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Thread: Methods of deer hunting employed

  1. #1

    Methods of deer hunting employed

    Apologies in advance, if I am asking something already answered many times, but I a new here, and an American who has never hunted in the UK.

    I see that many hunters here use sound moderators. I see photos and talk of bipods, of stalking rifles, of tracking dogs, calibers and ranges - so I have a few questions.

    Is most of the hunting by rambling about, glassing open countryside, spotting game, and stalking it? Much of the terrain looks like the lower slopes in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, and the rolling hills of South Dakota. If so, how far do you stalk, how much distance do you have to close, and how far are the shots?

    How much of hunting is by slow still hunting?
    Some of it looks more forested, like the Appalachian mountains of the Carolinas, Virginia, and East Tennessee, though not as high or steep, so perhaps more like northern Alabama.

    And how much is over farmlands, row crop fields, and orchards?

    Do any of you use permanent high stands, or portable, packable stands and ladders?

    Are dogs permitted on the actual hunt, or only brought in later to recover wounded game?

  2. #2
    "Nonsense! They couldn't hit an elephant at this dista.....................".

  3. #3
    SD Regular
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    Hello.

    First there is no "public access" hunting land here in the UK. Yes there are national forests but whilst you can walk the dog, go trail biking and etc., etc., you can't go hunting in them.

    There are three sorts of shooting for deer. On the hill which is the traditional Scottish shooting. A long walk after spying a herd of deer and then stalking in to a particular beast. You can, just, still go all traditional with a ponyman and tweed plus fours and "tawe snooter" or Sherlock Holmes type headwear.

    Then there is woodland stalking which would be "Eastern" shooting in the USA? Virginia and the like in woods. Do they call that "still hunting" in the USA.

    Lastly there is shooting from maybe either a tree stand or from a "hide". Which might equate to "beanfield" shooting in the USA where you shoot deer coming out from woodland into a field or field margin.

    There's no driven deer here in the UK. It is not that it is illegal, or at least it used not to be, but just not carried out. Although you may get two or three stalkers where one may move through from one end of a large block of woodland hoping to shoot a deer but knowing also that his two companions are in "high seats" (you'd call them "tree blinds" in the USA) at the other end of that wood.

    Some places in Scotland may be able to offer all three...and even on the same day...if they have an estate with a mix of hill stalking and some forestry.

    Moderators are relatively new in their usage on centre fire deer rifles here in the UK. many, I included, don't and won't use them as they spoil the line of the rifle. Ditto bipods but nevertheless many that don't have them will shoot of a pair of sticks braced like an "X" or off a thumb of the left hand where the hand is braced against a tree, or even off a Scottish keeper's shoulder. Indeed most shooting on the hill...Scottish stalking...is from prone position. So people will use something to rest on if they can but not all like bipods stuck on their rifles.

    I'm less than impressed by some of Graham Downing's books but have never seen or read the book referred to by the earlier poster.
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 10-03-2014 at 23:39.

  4. #4
    Southern,

    Enfieldspares provided an excellent description. I too am an American that made my way over last summer for my first stalk (successful by the way). I will be heading back this fall to give the highlands a go.

    What I would add is that their licensing, seasons, and limits are quite different from ours. The deer on a property are not held in trust by to government for the people as we do here. They are the property of the landowner and therefore are managed as property. Conceivably, the owner could decide he wants no deer and attempt to eradicTe them all in a single day. Because these deer are property they may also be disposed of through the market, sold to a local butcher. Lastly, no license is required to stalk (the word hunt has connotations of hounds and horses) but the conscientious stalker goes after a voluntary status that demonstrates their skills and knowledge called DSC 1 or 2.

    All of that being said, I adapted quite quickly, an accomplished deer stalker will find themselves at home. Much of the farm land is what ours looked like in 1970, with many hedgerows and small wood lots breaking up the fields.

  5. #5
    "Still hunting" is walking, or stepping, very slowly, spending more time looking and standing still, than moving. It is generally associated with "big woods" hunting, where there are open views under the trees, or from the crests of hills, or down creek bottoms. The hope is to spy a fresh trail, where deer are moving, to move in order to adjust to the wind, to be there when two big does pass by, and wonder if a big buck is ahead of them and waiting, or just behind and trailing, to jump a deer, or walk past one in a pile of brush and pretend you don't see him, so you can be ready when he gets up and tries to sneak out behind your back.

  6. #6
    SD Regular
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    "Still hunting" is walking, or stepping, very slowly, spending more time looking and standing still, than moving.
    Pretty much then our "woodland stalking" but without the venemous snakes. Or the "big"! In fact mostly blundering about in a stealthy manner until you come upon an unsuspecting deer that has not seen, scented or heard you approach to within a killing distance.

    Bow hunting is illegal here in the UK. Mrs Thatcher's governmnet prohibited it in 1981.

    In Scotland calibres such as the 30-30 (whilst excellent within their limitation) are also illegal with the 170 grain bullet load as whilst is is OK on bullet weight and bullet diameter doesn't make the legal minimum VELOCITY of 2,450fps.

    But the 30-30 would be legal in England with that same 170 grain bullet load as there is no velocity requirement only a minimum muzzle ENERGY of 1,700 ft/lbs.

