Red missed? Nothing goes as expected on this trophy stag hunt!

I had been out plenty of times during the rut and had seen nothing that was worth a mount, and now the rut was almost over. There was no roaring that I could hear, so it was pretty well done, I thought.

I had bought a new rifle for my up-and-coming buffalo hunt and had some ammo that I was keen to try out. I knew I had a couple of reds running around on the lucern that I could try it on, so I loaded up went out with my open-sighted Parker Hale in .458 Win Mag. It was definitely overkill but I wanted to trythe new ammo.

Having sneaked down the hill coming onto the lucern flat, I had about 300 metres between me and a red spiker with about seven hinds. I eventually got in to about 50 metres and settled down.

I was about to shoot the spiker when it spooked and ran off. I got out the binos and had a look but it had me stumped because all the hinds were still grazing. Why did he run off?

As I turned back to where he had been, an absolute monster was standing there. That’s what had chased him off! I’d never seen anything like it in my life.

Instant shakes. I was saying, “Don’t stuff this up!”

It was the wrong gun for it but I knew I may not see him again. I sent a nice package at him. He didn’t move a muscle!

I saw a cloud of dust out the back so the first thing I thought was I missed him. I cranked another round into the chamber, stood up and, as he took off into the scrub, shot him on the run.

The shot was too far back for an instant kill and I thought I had just stuffed up shooting the animal of a lifetime. I ran to where he and the others went into the scrub but couldn’t find him anywhere.

At this point I was going nuts at myself.

Anyways, after I had settled down from kicking myself for missing, I went back, found his tracks, then saw some bubbled blood. An instant smile! I knew that first shot had got him so followed a bit further and saw the massive prickle bush laying there.

It was the best feeling ever. I will never forget that afternoon.

By Riley Braybrook

Riley’s story put him in the running to win hunting optics in our Hunter’s Diary competition. Find out how you could win here.




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