Everyone should have a good hat or cap they can use for shooting, fishing and deer stalking. A hat serves many purposes; good camouflage, can be used for warmth, keep the sun and rain off your face and out of your eyes and, in my case, it helps keeps my hair out of the way.
For years, I have worn a couple of different hats; each one has its function; I love my Akubra hat for everyday wear and shooting, it’s also good for fishing and walking but not on a windy day. Recently, I tried and loved the Hillman Reversible Hat. It comes in a range of sizes and patterns; my favourite is the Autumn hat because of the green (I love green) running through the camo pattern. The hat has a folding bill; this feature was invented and produced by Hillman. Thanks to the hat’s lack of bulk you can stuff it in your pocket when not in use, and pull it out when you need it without the need for rigorous reshaping. It also had reversible fluorescent orange. I wore mine when I was out on my first dawn roe buck stalk with Venator’s MD Kenneth Larsen (pictured).
The Hillman Reversible Hat suits men and women and my one is now a permanent fixture in my hat collection.
You can buy one here online at Venator.
My interest in wildlife stretches back more than 50 years, and as a country sports writer and photographer, Scotland’s fauna has featured in my work many times. No animal stands out more for its beauty and adaptability than the Roe deer.
I have worked with deerstalkers and accompanied many stalks with my camera but it wasn’t until I joined Venator as product Ambassador for their Hillman range of outdoor clothing did I feel the urge to stalk and shoot deer.
As the deer population continues to grow, I understand why deer numbers need to be managed as management means no starvation through overgrazing and strong healthy genes. I have worked with the Police involving deer-related wildlife crime and have seen the impact of deer populations near roads and the traffic collisions.
My ‘introduction to deer stalking’ was conducted by Venator’s MD Kenneth Larsen, a passionate deerstalker. We spent the morning discussing deer species, stalking techniques, shot placement and rifle safety then after a bite of lunch, we headed out into the Perthshire countryside for target practice.
It felt good getting to grips with the Tikka T3 .243 with GRS stock; I loved the adjustable stock and felt comfortable with my shooting position. I took my time and slowed my breathing down to take my first shot, focussed and squeezed. I shot off sticks and in the prone position and felt confident and pleased with my very first target practice with a rifle. It’s a more intense process than shotgun shooting as there are many more factors to consider and, of course, safety is paramount at all times. Getting yourself into the focused and calm zone to shoot and then following through by shooting well gives a wonderful sense of achievement.
Kenneth said, “I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and determination shown by Linda when she took her first shot with a rifle. She took to rifle shooting like a duck to water. Eager to follow all safety instruction, calm, confident and focused she shot a great 9 from the prone position at 80 metres, followed by a great 3 shot grouping. After 10 shots at the roe deer target from prone position and off the sticks, all within the target area, I am confident that Linda is ready to progress to the next step with a “live” guided stalk and ultimately cull her first deer”
My live stalk will be happening very soon, stay tuned.
An introduction to Roe deer stalking
Deer stalking is a popular country sport, especially here in Scotland as we have a large and thriving deer population.
If you are curious about deer stalking and would like to give it a go, you should make contact with a qualified, professional deer stalker who provide a beginners course in deer stalking. Venator offers a comprehensive introduction to deer stalking lead by MD, Kenneth Larson, a qualified and experienced stalker.
Deer stalking is done on the open hill or lowland/woodland. One of the most exciting species to stalk is the Roe deer, and as a stalk takes around three hours, it is an ideal introduction for the novice. Stalking takes place in the morning or evening, and typically on foot over the land managed by the stalker or sometimes from a high seat; a strategically positioned elevated seat located in an area known for deer activity. Stalking into deer will be one of the most thrilling outdoor experiences you are likely to have as opens up a previously dormant awareness of your surroundings. Your senses are heightened as you read the landscape for signs of deer. The stalk progresses, you move quietly, listening out for sounds and using binoculars to scan the area for movement. Talking in whispers, so you remain undetected as you stalk your quarry.
Professional stalkers like Kenneth have an enviable fieldcraft earned through years of stalking and understanding their quarry’s habits and habitat. He will share his knowledge and create opportunities for you to broaden yours.
Before you commence the stalk, you will first have to demonstrate your ability to shoot accurately with a rifle. Hunting large animals comes with a high degree of responsibility, so it is imperative you understand the importance of safety and animal welfare. A rifle will be provided, and you will be taught how to shoot at a deer-sized target.
The stalk starts right from the moment you leave your vehicle, so close your car door quietly, and be on the lookout for deer. Kenneth will lead the stalk. You may walk for a number of miles searching for deer, or find a small group less than a field away, as with all nature, there are no guarantees of seeing anything. Once a deer has been spotted, Kenneth will make sure you are in a position from where a safe shot can be taken and support you through the process. The beast will be gralloched (removing the innards) then taken to the larder where it will be butchered.
The Professional Deer Stalker: http://www.venatorpro.com/teammember/kenneth-larsen/
How to book:
To find out more and to book deer stalking with Venator visit www.venatorpro.com
What to wear:
Roe deer stalking season, Scotland
Buck Apr 1 – Oct 20
Doe 21 – Mar 31
It’s April, but the temperatures are still dropping, there’s snow in the forecast, and we need our warm clothing. I’m wearing Hillman’s hunting sweater from Venator (Perth based).
Visit Venator for warm layers, ideal for deer stalking, shooting and fishing. Click HERE for product details.
Scotland has a rich hunting heritage and is one of the most sought after sporting destinations, attracting hunters, shooters and anglers from around the world looking for a Scottish sporting adventure. The dramatic glens, ancient forests, flowing rivers and lochs are the habitats for a vast range of species, and the setting for some of the most spectacular sport to challenge the boldest of hunters. The country is relatively small; it is only 274 miles from North to South and makes shooting and stalking very accessible. With more than 30,000 freshwater lochs and 6,600 river systems, anglers have a vast choice.
Each county is richly woven with centuries-old history, and many of the landscapes are strewn with castles and ancient ruins. The sporting traditions such as blessing the river with a whisky filled quaich, dragging red deer down from the hill with a garron or acknowledging the ‘Glorious Twelfth’, are all unmistakably Scottish and recognised the world over.
Hunting lodges have been part of the Scottish landscape for centuries, one of the oldest dates back to 1107 when royal hunting parties hunted wild cat, wolves, deer, wild boar and bears. Wealthy Edwardians and Victorians made Scotland their sporting playground. Many of those who flocked to Scotland were influenced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who bought Balmoral Castle and embraced the shooting, deer stalking and fishing.
Today, country sports tourism boosts the Scottish economy by £155m and is expected to reach £185 million by 2020. There is an estimated 4,400 working full time in the industry; 2,600 employed in shooting and stalking and 1,800 engaged in fishing. Continue reading →