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Lightweight shooting sticks reviewed

With deer laying waste to hedgerows and woodland, Richard Negus investigates the merits of lightweight and compact shooting sticks

lightweight shooting sticks

Richard Gould finds the Champion Folding shooting sticks a useful addition to his mobile stalking outings

High seats, while a vital tool making for safe, scent-free, silent shooting, are by their very nature static and bulky. This is of no consequence when shooting deer on rides within large, high deer density woods. But the small woods, coppices and scrub blocks that are perhaps too diminutive and far flung to warrant placing a seat alongside, are just the sort of habitats so adored by our enemy number one of hedgerows, the muntjac. (Read Mark Ripley on the best shooting sticks.)


Muntjac are enemy number one of the hedgerow, at just the right height to lay waste to regrowth

The need for lightweight shooting sticks

Effectively stalking these habitats on foot challenges not only your stealth and fieldcraft but also your marksmanship, necessitating you to shoot off sticks. My business partner Richard Gould identified that for this type of closed wood, scrubland shooting he needed a lightweight stick set-up that was both quick to bring into use and silent in operation to facilitate the accurate snap shooting, either from standing or kneeling positions, that he needed to adopt in these forays.

The Firefield Monopod shooting stick

The Firefield Monopod shooting stick ticks the boxes for stealth and compactness in the woods

Confined spaces

In woods, of course, there are trees to hand which can make do as an impromptu rest, but having to move to that perfect tree and set up can make all the difference between getting off that killing shot or seeing your quarry disappear out of sight into the undergrowth. Richard first tried using a Firefield Monopod shooting stick, which as its name indicates is just that, a thumb stick with adjustable legs and moulded cork handle. He found it certainly ticked the boxes regarding stealth and compactness for shooting within the confined spaces of a thick wood.

He next tried a set of folding X-shaped sticks from Champion. Fresh out of the box they felt somewhat too lightweight to provide the sturdy platform he was after. However, looks were deceiving. The sticks have quick-set leg joints, meaning he could keep his eyes on the target while the bipod more or less put itself nigh silently together. When assembled, the sticks sit at just under 40in, meaning you drop to your knee to shoot, but the process is all markedly natural and will doubtless become more practised and fluid with regular use.

Where these sticks arguably truly prove their worth is that they fold down to a mere 14in, meaning they can easily fit into the deer pocket on most stalking coats. This means that you are less encumbered by kit, and the less kit you carry, the more chance you have of a silent approach in these cramped coppice woods.

While Richard would not replace his own larger scissor sticks for more open-ground stalking, he is going to trial the Champions this summer to truly put them through their paces. His first reaction was that they may well prove a useful addition to his mobile stalking outings.

hedge laying

Checking for damage by pests, in this instance the rough edge indicates deer browsing.

Plague proportions

In the south and east of England we are currently experiencing deer numbers of near plague proportions. Research suggests that we have more deer in England now than at any time in our human history. Our woodland and hedgerows are showing the effects of this overpopulation. While our native reds and roe require and deserve assessing, prior to a managed level of lethal control, there is an extremely good argument for adopting an ‘if it’s safe, shoot on sight’ attitude to the non-native fallow and muntjac. (Read more on deer numbers.)

coppiced hazel stool

A coppiced hazel stool waiting to regrow – if the deer don’t get to it first

While shooting from a high seat is effective, for experienced Shots like Richard Gould, the ability to go out and find deer, if they have not wandered in front of your static seated position, is essential if the numbers of deer that need to be culled is to be reached. By using a lightweight shooting stick such as the Champion, your approach remains stealthy while at the same time ensures a platform from which to squeeze off a clean killing shot.

Lightweight shooting sticks to consider

Champion Folding Shooting Sticks

Champion Folding Shooting Sticks

Champion Folding Shooting Sticks RRP £58

This handy hunting tool effortlessly assembles in seconds as shock cords quickly pull together and lock legs into place. The compact, lightweight folding shooting sticks work well in all types of terrain, steadying the shooter for a quick, clean shot. Richard also uses the Firefield Monopod Shooting Stick (£35.99) supplied by Edgar Brothers.

Champion Folding Shooting Sticks

Richard Gould uses Champion folding shooting sticks

Primos Trigger Stick Gen 3  RRP £139.95

This is an extremely quick and versatile tripod system — easily collapsible and height adjustable with nothing more than a pull on the trigger system. And as the legs deploy under their own weight, they adjust to uneven ground and can easily be further adjusted with the one-handed trigger system to offer a good solid rest.

Rekon carbon fibre tripod £329.99

The Rekon tripod system uses carbon fibre technology to provide a sturdy yet lightweight shooting platform, ideal for shots over awkward terrain. The ball head at the top of the tripod rotates through 360 degrees and clamps solid, allowing it to hold your rifle, leaving your hands free to use a thermal spotter or caller.

Spartan Javelin Lite Bipod  RRP £127.95

The Javelin Lite bipod is available in three lengths to accommodate stalkers wanting a lightweight modular bipod. By using high-grade carbon fibre, the Javelin Lite does not compromise the balance of a rifle, making it perfect for hunters on the move, especially as it can be attached and detached in an instant using the Spartan magnetic attachment.

The Firefield Monopod Shooting Stick

The Firefield Monopod gives Richard a sturdy platform from which to pull the trigger