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What to wear when deer stalking | Handy Advice Guide

Posted by Bethan Bithell on 16th Mar 2016

Stalking is a term used to describe the hunting and shooting of deer. As well as stalking for meat, there are a few other reasons why deer stalking takes place. These are:

  • the control of disease amongst deer
  • land maintenance
  • the protection of agricultural crops and forestry

Being successful at deer stalking requires a number of skills and also a vast amount of patience.

Importantly, as highlighted by BASC, (The British Association for Shooting & Conservation), vast knowledge and experience of this sport – and also in the ecology of deer – is essential for the welfare of these animals.

If you intend to partake, something to consider in view of the UK’s rapidly changing weather conditions and unpredictable climate, is the wearing of the correct deer stalking clothing, footwear and accessories. This is vital for your safety and comfort when out deer stalking!

What you wear really depends on how formal or informal the stalking operation is. If you have been invited to a ‘deer stalk’, then formal dress may be required. It is always worth checking with the estates stalker for advice and guidance on what to wear.

Layering up is probably the best way forward. This means, for example, wearing several lightweight and thin layers rather than just one or two heavy, chunky garments. The process of ‘layering up’ will allow you to add or remove garments that are lightweight and are easy to handle, as weather conditions change. They are also small enough to fit in your backpack! This is vital so you are prepared for drastic changes in temperature, especially if stalking at locations such as the Scottish Highlands, for example. The most important consideration is warmth over style!

In this guide we have highlighted key products which are popular amongst customers who shoot and stalk. We have also included some other products we think would be of a benefit to you whilst out in the field.

Factors to consider when buying a shooting and stalking jacket

When looking for a deer stalking jacket there are many important factors to consider. These include:

  • the number of pockets the jacket has to carry essentials, such as a radio, a mobile phone or binoculars, etc.
  • how waterproof the fabric is
  • what the fabric is made from (e.g. tweed or cotton finish)
  • the type of lining in the jacket (e.g. fleece or quilted lining)
  • the type of sleeve ( raglan sleeve or set-in sleeve jacket?)

As you are likely to be out in all weather conditions, often walking for many miles, a quality jacket that is fully waterproof and breathable is vital. It’s worth noting that a breathable membrane in a jacket will prevent your body from over-heating and therefore sweating and this can often help prevent you from catching ‘a chill’!

Also, the overall weight of the jacket should be assessed. Do think whether you would prefer to wear a heavy wax, quilted jacket or, as suggested above, numerous lightweight layers with a lightweight waterproof and breathable jacket on top. As the weather changes, wearing layers can help to regulate your body temperature as you add or remove layers.

The colour of the jacket is also important. For example, do you need to be well hidden? A camouflage jacket will enable you to blend into your surroundings and wait until your prey comes to you!

Due to the nature of this sport, the fabric of your kit needs to be tough and, wherever possible, easy to maintain. You may find yourself sitting or even lying down in muddy and rocky surfaces and so tough fabrics that are easy to clean and reproof are essential.

Taking the above factors into consideration, below are six highly recommended jackets that we believe will meet the criteria:

Deer Stalking Jackets for men:

Highlander Rexmoor Camouflage JacketSherwood Forest Gadwall JacketHoggs of Fife Brora Jacket
Highlander Rexmoor Camo JacketSherwood Forest Gadwall JacketHoggs of Fife Brora Jacket

Stalking Jackets for women:

Sherwood Forest Birchwood JacketHoggs of Fife Caledonia Tweed JacketSherwood Forest Norwood Jacket
Sherwood Forest Birchwood JacketHoggs of Fife Caledonia JacketSherwood Forest Norwood Jacket

To view our full collection of deer stalking jackets please click here – Shooting Jackets

Factors to consider when buying shooting and stalking trousers

The trousers you choose to wear will, again, depend on how formal or informal your event is. A formal shooting day held at an estate may require you to wear shooting breeks along with shooting socks, whereas at an informal shoot there may be no set requirements.

However, a word of caution! When wearing breeks you will need to take care not to get bitten by insects. Many stalkers and shooters have found that breeks allow ticks and ants enter their breeks at the knee area. Well, to help prevent this, make sure you wear knee length shooting socks and leg gaiters. Tough, durable, and waterproof leg gaiters, such as the Snolock gaiter will also provide you with protection when walking through heather and brambles, and may even offer extra protection against snake bites, in some cases.

It’s worth remembering that, generally, deer stalking is likely to involve walking through forests, heather, brambles or across rough and unstable ground, so waterproof, breathable, tough and flexible trousers really should be considered.

Stalking trousers, such as those illustrated below, that have articulated knees and extra strong material on the seat, will last for many seasons.

