March 20 2010.
Tia was now 6 months old, I’d been giving her basic command lessons and things were going well so I decided to take her on her first proper hunt.
We were at the carpark by 5am and waited for it to get light enough in the bush before heading off, looking like a nice clear day after a few days of rain.
The light breeze was blowing sideways across the ridges and perfect for an explore.
So I put a check lead on Tia and headed up the closest ridge, when we got half way up we started to sidle across a few ridges until seeing some sign.
When we go to the 3rd ridge we hit good fresh stag sign, a lot of prints and pellets, still pre rut really and didn’t see any scrapes but a bit of rubbing.
So I picked a spot where we could get a reasonable view of the surrounds, mostly only 20 yards but one quarter up to 50 yards to a secondary ridge.
Positioned my self on a log with a bit of cover, I got Tia sitting at my feet and let out 2 single calls (Sika).
Within seconds a typically curious Bush Robin was jumping around in front of us only a meter away and Tia was beside herself hoping to give it a chase.
So here I am trying to keep her sitting still and not chasing the Robin, this went on for 3-4 minutes when out the corner of my eye I saw movement on the secondary ridge. I slowly turn my head and here is a Sika stag broad side on looking down at us from 50yds away.
Now my dilemma is I have to let go of Tia hoping she won’t chase after the robin, cock my rifle, turn 90 degrees and try get a shot away before he spooks. Amazingly enough by the time I got the cross hairs on his shoulder he still hadn’t moved so I squeezed the trigger and after the crack heard a good whack of the bullet hitting and saw the Stag colapse.
Tia was looking around wondering what was going on and quiet excited about everything in general (still mostly the Bush Robin). We waited a few minutes then headed over to the Stag, as we approached I let Tia off the lead and told her to go look, she promptly charged off haring around in circles like a typical puppy until she bumped into this great big hairy lump lying on the ground. Her first instinct was to step back and growl so I went up to her got her sit, then I sat next to the stag and got Tia to come have a look. Once she had a lick of blood curiosity got the better of her and she was all over it. A nice young 8 point Sika stag in prime condition.
After that day her interest in birds got markedly reduced although game birds like pheasants and quail still get her interest.
Photos were taken on my old mobile phone and are of dubious quality sorry.