was that it was to kill the animal quickly with the least amount of pain. He said he didn’t believe that would happen and asked why not just shoot it? Oh, I don’t know Corporal Mac, all I know is I need to dig this hole so I can get some rest in the soil. Look, I told him Allah had said it had to be done that way so we the Muslims did it that way, it’s just the way it was. He then asked what would happen if you went hunting and had to shoot an animal, could you eat it? I said you still had to slit the jugular vein and pray on it. He then asked what if you had found an animal dead in the woods, I said the same would apply not really knowing, all my answers were to cut throats and bleed. My parents bought meat from the Halal butchers and hadn’t killed it themselves but here in the army things were different. He told me it was a peculiar way to kill something and left me to my digging. Good I thought, hopefully there’ll be no more questions, I can’t be both digging a hole and an expert on Islam, I’m too tired today. I want to dig the earth, make a berm with it, clean my rifle, get into my sleeping bag and go to sleep until somebody gets me up for guard duty. No more questions, Corporal Mac.

The ground was soft from the rain which made it easier to bite into with the shovel but dirtied the sleeping bags and mats. I didn’t mind, didn’t mind at all, sleep was my goal and I could sleep anywhere, even in the damp soil. My eyes wouldn’t mind the wet, they just wanted to close. Once I’d rolled out my sleeping mat and put my sleeping bag down and laid on it, it felt just fine and made me smile. I was near sleep. I was sharing the hole with a friend, another soldier, and in between the two sleeping bags rested our rifles to be cleaned and cookers on which we boiled meals in mess tins. Every so often after the hard work was done for the day, I’d catch moments like this and remember how much I loved the army. Loved the digging despite being dirty, loved the soil despite it being wet. I had all an animal needed, shelter in my little earthy hole with a poncho over to keep away the rain, food in my ration boxes and drink in my water bottle, a little fire going which I could get warm off and watch and play my fingers into, and if you tried to attack me, I had a gun - bullets were my teeth. It was all I ever needed. The army wouldn’t allow me one but this would could be made higher than perfect by adding a small transistor radio. The rain outside could do what it wanted, I was under my camouflage poncho drinking a hot brew and if you came my way, I’d shoot you, listening to the Shipping Forecast, if they’d let me. Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Bang Bang you’re dead.

The army issued me Halal ration boxes and the lads would always want to swap my Chicken Tikka Massala meals for theirs. We sometimes mixed them all up in a mess tin and got a big stew going. Nothing could touch us here in our little holes with a little fire going, if Corporal Mac let us relax a bit we’d get a right old chat on in the hole all huddled in talking about where we were from, fights at school, girls we liked, and I’d stir the pot for us all. But not today. Corporal Mac came back smiling with an air rifle in one hand and a dead rabbit by the ears in the other hand. “Halal this, then,” he said as he put the rabbit in front of my hole. READ MORE HERE and you can find him on Twitter @adnansarwar

More soon

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Kelly Kettle Brew Kit

The idea of a Brew-kit is to have a pocketable way of making Tea. People have tried hexamine tablets - tiresome in my book. Those really nifty little stoves made from a Pepsi can, or a Swedish Army Trangia - both good but slow. The best option is the power of the small gas canister stoves - much the best. I thought I'd press my Kelly Kettle into service.
I'm told the KK started out as a brew kit for Irish seaweed gatherers; its fairly windproof, it can be carried full of water, and fuel can be gathered as and when you need it. That last bit can prove a bit problematic, there's always wood, just sometimes not a lot of it is dry. So here's an option I thought I'd try out

I took an old air rifle pellet tin and filled it with rolled corrugated cardboard to make the wick

I broke up a few Nightlights, any small cheap candle will do

 Melted them in the Microwave

Poured the wax over cardboard - if I was smart I'd have used one or more of the wicks to make it easier to get the cardboard to ignite

 As you can see it was a bit of a struggle to get it up to full burn

 Still not burning strongly

 Once it was finally ablaze it produced a decent amount of heat, but from cold tap water to a rolling boil did take 12 minutes from lighting to boiling, which isn't that quick in anyone's book.
 I'm hoping that the now pre-chared cardboard will get fully alight a bit quicker next time. We'll see?

More soon

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Scottish Air Gun Law Petition

Simple as, HunterX forwarded this to me.
There is a move afoot to bring in compulsory licensing for Airguns north of the border. Whether you are a gun-rights person or not this is a monumentally stupid idea. The Scottish Assembly has already had to abandon its woeful attempt to burn public money by licensing knives, and now in the face of public opposition still wants to create a whole new criminal class at the stroke of a pen.
If you'd be so kind as to add your name to the petition, we can get yet another glimpse of the contempt our leaders have for democracy.

Hi Everyone,
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support in this campaign and as we are drawing nearer to the petition meeting that support will be invaluable.
The bad news first is that despite 87% of consultation responses against the proposal the Scottish Government has decided to ignore this and press on.
The good news is that we are nearly at 16,000 signatures on the petition.
However judging by the actions of the Scottish Government in ignoring the responses to the consultation we are going to have to show the strongest hand possible. It is with this in mind that I'd like to ask if everyone just try to reach just 3 more people. If we can all do this then we will easily surpass 20,000 by the 3rd of September. It is down to us to fight our corner no one else will do it for us.

If you do share please ensure you send the link to our page and if possible also our Facebook page.
Many Thanks

Monday, 12 August 2013

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Deerstalking in Wiltshire Pt1

The Fallow Buck season opened on the 1st: yesterday, following many trials and tribulations Hunter X, myself and X's pal Hunter Y managed to get afield in time for dawn. No one has hunted the estate for months and even the woodsman hasn't been in down some of the rides through the forest for the last month. Hunter X and I sat up in a highseat at dawn and watched groups of Does milling about, the third group to arrive were accompanied by this Pricket He's in the fridge.
Full report to come