Chasing the Deer
Up and away and into the hills
I am away for the next week, taking to the hills. Only something dramatic - Nicola Sturgeon being charged with some crime, for instance - will drag me back. In the meantime, here is a piece I wrote for BBC Radio 4’s ‘A Point of View’ - a programme I’m pleased to say I shall henceforth be contributing to from time to time.
You never forget the first time you shoot a wild animal with a rifle. Steady now, fix the deer in your sights, hold your breath and squeeze, not pull, the trigger. You have been waiting all day for this moment and you have, perhaps, spent the last hour lying in a burn, waiting for your stag to raise himself and stand, obligingly, broadside on to you. This, then, is your moment: one shot, just behind the shoulder, and he’s down.
You spied him first from your eyrie, high up on the hill, perhaps a mile or more away and, guided by your stalker, you have crept and snuck and crawled ever closer, careful of the shifting wind and the need to avoid disturbing hinds keeping a c…