I always wanted to shoot a corsican ram. So I booked a hunt in USA and soon found myself nestled among the beautiful smoky mountains in tennessee.
"Be there at six thirty" , the guide told me.
I calculated in my mind that it would be 2-2.5 hour drive to the ranch so woke up at 0400, got dressed (new camo and buck-yippee) .
I started driving and it was as if the rain-gods had it in for me. Torrential rains like the monsoons in south india. Yessir, as they say in the south, thunder, lightening and the works.
Well since the americans drive on the right side and (hence the wrong side), i used to drive slowly there. So I figured, if i drive at the normal speed, i can make up for the 'slowing' caused by the rain and make it on time.
Well i made it on time all right but the rain there in the next county, was even worse. The owner of the ranch, his wife, son and the guide were all there to greet me. They had never seen an Indian-English hunter. We spoke about different hunting practices and they were amazed at how we dress for shoots anf the amount we shoot here.
But seeing that it was raining, we had no option but to wait around in the lodge.
It was a typical hunting lodge with mounted game heads and all.
Would you like a drink? the guide J asked me. Sure, what do you have?
We have milk, tea, soda and iced tea.
Well, I wouldnt mind something cold.
Soda or iced tea?
Coke please, I said. "We also have iced Tea" J said.
I realised what he really wanted me to have. "Iced tea of course", I said.
Out came a jar. Thats right, a jar, like the ones we keep jam, coffee, and other kitchen stuff in.
When you go to 'hillbilly' themed restaurants in the south, they serve drinks in a jar. Little did I realise that people actually keep jars for drinking.
The tea was served in the jar and offered to me along with ....hail.
Yessir hail. I was tole they never got hail ; at least the young guide never remembered having seen hail in his life so collected it from earlier that morning and was 'sharing' it with me a fellow hunter.
So there I was, sipping iced tea with hail in a marmlade jar. "good stuff this" I said.
"Do you know," asked J, "there are places in this world where people dont drink iced tea" , looking at me as if he is parting with a well kept secret, his voice a mix ow wonder and amazement.
"The World " I almost choked, but not wanting to shatter his world said , "There are places in the USA where people dont drink iced tea".
"I know he said" looking hurt.
Cant have a sad hunting guide i thought and tried to cheer him up "Do you know the famous tea company Lipton makes and sells iced tea and its even available in the UK"
"Yessir" he said "but it aint like what mamma makes". Well fair enough, makes sense. "very true" I said.
By now it had been 3 hours of waiting and finally the rain stopped.
Realising i didnt have any blaze, i was given a blaze vest to put over my camo clothing (non camo blaze).
The place where the ram had been scouted in the pre- hunt scout was a hill called 'heart attack hill' (so named due to being steep and as a result a client many years ago had suffered a heart attack), and scout on foot.
Due to the hailstorm the animals had scattered into the valley below.Didnt see the ram for 3 hours of walking up and down the hills. When I did see him, he was beautiful; so majestic. But also a shrewed fellow. He had taken to following a small herd of deer and the deer having keener senses, ran away from hunters quicker. Thats why he got old.
When i tried to stalk close, the deer saw/smelled me first and ran away and the ram followed. They ran up the hill. So we had to circumnavigate the hill and try to stalk them from above. Then they saw us from and ran down into the valley and onto the next hill.
Same thing repeated and they ran up the first hill. I once got close but there was a bush between us and the guide suggested against firing expanding ammo through brush. Finally after a couple of hours stalk, i took off the blaze and hugged the ground and crawled up to them, this time not stalking the ram but stalking the deer instead.
Got a fleeting glimpse this time just as they were running off. Facing away quartering away. Bang went the savage 110 in .243 (incidantly i have this rifle at home). The ram disappeared over the crest of the hill.
The guide said he wasnt sure if the ram was hit. I said i am sure i hit it. any i bolt in another round and start walking. Just below the crest, the ram is sitting in a serene position. It saw us and got up but was struggling at its feet. I then saw the guts hanging out.
Gut shot?????? Thats didnt make me too happy so ended the poor rams misery by shooting him straight in the engine room. On closer examination it showed that the bullet had done what i had intended. In from left flank to the right lung. The quartering away shot. The guts were herniating through the flank shot. I thought i had missed and shot through the lungs.
However, it was a satisfing hunt and i shall forever remember this cunning ' heartattack hill ram'.
Again i do apologise for the lack of pics (stolen camera) and thank the taxidermist for sending me the pic.
Heres a pic of the taxidermist holding his head prior to mounting.
Hope you like it.