DEER STALKING

George Wallace

KISS (Keep It SSimple) is the best plan. If you have suitable clothing (including a hat), a good pair of boots or comfortable wellies, your rifle and ammo, binoculars, sticks for woodland stalking, a length of cord and a knife for dealing with your quarry, then you are carrying all the essentials.

Anything more comes under what Sergeant Hakeswill would have described as ‘Battalion Company fripperies’.

However, shooting the deer is the easy bit and it is also nice to have a bit of kit to make carcass handling easier.

If you shoot Roe and Muntjac, they are easily carried or easily lifted to hang from a branch on your length of cord while you perform the gralloch.

Fallow, Sika and Red, however, present more of a challenge and some sort of hoist is useful.

I have a super hoist made by David Stretton www.doningtondeermanagement.co.uk which is a gantry with two legs and a coupling to fix on the towing ball of the Land Rover.

Even a red deer can be winched up clear of the ground, making the gralloch a very much cleaner and easier business, especially if, like me, you tend to get backache when you do it on the ground.

If you can?t get the vehicle to the deer and you don?t fancy dragging the deer to the vehicle (for which some sort of dragging strap and/or sled is a great help) then the little pocket-size hoist and folding gambrel in the photo would be a great help. www.keithshighseats.co.uk

Just make sure the branch is strong enough before winching a heavy animal up into the stratosphere!

You could also include a rucksack, a sheet of plastic, rubber gloves, a full set of knives and bone saws, washing and sterilising equipment, marching compass, GPS, radio/mobile phone, first aid kit and who knows what else.

Health and Safety seem to think we should have enough stuff to stock a small field hospital – but bugger them in their ivory towers; the rest of us have to live in the real world.

And we do this for pleasure, don?t we?

PS. Don?t forget the dog ? the best stalking companion a man ever had.