Sat 6th Oct 2012

Well, the rut has started. I thought it might have been early this year as the weather has been so mild but I heard my first stag roaring last Tuesday, 2nd October. Someone told me they’d heard one two weeks back on another part of Exmoor.

My safaris are fully booked for this month, as they always are, with a waiting list. I’ve even started to get bookings for next October so if you’re hoping to join me for next year’s rut you’ll need to reserve your place pretty quickly.

There is at least one very big stag about around here which is good to know. He has all his rights, brow, bay and tray - that’s all his points on his antlers. On one side he has 7 points, on the other 5 points. That shows that he’s old but you can’t tell exactly how old.

I saw him back on 24th September and he had a lot of netting wire on his antlers but when I saw him more recently it had gone, thankfully. He’s roaring now.

We don’t tend to get too many of the large stags inland on the moor where I live. They seem to prefer it out towards the coast.

I hope some of you get the chance to be out on Exmoor when the stags are roaring as it’s quite something to hear. Take care mind as they are dangerous animals during the rutting season so don’t go getting too close. If you’re stalking one and he sees you and stamps his foot, he’s telling you not to go any closer. You’d be wise to heed his warning.

I’ve a wild boar story for you this week. Wild boars are farmed down here in Devon and we’ve had a lot of trouble with people cutting fences and setting them free. They are now spreading out over large areas and breeding well. You rarely see them out during the day as they are secretive, nocturnal creatures. Unfortunately they do a lot of damage to farmer’s crops and fields so some farmers occasionally have to get people in to shoot them. People also shoot them for their meat which is said to taste better than venison.

Anyway, one farmer I know was out recently rounding up his sheep when he found a small wild boar amongst them. When he took the flock in, the boar went with them. He seemed quite friendly. It’s a mystery why he attached himself to the sheep but I can think of one possible answer. About five weeks back I heard of two baby wild boar in the area. Maybe the mother got shot and this was one of her offspring looking for company. He should be safe now as the farmer is a really nice man and will see he comes to no harm.

The other story I want to tell you is about a gift I was given recently. Four years ago a chap called Andrew, his nickname is Morph, from up near Coventry, came down to see me and brought me a large, beautifully carved wooden owl which I put up on our land by my cabin. He came down again this year and Julie and I met up with him for a meal at the Stag’s Head in Filleigh, where I always like to go.

This time he brought with him a 7ft wizard he’d carved with a chainsaw. It’s amazing. It even has a walking stick but it doesn’t have a face. You are meant to look at it and make out the features yourself. Funnily enough, when you stare at it a face seems to appear. I’ve put it on our land next to the owl. There’s a photo below. I know it’s small but I hope you can make it out.

Andrew also helped me paint the last bit of my house. I’ve been giving it a coat before winter sets in and there was one bit I couldn’t reach. I’m really grateful to him for that. I’m looking forward to seeing him when he visits again next year.

I’m off taking a safari out in a bit. I’m hopeful of a great morning. The weather is certainly looking good.