    So I could stand in England and shoot southwards and be lawful but take two steps over the boundary between England and Scotland and shoot northwards and be unlawful. With the very same rifle!

  7. #7
    The 50 states have just as silly laws. In Indiana, there is all this open farmland in the flat half of the state below Indianapolis. You cannot hunt deer with a centerfire rifle, but you can use a shotgun with slug, or a muzzle loader, for "safety reasons". You can hunt deer with a handgun, but it must have a barrel longer than five inches. So a 1911A1 Colt .45 ACP is illegal, as is a 4-inch .44 Magnum. But a six inch revolver in .357 is just fine.

    I was going to ask about bow hunting. What is the pretext for banning that? In France and Germany, there is a keen interest in traditional archery, with long bows. There have been big studies of the lethality of archery, of tens of thousands of deer arrowed in The South, and found no more wounding and loss than with rifles or shotguns.

    Man drives are still used in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where seasons are only two weeks. But dogs are not permitted. In the southern half of the Southern states, settled mostly by English, then more Scots and Germans, dogs are used to drive deer out of cover in the woods, which are more like jungle and swamps.

    Yes, we do have some large snakes, and alligators, in those regions of the coastal plains, from South Carolina, down through Georgia, Florida, and coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Seasons on the big reptiles now, too. Several killed this year were over fourteen feet.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern View Post
    I was going to ask about bow hunting. What is the pretext for banning that? In France and Germany, there is a keen interest in traditional archery, with long bows. There have been big studies of the lethality of archery, of tens of thousands of deer arrowed in The South, and found no more wounding and loss than with rifles or shotguns.
    Best not to start this discussion. It gets nasty fast, and usually ends up with the thread being closed. Just accept that it is illegal here, and that is unlikely to change.

    I'll just correct one thing said above about deer as property. They actually belong to no one while still alive - all that is owned/traded/leased is the right to take them on a given bit of land. They only become property once they have been legally taken.

    I think there are really three major differences between US and UK deer hunting.

    First, there is no public access hunting. The deer stalking rights to every last scrap of land are owned by someone. This, plus the very close regulation of firearms ownership, means that there are usually a limited number of people who are allowed to hunt on a given bit of land - often only one (who may take guests or clients, depending on the precise arrangement). This has the beneficial effect that you usually have complete confidence that you are the only person out hunting that day on that land - so there is very little risk of getting shot by mistake (and we don't have to wear blaze orange). It also means that stalking, with the exception of Highland stalking (in the company of a ghillie) is generally a solitary persuit.

    Second, the seasons are generally much, much longer. In the case of roe deer, one or other sex is ALWAYS in season (ie. you can shoot a roe deer any day of the year). Even red deer are in season for at least a few months. I actually think this has a very positive effect: rather than leadin to a mad frenzy during the few open weeks when everyone and his cousin is out blasting at anything that moves, you can take your time and go back over and over, getting to know the ground and the deer. Better still, you're under no real pressure to shoot, and can feel happy passing up takeable shots because the beast might not be quite right (wrong age, size etc) or conditions not ideal (placement not quite right, safety not spot on), in the full knowledge that you can come back in a few weeks/months and have another go.

    Third, this is a very, very crowded little island, so there isn't really anything remotely approaching 'wilderness'. With the exception of some of the remoter parts of Scotland, you are always in earshot (and often eyeshot) of somebody. Neighbours, hikers, dog walkers, farmers, roads, houses, golf courses etc etc. You are also usually on small (<500 acre) bits of land, so have to be very aware of your boundaries and relations with neighbours. Hence the absolute obsession with safe backstops you will see on here. It really is alarmingly easy to put a bullet through someone's front window. Imagine you're hunting in right in the suburbs of Charlston, say - that's what hunting in the UK is like almost ALL the time.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cootmeurer View Post
    Southern,

    Enfieldspares provided an excellent description. I too am an American that made my way over last summer for my first stalk (successful by the way). I will be heading back this fall to give the highlands a go.

    What I would add is that their licensing, seasons, and limits are quite different from ours. The deer on a property are not held in trust by to government for the people as we do here. They are the property of the landowner and therefore are managed as property. Conceivably, the owner could decide he wants no deer and attempt to eradicTe them all in a single day. Because these deer are property they may also be disposed of through the market, sold to a local butcher. Lastly, no license is required to stalk (the word hunt has connotations of hounds and horses) but the conscientious stalker goes after a voluntary status that demonstrates their skills and knowledge called DSC 1 or 2.

    All of that being said, I adapted quite quickly, an accomplished deer stalker will find themselves at home. Much of the farm land is what ours looked like in 1970, with many hedgerows and small wood lots breaking up the fields.
    Pretty much sums it up but just a technical point Cootmeurer - deer are not actually owned by the landowner. They are regarded in law as being without ownership, thus truly wild. The landowner or the person owning the stalking rights can however shoot them within the constraints of the law.
    The one thing to remember is that all land in this crowded country is owned by somebody.

    P.S. I don't wouldn't recommend Graham Downing's book either.
    Last edited by 8x57; 11-03-2014 at 06:52.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  10. #10

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