Deer Stalking for Dummies

​What is deer stalking and why do we do it. 

If you’re reading this from an anti hunting perspective please read on. Your my main audience, I wish to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding deer stalking. 

Why?

Firstly we must understand why we must control deer numbers I mean why would you want to shoot such a beautiful beast (see above.) Before man got all meddley with things we had a wolf poulation in the UK. The wolf population would kill the deer until there were not many left then the wolves would starve and the deer population would rise again. So that’s the yr 7 biology bit. Now as I’m sure you are aware we no longer have a wolf population so the deer numbers continue to grow. Whys that our problem? well like when the Wolf runs out of venison to eat the Wolf dies the same happens for the deer. so the deer starve. But their is grass and food everywhere? Not really different deer species munch on different foods and they can be quite picky. To the point of starvation. This is especially so in the Scottish Highlands once the snow falls on the mountains. 

Culling to save the population?

Sounds counter intuitive. Essentially you can cull a number of deer, say 500 on an estate and this will save a greater number.  Experiments have taken place in the past where estates would normally take X amount each year. The following year they take none and count the bodies in the spring. And as a rule of thumb the number of starved animals would number between X times 2/3. 

Shooting and conservation go hand in hand. But it just doesn’t sound right does it. There is one other way to control deer numbers in the UK. That is by re releasing wolves. Now, it’s worked in yellowstone national park, ish. With some very unhappy farmers. But our little island is nowhere near as vast and sparce as yellowstone. By the nature of farming in the UK we would end up starving ourselves with wolves acting as a pest species to british cattle and farmed animals. We could import more food but that would be a poor environmental choice. So in conclusion we must cull. By any naturalist or conservational argument the cull is the sensible choice. 

Hunting not killing

We know why we must cull the population, now how do we do it. Notice I type hunting not killing. Hunting trips are not always successful, if they were it would be called killing. 

We call it deer stalking as we must stalk the beast first. When we cull a population we must select the right animals. There’s no point setting out to conserve a population and taking the fattest beasts. The bigger the beast, i.e. the ones with the greatest fat reserves, the more likely to survive the winter. We must select the animals unlikely to survive, small animals and those carrying injury must be taken. Older animals and late born calves should also be taken, it’s very hard to shoot a calf and it’s not a nice experience but any calf born late in the season is simply going to die if the weather gets bad, in the north of england and Scotland that’s a certainty. 

So we know why we’re taking the deer and what we’re going to take but how do we take it. The stalking part e.g. crawling up to about 30m of the deer is open for so much discussion ill not even bother  starting, professional stalkers of many years all have completely different styles. And then Highland and forest stalking are two wholly different bags. But as for basics they include, wind, camoflage, noise, smell etc. Clothing should not russle, shimmer or shine.

How do we take the beast. In the UK there are legal minimum calibers dependant on species you can find a full list on the basc website, https://basc.org.uk/cop/deer-stalking/ . On top of minimum calibers there are minimum grain amounts for the rounds dependant on species. See above.

Shooting for sport

I wanted to make a point about shooting for sport. When the term sport is used it’s not used in the same respect as rugby or football. It’s about being sporting, it’s about giving a fair and fighting chace to anything we would kill for our own food. It’s about respect. We could use high caliber super velocity rounds and shoot deer from a mile away, we don’t do this as it would be unsporting. That’s what sport means, it’s about respect. 

Where can you go deer stalking? 

Anywhere you have permission. That might be on invite or a booking on an estate in Scotland or similar? 

When can you go? 

Depends on the species and the sex. You can learn more on the BASC website in the previous paragraph. Harking back to the points on stalking another reason for stalking is to identify the sex and species to make sure we can indeed shoot the beast legally. 

Photo credit/copyright http://www.deerstalking.info

So I’ve opened up a can of worms with this thread. It’s such a collosal topic but hopefully this should be a starting point to allow anyone who comes accross this to Google further. 

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