Most of us will have less money to spend this year due to the downturn and with pheasant shoots downsizing,being unable to fill all places and some doing away with paid help I thought I would look at stalking prices here in Scotland to see if they were affected. Then when I started to look at things I realized just how varied the methods of paying for our sport there were. I always believed that no matter how much you were charged for something it was value for money that was the important thing.
1 Renting the sporting on a piece of land or forest.
This is very popular as it gives you the freedom to stalk when you like and also allows you to manage the deer, within the lease cull limits ,to your own perameters. A short time ago I took part in a leasing exercise organized by FC Scotland. They had 150hectares of commercial forest with an avarage Sika cull of 46 animals per year for the last 3 years that they now wanted to rent out. The rangers made no bones about how a lot of time had been spent achieving this cull and males were shot all year round and they thought a recreational stalker would be hard put to equal this. The guide price was £3500. Over three days some 75 people including many sporting agent looked at the property. I was amazed that some came from South Wales, the South Coast of England as well as the usual suspects from Perth and the Highlands! The place went for in excess of £8000. Value for money?
2 Taking days-accompanied. Here again there is variety. You can pay per stalk, per day,per animal. Then there are trophy fees,blank day fee and dont forget the tip for the keeper. The range in cost is enormous. It is almost impossible to compare, like for like as so many variables come into it. Having paid per stalk myself on a few occasions then been taken for a long walk in the Perthshire mountains to see a few deer on the opposite clifftop I would definitly get recommendations first. I read in a Danish hunting magazine a warning that cheap stalking in Britain ment they had no deer. I have found outing fees ranging from £50 per stalk for Roe only to £ 120 for Red and Sika. Value for money?
3 Renting one or more animals.
This is often the way big estates in the Highlands work. They have say 20 Red Stags to shoot in the season so rent them out singly. This way you can be almost guaranteed to be given the chance of a shot. The price of this can look high however as just now round here £360 seems to be the going rate. Even a blank day still has to be paid for but this is often just a cost covering exercise. Value for money?
I have come to the conclusion that with stalking still rising in popularity and the availabilityremaining the same(little new large-scale tree planting )we are stuck with still -rising prices.
I am sure there are other permutations of how stalking is presented and charged for. I would like to hear how you all would like us, who provide stalking,to present our product. David Brown