No matter what your deer stalking preferences may be, whether it be roe, red deer or Highland stags, having the right equipment with you is essential to ensure success and, indeed, your safety!
A steady temperament and infinite patience is required if you are to deer stalk with success and so wearing the right gear to keep you warm and comfortable will certainly help with this.
Highland and Woodland Deer Stalking
Highland stalking is carried out up at the top hills of Scotland and this process will be carried out mainly upon large, treeless hills. There is likely to be very little shelter there but deer can be observed working through their daily routine, from a distance, using a telescope, a monocular or a set of binoculars.
You can never be sure where your Highland deer stalking activity may take you and so a willingness to accept that you’re likely to get wet is necessary. You may also find yourself crawling up peat banks or perhaps through leg-straining tussocky grasses – so be prepared!
Similarly, woodland stalking involves the stalking of red, fallow or Japanese sika deer or perhaps roebuck. However, not as commonly stalked is the muntjac or the Chinese water deer!
Essentially, what you wear for stalking and shooting activity should ideally be both waterproof and breathable. This is to ensure protection from extreme or varying weather conditions. Also,it’s worth remembering that the time of the year is likely to dictate how many layers you wear!
Listed below are some recommended items to help fully equip you for Highland and Woodland stalking.
- Tweed clothing ( quick drying, warm even when wet, makes no rustling noise – particularly recommended for Highland stalking!)
- Shooting Jackets
- Shooting Trousers
- Hats (or Caps)
- Gaiters – extra tough to withstand brambles, heather – and sometimes even snakes!
- Gloves (with plenty of grip)
- Neck gaiters
- Microfleece layers
- Leather shooting boots (or perhaps wellies)
- A ‘commando sole unit’, to deal with difficult terrain for silence on rocky ground
- Comfortable socks (or waterproof socks)
- Ice grippers (depending upon weather conditions)
- Waterproof rucksacks or bags
- Rifles with carrying sling (made from non rustling, or rattling materials)
- Rifle covers (recommended for Highland stalking)
- Stalking telescopes or binoculars with a magnification of 20x
- Soft tissue paper to wipe down optics during wet weather (or lens cleaning cloths to keep optics clean)
- Flasks for hot drinks
- Binoculars or monoculars
- Head Torches
- High seats (for woodland stalking)
- Moist wipes
- Plastic/surgical gloves, to carry out the gralloch
- Appropriate knives with locking facilities
- A knife sharpener
- A spare knife
- Drag ropes and polythese bags
- Bug repellents
- Bipod or hiking sticks – to help with steadying a forward hand
- Basic first aid kits, bandages and tapes
- A strong torch for dusk stalking
- Peanuts and an energy bar
- Mobile phone
When out deer stalking on the hills, it is also recommended that you take the following:
- A map of the local area
- A compass
- A ‘CB radio’ (in case there is no mobile coverage)
- A whistle
Do consider that the more experience you get working alongside knowledgeable and experienced stalkers, the more your kit will change.
Deer stalking is an art that takes time, perhaps even years to perfect!
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