deer stalker

Deer stalking is a sporting pastime, but it is also essential to protect forestry and valuable agricultural crops. Deer breed prolifically and suffer from starvation and disease unless they are culled.

To this end, landowners and stalkers usually work in close co-operation with one another to create a plan that balances the welfare of the deer against the damage they can cause if allowed to breed unchecked.

The responsible stalker will know and understand all the laws applicable to the sport and will act with safety as a primary concern. Shooting UK regularly publishes articles from a pool of deer stalking experts covering every aspect of stalking including: safety, rifles, ammunition, equipment, clothing, techniques and finally some recipes for venison dishes. You can read them here with regular updates.

Muntjac deer

What’s the best time of day to stalk muntjac?

A: My preference is for a morning stalk. There is less disturbance in the countryside from walkers, farmworkers and so on, and an early start enables me to make the best use of the day. Plus it is a delight to be out in the countryside as dawn breaks. Scientic research tells the opposite story, however. When muntjac…

Deer seasons for red deer

2016 deer seasons

Red deer England and Wales: Aug 1-April 30 (stags) Nov 1 – Mar 31 (hinds) Scotland: July 1-Oct 20 (stags) Oct 21-Feb 15 (hinds) Northern Ireland: Aug 1-April 30 (stags) Nov 1-March 31 (hinds)   Sika deer England and Wales: Aug 1-April 30 (stags) Nov 1 – March 31 (hinds)…

Ibex

Ibex stalking in the Spanish Gredos Mountains

I have just returned from the most amazing, challenging, physically testing, at times frightening and most enjoyable hunting experience of my life, bar none. Through a good friend, David Pantlin, I had been invited to hunt Iberian ibex on an estate in the Gredos Mountains, 200km west of Madrid in Spain. I have often flown over the mountains…

deer stalkers

Steps to a successful stalk

In the first part of this feature – How to think like a deer –  I looked at why considering how a deer uses its senses, and how this can impact on its behaviours, can help to make you a successful stalker. So, bearing this in mind, how can this inform your stalking in practice? Every…

red deer

In praise of the Scottish red deer

There can be a bit of head scratching as to what is a native Scottish red deer. It is not entirely straightforward and over the years has been further confused by man’s interference, “improving” the local population by adding genes to provide sport and in doing so diluting the purity of the native animal. Plus, of course, red deer…

red stags

8 of the best places to stalk red stags in Scotland

Stalking red stags in Scotland is a bucket-list experience for most stalkers. One of the country’s most majestic animals, the red deer is Scotland’s largest native land mammal and one of its most sought-after sporting trophies. The majority are found in the Scottish Highlands and islands, and there is a wide variety of stalking ground and accommodation options to…

A.A. Gill

A.A. Gill in the hot seat

Did you have a crack at the stags last year? “Yes I did. I haven’t missed a year for probably the last 12, no… maybe 15 years; something like that.” Do you go to the same estate each year? “I do. The estate is Letterewe, which is on the further side of…

deer stalking

Highlands v Lowland stalking. What’s best?

Stalking in the Highlands By Ben Samuelson I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m rather hoping that Giles has done the decent thing and left the space below completely blank. How can sitting in a tennis umpire’s chair at horribly early o’clock to wait for something that is as…

wild boar

Is shooting wild boar in the UK legal?

A: Wild boar are now establishing themselves in viable populations in several parts of southern England, so providing you are shooting with the permission of the landowner, it is quite legal. Boar do not have any close season but should be treated with the same respect that you would any quarry. Do not…

Red deer

Open seasons for deer

Here is our list of open seasons for the various species of deer when you can go out stalking. (Dates are inclusive.) Red Stags England and Wales: 1 August – 30 April Scotland: 1 July – 20 October Northern Ireland: 1 August – 30 April Red hinds England and Wales:…

deerstalking in Scotland

How to think like a deer

Did you know that deer have six senses? They share with us those of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch or feeling, but there’s an extra. The vomeronasal organ is based in the roof of the mouth and is an important one to consider when stalking. You may have spotted a…

Deer population

Deer population: How do we control numbers across the UK?

We are currently in the grips of what is known as an “exponential deer population increase”. To put it another way, we’re in a situation where many areas have damaging numbers of deer. The important questions here are how and to whom or what are large numbers of deer causing…

Cull buck

What makes a cull buck?

April can be the critical month of the year for deerstalkers and roebucks alike. The start of the new season brings anticipation for what it will hold, confirmation or frustration about decisions made in seasons past, and for many a desire to get off the mark and grass the first buck…

Internal view of a rifle

Rifle safety

Safety On ranges, carry your rifle barrel up – if a round is fired towards the ground, there is a danger of ricochet. Always check after firing that your chamber is clear, and remove the bolt once you have finished firing your rounds. Many ranges insist on breech flags to show…

fox in field

Keeping livestock safe

On a Friday in February, I waited at my burger van for Tony Jones to arrive from Yorkshire for what would hopefully be another enjoyable weekend of foxing. As usual, the weather was absolutely rotten: cold and raining, with high winds. I usually finish work at 1pm but, with the…

roe rut

English and Welsh roe review 2015

Numbers of roe from England and Wales measured in 2015 were again up on the previous year. Having measured more than 250 heads in 2014, we were presented with just over that number this year. The quality was not quite as good as we have seen in the past —…

Chinese water buck

UK other species review 2015

Many stalkers will be aware of some of the changes that have taken place over the past 12 months with the introduction of the CIC’s Handbook for the Evaluation and Measurement of Hunting Trophies. The changes for roe deer are few and have been easily assimilated; those for other European species have been…

Scottish roe review 2015

There are two aspects of trophy roe from Scotland that remain consistent. The first is the overall numbers that are presented for evaluation; the second the locations whence they come. Last year proved to be no exception, with the eastern side of the country producing the pick of the trophies, and…