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Thread: Deer stalking how do you hunt? What works for you?

  1. #1

    Deer stalking how do you hunt? What works for you?

    Hello to all,

    Are there any stalker out there willing to share there experiences advice?

    As a deer stalker I sometimes wonder how other people go about deer stalking. What methods do the employ? I am assuming there are some other people on this forum who are also self taught and would benefit from hearing how others hunt. I believe it’s never good to stick to one method
    maybe someone out there could share something like “this works for me” or “I use this method this time of year”.

    I am gathering Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales are pretty unique as the are some of the only countries who actually hunt via hob nail express on foot other countries use mainly high seats, tree stands and driven hunts to achieve their cull quota.

    What I am implying if people would add e.g. After a heavy rain shower and shortly after the sun comes out concentrate on fields on the woodland edge where the sun is shining as deer don’t like staying in the forests with the water dripping from the trees.

    Some stalkers say a frosty morning is not a good time to go hunting as the frozen coarse grass cuts the deer’s tongue.

    A light rain is a good time to hunt as it helps keep noise and scent down.

    Mature beast are nearly always last to enter a field and first to exit as the know from experience
    There’s more room at the dinner table because the other who didn’t are not around anymore.

    Drag a deer head first as there is less friction with the ground.

    Watch livestock as usually if there lying down deer are also and the same when it comes to feeding.

    Please refrain form being contradictory after all we should help each other as much as possible
    Thanking you in advance for your time.


  2. #2
    I for one would be interested in other people's tips.
    Despite having a decent length of time stalking highland red I am "Roe novice".

    I hate sitting still and high seats are not for me. I fear I am moving around too much to find deer rather than using knowledge of ground to predict where they are going to be/come out etc.

  3. #3

    It's hard to write about stalking techniques. For a long number of years I have followed in my father's footsteps and in Jimmy Taylor's footsteps. As you watch what the guy in front of you does, you gradually pick up tips on what to do and what not to do. I try each year to go out with at least one stalker on a new piece of ground and see how they do it on their patch.

    I find stalking is a bit like fishing, sometimes I am doing the right thing and sometimes I am not. Understanding when and where to stop and sit and watch is important.

    Good luck. JCS

  4. #4
    99% I know I have learnt from my father, the last 1% from this forum. moral of the story is, stalking with experienced people will teach you in a few outings what you can spend years/decades trying to learn by reading. Just be observant!.

    one thing I still to this day do differently than my father is, he likes to start by sitting and waiting for deer to show, then if nothing, start stalking by foot. I like to be on foot, find a spot before dusk, then sit and wait. He's shot hundreds more deer than me, so he's probably right! LOL..oh, he also walks a LOT slower than me, and uses his binoculars a LOT more, looking into the grass, observing, looking for flickering ears of lying deer, etc. it will come when I get older and more patient for me too I guess....LOL...

  5. #5
    I start off a AM stalk with the first hour in a highseat or box then set off stalking on foot,if it has rained i like to get out soon after it stops,for a Pm stalk tha last hour is in a highseat or box, if stalking through woods i take three steps & glass in front through 180deg arc (slowly pays dividends)

  6. #6
    Having never been shown or given any guidance on 'how to stalk' as it were, it was inevetably a steep sharp learning curve for me.
    However, I've noticed and picked up the following two points,
    1)if i can see a deers arse,then usually i'm doing something right,providing it's not followed by a loud bark.
    2)when you've just driven 6 hours to your stalking ground,everything looks like a deer at 6.00am,but double checking what appears to be an odly shaped tree or bush,and just under the canopy,has payed dividence with me.

    I do like to stop,every now and again and just have a general scout around.

  7. #7
    Deer stalking is a science and has been studied by many many people .But what else is a science is knowledge of your own area and its geography and plant life. Also important is what deer you have on the ground. One thing i have learned is while you are moving deer will see you while they are moving you will see them so make sure its the latter most of the time.

  8. #8
    I think I was quite lucky really, I was born into keepering & forestry, I went straight from school onto the estate, the first two years I also did 10 weeks a year at keepering college with some very well known names up in caithness & sutherland (Richard Macnicol & John Waters) .. I got to stalk & shoot on every estate in the area and learnt bits and pieces from each keeper & stalker I came into contact with, The head keeper on my own estate (forsinard) was extremely fussy and particular and every single method employed had to be done his way, as the years rolled by I realised much of what he taught me was correct.. I then honed those skills on my own, the first 2 years I was only allowed to stalk on my own for Hinds & Roe, we lamped fox every night over 40,000 acres, I gleaned information from that from deer seen in the process, their habits and seasonal variations.

    I had to boil heads, do everyone's larder work, ghillie with Argo and Quad, do courses on ageing deer, boil down every jaw bone we shot and store it and record it. It really was a very professionally managed deer estate, only old deer and poor heads were shot, if we made an error and took a hind out that was less than 8 years old it really was a case of being scared to return to the larder and having to own up.

    Once the head keeper was finally happy with me, I was given the all clear and for 2/3 years after that I stalked for guests hundreds of red deer and claimed hundreds more to my own rifle, we had access to open hill ground with 3000+ reds hefted onto it, and enough ground to keep 3 rifles in stags each day from August to Season Close..

    It would be impossible to impart knowledge onto anyone over a forum, and I for one am quite guarded on what information I will pass on to others unless they gain my respect first.. Many professional stalkers will be the same I am sure.. they believe folk should pay their dues first!

    Many a time I stalked with a guest behind me in full view of deer for 200 yards across flat ground with no cover face down inch by inch undetected in order to gain enough distance to get a shot at a beast.. Many would never consider it.. But it can be done.. you just need to understand deer, wind, scent, what deer can and cant see etc etc!

    I felt extreme pressure to obtain deer for guests who were paying at the time £250 per stag, much more now I would think, and days would come up where I would have to leave my own beat and go into a neighbouring beat in order to get them a stag. your then risking the next days stalking as the shot can push deer off your ground and it can take a couple of days for them to come back in, the variables of stalking are limitless.. Which is why I love it!

    Forestry stalking......... A whole different ART .. I'll shut up now before JAYB moderates me.

  9. #9
    I am quite inexperienced but for me a stalk starts with looking at a map of my permissions, then check the weather forecast - in particular wind direction- and then PLAN which part of my permissions I will stalk, where I will park my car and which route I will take to stalk into the wind as much as possible to an area on my land where I know the deer will be, and then stick to that plan.

  10. #10
    The basic maxim.....You just need too spot the deer before it senses you.

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