Sherwood Forest Kingswood TrousersHoggs of Fife Strathmoor Shooting TrousersHoggs of Fife Green King Trousers
Sherwood Forest Kingswood TrousersHoggs of Fife Strathmoor TrousersHoggs of Fife Green King Trousers

To view our full collection of shooting and stalking trousers please click here.

The importance of wearing the correct footwear

Keeping your feet comfortable and dry is essential when out in the field. As hinted at above, you may well find yourself walking for many miles miles across rough and tough conditions, perhaps over rocky grounds and over muddy paths. So, the right kind of stalking boots is vital for your safety and comfort.

The criteria to look for when considering a pair of stalking boots should include:

  • will they squeak when walking?
  • do they have a rigid sole for good grip?
  • is there a waterproof and breathable membrane?
  • is there ankle support?
  • do they have a comfortable sole unit?

Leather boots are recommended as they are tougher and more hard wearing than most fabric boots. Waterproof and breathable membranes, such as Sympatex lining, in a boot will ensure your feet remain dry all day long. Similarly, a high leg boot will provide both ankle support and protection. Do consider that a 10 eyelet boot will also provide protection against snake bites and those rocky scrapes! Many of our stalking boots use innovative technologies such as a Vibram sole unit, a memory insole and high quality Sympatex membranes.

Please click here to view our full collection of Stalking Boots

Another important consideration is the wearing of duck cotton gaiters, which are securely closed at the top. These fit over your boots and will also help to prevent uninvited insects, such as ants, from crawling into your boots whilst you may be lying in grass.

Alternatively, another option is a pair of neoprene lined wellington boots. Wearing wellies gives you a bit more freedom to walk through rivers and muddy trenches. Of course, Neoprene wellies are also extremely comfortable and warm and so are ideal for those shorter walks. However do be aware that there are some problems to consider when wearing wellies, such as the sole unit not being designed for long distance walks. This may result in aching feet if you are out walking all day and do remember that they won’t provide the same kind of ankle support as a pair of good leather boots would.

So, if you are planning to walk along very muddy paths and perhaps through rivers and you would prefer to wear high leg boots, then you may wish to consider an accompanying pair of Dexshell waterproof socks. Dexshell socks have been constructed using a three layer system. This layering system results in an overall waterproof, breathable and comfortable sock. Please examine the examples below:

Goodyear Swamp Neoprene Lined Wellington BootGrisport keeper BootsHoggs of Fife Country Cable Stockings
Goodyear Swamp Neoprene Wellington BootGrisport Keeper Boot Hoggs of Fife Country Cable Stockings

You may also wish to consider:

Highlander Glenmore BootTrailwise Snolock Gaitersdexshell waterproof socks
Highlander Glenmore BootTrailwise Snolock Gaiters Dexshell Waterproof Socks

Stalking Accessories

Deer StalkingThere are many essential stalking and shooting accessories that will ensure your safety and will help to make your experience more enjoyable. When out and about in the elements, keeping your hands and your head warm is not only a source of comfort but is also a safety requirement.

Your gloves will need to keep you warm but they also need to be comfortable to wear, whilst still allowing plenty of grip and ease of movement. Do consider that padded, chunky shooting gloves may possibly restrict your shooting!

The Dexshell waterproof contrast gloves are seamless, fully waterproof and breathable with fantastic thermal properties. These gloves have a great ‘fit’, similar to that of a wet suit against your skin, which helps with hand and finger movement. Also, the Dexshell contrast glove has a long cuff so it can, in turn, tuck nicely into the cuff of your shooting jacket. These gloves have ‘grip- dotted’ palm and fingers to ensure a truly great grip.

Wearing the correct head wear is extremely important to help retain body heat on those colder days. When deciding on the style of a hat, you may wish to consider whether a flat cap is suitable. Some shooters and stalkers suggest that the peak on a flat cap gets in the way, when using the scope of a rifle. To avoid this, a bush hat may be a more suitable choice.

Another essential piece of equipment is a hiking stick or perhaps a bipod. A hiking stick has a number of uses including providing support when walking over rough or muddy ground, as well as acting as a tool to help steady your hand when aiming.

Please click here to view our full range of Stalking accessories.

Dexshell Waterproof GlovesHoggs of Fife waxed bush hatClassic Cane Hiking Stick
Dexshell Waterproof GlovesHoggs of Fife Waxed Bush HatHiking Stick

For more guidance, tips or advice on what to wear please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help!

Similarly, it really is worth getting to know your local shooting estates stalker or gamekeeper, who can advise you on what’s best to wear and can offer advice on many aspects of shooting and stalking. Their knowledge and experience can be really helpful!

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