For my little brother Brandon’s 14th birthday, our family decided to surprise him and fulfill one of his dream hunts: hunting a red stag! A week before the big hunt was planned we took him out to our local range to build his confidence shooting the Tikka 7mm Rem mag out to five hundred yards. At this point, Brandon thought we were going to chase fallow bucks. Little did he know what surprise was in store for him!
The day before the big hunt Brandon had somehow figured out the surprise and boy was he over the moon and excited!
The Red Stag Hunt
On Sunday, we were ready for our 4:00 am start! Two hours later we arrived at our destination and Brandon’s nerves were through the roof! We started off by spotting young stags with good potential, but a young stag wasn’t what we were after; we were looking for an old respectable head. Carrying on the day we chased some pigs, spotted a mature bull tahr, and followed more young red stags when suddenly we finally spotted an old ten-point red stag walking out of the bush!
This old red stag was happily grazing away when we noticed something funny about his eating habit, he was trying to rip full tussocks out and trying his hardest to chew. We got Brandon in a good shooting position and boom! He made a 420 yard lung shot! Old stag down! You could not wipe the smile off of our faces! We were all so proud of what this young fourteen-year-old had just achieved!
Off we went to retrieve the big boy, Brandon was walking fast with anticipation! We finally got down to where he was laying and Brandon stood in amazement with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. We took our photos and started to cape him out, since he would be shoulder-mounted as part of the birthday present. As were caping him we noticed his teeth, this old red stag would not have made it through winter. His teeth were worn right down into his gums and his coronets were right down into his head as well! This made it even more special and we were all stoked knowing he was as old as he was, a perfect first red stag for Brandon! (We sent his jaw away to be aged to find out exactly how old!)
Brandon made it a third of the way up a decent sized hill before he had to ask for help carrying this old boy out. He put 110% effort in and pushed himself as hard as he could to achieve this amazing goal. I may have shed a few tears as a very proud big sister!
Finally heading home after an epic but long day, we stopped to show off Brandon’s kill to our parents. Both were over the moon at what Brandon had achieved and in awe of this old boy’s very evenly portioned head!
This will be one of the most memorable hunts and it will always hold a special place in our hearts! Words will never be able to describe just how proud we all are of Brandon. It’s not every day I get to walk the hills with my brother but I cannot wait to get to take him out on more and teach him more of the lifestyle I love so much, I’m so lucky to be able to share this passion with him!