Friday, 30 November 2012

Vintage Firearms: Krico Stutzen .243

Myself and our pal Shooter are off out for the day tomorrow so all the unfinished blog posts will have to wait until next week's 'Horse and Fish day' is over and slept off.
In the meantime Roestalker is selling this rather nice woodland stalking rifle a
Krico in .243, being Roestalker he's made a little video. Myself; being a bit lazy and having a growing appreciation for old rifles I'm reposting it.
Keep warm
Your pal
PS Eat like a Horse and Drink like a Fish - my birthday!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Andy Richardson: Goose Hunting In Scotland

My pal Andy Richardson is something of a legend amongst sportsman traveling north of the border, with an impressive track record of guiding for lowland Roe deer and Pink-Leg Geese. What a lot of people dont know is that Andy is as handy with a camera as he is with Rod, Gun and Rifle.

Last year Andy and Myself took comedian Paul Merton for a few wee jaunts in the Kingdom of Fife with, err, amusing results. You can read all about it..

How To Get On TV

Fieldsports In Scotland Part One

Recently he's been rifling though his address book to put together a video archive of Scotland's leading sportsman showing their passions and techniques. This time of year the chaps are hard at it Goose shooting over the beet crops.

I'll be posting more of Andy's videos as the series develops.

To join Andy for a days sport, pop me an email [contacts at top of page] and I'll put you in touch with him. Some lucky sports might even have dinner cooked by me waiting for them at the end of the day! and if you're very good we'll take you 'Estuary Rabbit Hunting'.

More as soon as I find the time to write it up

Friday, 23 November 2012

DeerStalking: The Search For Muntjac

 Trigger jerk: and it's sighted 1 sq high at 100 yards!

Shooter: "I've got some stalking! and one of my radiators won't get hot. What    should I do?"
SBW: You had me from stalking, I'm on my way

Because this report comes to you from the real world, not from the fantasy land where rich plumbers exercise their R8's on their way to exercise their R8's mid-week, it was more like "I'll be there soon, to soon-ish, early next month, or how's the month after that for you?" Eventually the day dawned, the radiator got hot, Mr Mercedes joined us and we set off for an evening stalk.

As usual we were plagued by bad omens and incompetence:

Shooter (driving): coming up on the left there's a field with a herd of Fallow, every time I go past, if they are there, I dont get a deer.
SBW and Mr Mercedes: Groan
Shooter: Look! loads of them!
Mr Mercedes: Groan
SBW: Jinx

The ground is a 300 acre walled (but not gated) estate to the north east of London, in an area we'll call Campo de Muntjac. It's home to some Roe and lots of Muntjac. The chaps who run the outfit are very friendly and funny lets call them The Keeper and his pal The Rumbler.

On a short drive across the we startled a small deer, and as we set up the shooting bench we disturbed a Roe. Hmm maybe we've swerved the jinx?

On the estates you're required to prove your proficiently with a rifle before stalking, on your first visit if you weren't asked to I'd take it as a sign of a poorly run outfit. At Campo de Muntjac they have a 100 yard range. Its traditional to make disparaging remarks about ones accuracy and eyesight before shooting. There'll be a good natured understatement competition, and you take your place at the bench. In the US I've been handed a rifle with the words "its hot and ready to rock" in the UK I just cant imagine anyone doing that. The Rumbler set his Howa up on the bags bolt closed on an empty chamber and I took my place at the bench, Mr Mercedes had already shot his super tight group and Shooter was telling The Keeper that I'm a famous blogger, no pressure then.

My sighter was within the 'ring of death' so I ploughed on with the second a definite improvement, the third looked better at first sight but is actually a square low as The Rumbler has sighted his rifle one high at 100 yards

As usual in england while the whole thing is deadly serious, due to our laws against earnestness no one can acknowledge that. As my group had tightened with each shot the guys were well satisfied and proceeded to regale me with the traditional tales of the German/Scandawegen/American who was here last week/ month who was SO bad even thought his rifle/scope cost SO much. Formalities out of the way we split up to take our seats, Mr Mercedes saw another Roe as he was taking his place.

As The Rumbler and I were setting off, who should reappear but our pal Shooter or "bolt-less" as he's also known. Made it all the way to his seat, without the bolt for his Remy. How we laughed.

Our highseat was pretty luxurious, it even had a roof. The Rumbler and your pal settled down to watch the wildlife, after a while there came a strange rumbling sound, like a brewery really. I ignored the first few but after a while I started to snigger and looked round, The Rumbler, for it was he, looked almost apologetic for a moment, but the couldn't keep a straight face either. Much sniggering ensues.

SBW: Are you hungry?
The Rumbler: I ate before I came out
SBW: Have some Chorizo it might settle your stomach

Our picknick was interrupted by the sound of a Muntjac's bark, and coming towards us too! We both glassed and glassed, I offered up a few prayers but Mr Muntjac decided against visiting our clearing and buggered off.

Shooting light faded fast and it was time to make for home. The Rumbler worked the bolt, so we could exit the highseat with an empty chamber and fumbled the round which promptly slipped between the slats of the highseat's floor. I've done this before and I cant tell you how delighted I was to see someone else make the same mistake (mine bounced off the metal rung of the ladder and The Bambi Basher was without mercy in his mockery).

As The Keeper arrived he was greeted with the sight of our butts in the air as we searched the grass under the seat for the dropped round.

The Keeper: You two look as though you're having fun
The Rumbler [pointing at his stomach] Its been awful, terrible rumblings
SBW: I had to give him some of my sausage
The Keeper:  Whoah! too much information!

