The Advantages of using a High Seat
- Tuesday, 06 November 2012
I've just completed my second stalk undertaken from a high-seat. This may seem a slight contradiction in itself - stalking implies movement, most probably stealthily, to get within killing range of a suitable target. This was part of the reason I was a little wary of the prospect of a static installation (especially in the cooler autumnal climate gripping the south of England at the moment), but actually, I can really see the benefits.
From the moment I brushed the soggy leaves from the seat-bottom of the chair and hoisted myself into position, I realised that the seat delivers a distinct edge. The view is not only elevated, but also advantageous in so many ways.
Some of this is simple ballistic logistics - clearly, there's a much better chance of a good backstop if aiming diagonally at a deer, as you'll have terra firma as a backstop rather than a tree line to worry about .
What really took me by surprise as I sat some twelve feet up amongst the branches was the sheer abstraction from the comings and goings at ground level. The next thing I was to learn was the need to keep 360 degrees situational awareness!
Having spent about an hour combing a field to my front-left with my binoculars, I was alerted to a gentle rustling coming from behind-right. Low and behold, a nicely sized fallow had strayed from its main wandering group and come within thirty yards of my position, all the while that I was sat in the tree busy with the binoculars. Much shuffling and adjustment gave me a perfect picture through the sights for what could have been a textbook shot. On this occasion nature was against me, and although I could spy a very large and appealing winter coat, I couldn't line up a shot on a critical organ - no shot presented itself. The din of crows in the background spooked the fallow and he took off across a stream. Of course, this could happen with any animal from any perspective and a shot to the rump would never be taken.
So although this outing didn't present itself with a killing shot, it's really convinced me of the merits of getting a spot that's known to have high traffic and really digging in for a long session. As a rough shooter I used to roam freely around, spending little more than twenty minutes in one spot before moving on to find something else to do, but this seems to be the minimum amount of time before nature "resets" itself and woodland life gets back to normal, rather forgetting you are there.
Some people tend to judge outings purely on a binary success/failure rate, but for me, this outing was a huge success; I've tried and tested the high seat and can really see the benefits. I would mark thick, thermal type socks and gloves as essentials when in the chair as the various digits seem to get cold first!
NB. Thanks to Matthew again, this time for his insight into the advantages of using a high seat. His observations are well worth bearing in mind. For many new to deer stalking one of the hardest points to get across is that the most likely chance of success usually comes from doing as little as possible.
In the rush of our daily lives we are encouraged to equate activity with achievement however with deer stalking this attitude is unhelpful. Deer are astonishingly good at spotting movement and even more so when it is at ground level. Charging from one field to the next is in fact counterproductive, the reality is that we are most likely to see deer if we are prepared to simply sit and watch.