Well what a Summer it has been!
Just a word of warning to all those novice stalkers who are trying to negotiate the minefield of the Law and who finally obtain shooting permissions and can go out on their hard-won land to stalk some deer.
On farm 'A' I have deer-stalking permission, all is in writing, nevertheless the farming partners don't seem to communicate internally and one partner signs the sole stalking rights away to another stalker without telling me- or his farming partners. Result: An angry and ugly confrontation under a high seat when the inevitable happened: Stalker 1 meets stalker 2.
On farm 'B' the farmer grants me the stalking rights on 'his' land, in writing, and after some 6 visits this summer I find out he doesn't actually own the land, he is a tenant. The land is owned by large Shooting Estate 'X'. Thank you farmer 'B' I have been shooting on land without formal permission from the owner of the sporting rights, potentially exposing me to armed tress-pass and poaching allegations.
On farm 'C' I get deer-stalking rights (again, all in writing) and am assured by the farmer I am the only person who shoots deer on his land. But I find out that several other locals also shoot on that land - including deer- and they have such a cosy relationship with the farmer they don't even have to notify him. I check the position with the farmer who assures me (again in writing) that I am the only person who shoots deer on his land. The locals think they have a right which overrides the minor issue of ownership and inform me they WILL go on the land to shoot deer whatever I say, as they have been shooting there for 40 years, and anyway I am a foreigner! A potential disaster waiting to happen.
In all three cases I believed I had made all the proper arrangements, but due to the farmers being economical with the truth or them not appreciating safety they have exposed me to potentially serious Legal and Safety issues.
So...be aware just because someone gives you shooting permission in writing, that doesn't mean they actually own the land. Or own the sporting rights. And if you think you have the sole stalking rights be aware others may think the same, and one day you may stare into each others' barrel. And just because a farmer or landowner assures you that nobody else shoots on the land, that doesn't mean it is true.
I now look forward to replies with lots of similar stories, some advice on how to avoid the above issues, and some constructive comments on what I should have done differently. Thank you!