More soon

PS be sure to check out Shooter's blog HERE

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Birger Stromsheim RIP

Birger Stromsheim, has died aged 101, considered the greatest of the “Heroes of Telemark”. A group of Norwegen hunters who escaped to scotland where they were trained and armed by SOE for their return to Norway. In 1943 they launched a daring raid to destroy a crucial part of the Nazi atomic weapons programme. The sheer audacity of their attempt makes them heros by any measure, the fact that they succeeded is truly remarkable. If anyone can claim to have 'saved your asses in WWII' its Mr Stromsheim and his colleagues.

His Obituary is HERE
Ray mears made an excellent film about the raid first part is HERE


Monday, 12 November 2012

Gear List: Woodland Deer Stalking

Last time I posted one of these Exploriment asked why I hadn't listed the gear I was to use, so here's the kit list for woodland stalking when you're the 'sport' or client. You're not likely to need a Survival Kit in the woodlands of southern England, but a first aid kit is never a bad idea, and if you do actually contact with deer, those latex disposable gloves are a must.

Annoyingly the weather has warmed up a bit in the last couple of days, but so its not really a cold-weather kit or a summer's-morn kit but somewhere in-between.

Boots: While Muckboots are ideal I've hurt my ankle so I've opted for Lundhags Ranger boots as I want a bit more support and, optimistically believe we'll be packing big beast out of the woods.

Gaiters: keep muck and water out of your boot tops. Essential.

Hat: this one has a light in it and came from a bargain supermarket. As well as its camouflaging effect a hat is essential for keeping your rounds together when emptying the rifle. You wouldn't want to drop one from the highseat.

WestWinds Arctic Smock: Windproof, amazingly breathable, waterproof enough, and as quiet as the grave.

Plus Fours: 'old's cool' I know but once you get over looking a complete dweeb [the deer dont care] these are fantastic. Get a pair you'll be surprised how utilitarian they are.

Glue: we'll come to that in a future post

Chorizio: Fatty and Spicy, just what you need to keep you going towards the end of the outing.

Double-Bastard sharp knife: I'm using my 'posh stalking knife' the Falknieven TK6

Head Torch: ZebraLight

Bushnell GPS: borrowed from HunterX

Ear Defenders: for sighting in unmoderated rifles

Binoculars: I'm loving my Eden's and warmly recommend a chest harness over a neck strap. Less than £15/$20 buys you a whole lot of comfort. Or you could make your own in an hour.

Buddhist superstitious string: cant hurt

Base layer: wicking plastic with sent suppression (actually seems to work-who knew?)

Merino wool layer X2

Neck Gaiters AKA Buffs X2: after Rifle, Glass and Knife these are pretty vital, a lot of warmth and comfort in a very small package for very little cost.

Stalking report to follow

Your pal

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

My fascination with WW2 continues, and particularly the Special Operations Executive, where remarkable people did remarkable things before slipping back into the anonymity of civilian life. Last year I told you about my heros Gabcik and Kubis, and the amazing story of their attempt to kill Reinhard Heydrich the wartime governor of what we now know as Czech (home to nymphs of several kinds).

This year its the turn of 'Fighting Jack Churchill' AKA 'Mad Jack Churchill'. My kind of army officer: mad as a box of frogs, bad-ass to the bone, and probably dangerous to know. Honor bound to get you into a shit-load of trouble, but just think of the storytelling afterwards!

Do I have your attention? Ok how about

He made the only confirmed kill with LONGBOW in WW2, yep, a LONGBOW!
Lead the charge by playing the bagpipes too. You can read the whole remarkable story HERE

Today, find the time to raise a glass to the memory of those who suffered so we dont have to, not just the dead but for the wounded who are still suffering, and when ever the opportunity presents itself, in whatever way you can, do something to ease their way.

“No Prince or Lord has tomb so proud / As he whose flag becomes his shroud.” Jack Churchill

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Unboxing Review: Muck Boots FIELDBLAZER

The lovely people at Muck Boots have sent me a pair of their new FIELDBLAZER boots for testing and first impressions are they've made some improvements from the older, smellier, pair I've already got. Muck Boots have had Quiet, Warm, and Dry nailed since the first pair they made. Where theses look like an improvement is they've beefed-up the reinforcement for added support around the ankle and protection for your toes, which I thought was pretty much the only way to improve on the concept.
The new soles are a bit better too, horizontal strakes might not look as grippy, but are far better at self-cleaning than most studded patterns.

I paid cash for the last pair and would happily recommend them for woodland stalking, and especially for any kind of hunting where you have to sit in a chilly Highseat/Treestand.

Thanks again guys

Friday, 2 November 2012

Orvis Customer Service Reviewed

True Story:
I was visiting my 'rents and saw a familiar sight on the kitchen table
SBW: You've got the new Orvis catalogue?
MOB (mother of bushwacker): Yes and they do mens clothes now as well
SBW [wearing a quizzical smirk]: Do they sell anything else I might like?
MOB: Not that I know of

Its easy to mock brand diffusion, to complain that a heritage sporting brand has become a clothes shop with a few rods out the back, my mum was totally shocked to learn that Orvis sell fishing gear.
But seriously people, Orvis' customer service is second to none. No one does it better. If you search the fly fishing forums you'll find example after example of people posting how they were seduced by AN Other brand and how disappointed they were when they needed a repair, and how its back to the lovin' arms of Orvis from now on.

A massive shout goin' out out to Jimmy and Declan of the Orvis store in London's Dover St. Really nice guys, loads of good advice and they proper went above and beyond when it came to sorting out my waders. Customer service done right. Thanks chaps.

More fly fishing adventures soon as your pal SBW and local blogger The Lighthouse Keeper have a play-date with some Grayling.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stalking Red Stags In Scotland

I've been reading/watching Roestalker's blog for a while now and he's getting very good at filming his Hunting/Stalking. The patience he must have to nonchalantly film for what seems like ages before taking the shot is amazing. Well worth a watch.