Nobody likes confrontation - and stalkers often get a hard time from ramblers

Q: While I was out stalking recently I was accosted by a walker who let fly a torrent of abuse and accusations. This person accused me of animal cruelty. I felt fairly hopeless, and could not get a word in edgeways.

This was obviously someone who had no real knowledge or understanding of the countryside, other than information acquired through biased newspapers and television programmes. How does one go about dealing with ramblers, and coping with this sort of ignorant abuse?

Dealing with walkers

Nobody enjoys confrontations.

However, the advisable action when ramblers start giving you grief is to have a few explanations ready, behave very reasonably and stay off the defensive.

  • Whatever you do, don’t give yourself a ‘Rambo’ image.
  • Keep knives well out of sight
  • Only wear camouflage clothing when it’s really necessary.
  • Be sensible of people’s sensitivities and don’t display deer carcasses.

As for explanations think of the many good reasons there are for stalking. For example keeping deer numbers within the capacity of the woodland which sustains them and avoiding damage to trees and crops.

The problem is, if you start educating an angry walker about the organic, low cholesterol qualities of venison – which is of course free range – you may discover that they are a vegetarian. Although of course, first-class organic, free range venison is still an excellent reason for stalking.

The dog question

Many walkers are accompanied by dogs, many of which will be being exercised off lead, which can create another set of problems for the stalker.

Uncontrolled dogs can present a difficult problem.

However, a gamekeeper I know, when reasoning with a dog walker whose animal was loose, took him on a tour of his beat while explaining some of his daily problems, the conservation work he was undertaking and the risks to ground-nesting birds and young deer from loose, uncontrolled dogs.

This was a positive approach and one which, for once, produced some understanding and rapport between the two parties.

Doing something like this may not always be a viable option, yet some sort of positive approach can sometimes work.