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Thread: BASC Arran Stalking

  1. #1

    BASC Arran Stalking

    I was just wondering how many if any have been on the above stalking organised by the BASC.
    I went on November and was planning on doing a write up of the week so as to give any people planning on going in future years a heads up in addition to the info you receive.

    Is that of interest to anyone? (save me putting pen to paper if no-one is!)

  2. #2
    I am interested in. There seems to be quite a lot different opinions. It would be great to read a good write up and see some photos


  3. #3
    Posts on current stalking on Arran are always going to be of interest to me & a pal, as we have logged many visits to the Arran beats, my own visits started on the cessation of the Galloway scheme.

  4. #4

    I went for the 1st time this year, November 16th. So finnbear270 if you were there on those dates could you remind me what you look like?


    I was impressed with the scheme. The organisation was very good and the hotel was great. We were there when Cumbria had the floods and the weather certainly was not in our favour.

    We had three opportunities and for various reasons, moving out of site, not a clean shot etc. we didn't make a cull.

    It is very hard going and the terrrain will test the fittest of people. But the personal acheivement rewards are great.

    You really do have to search for the deer and sitting in your car expecting to see a deer is not the way.

    The funny thing for us was having beat F, every night we had the opportunity of texting the FC guy "F-OFF" as we finihsed the beat and were off the hill.

    If you have never stalked in the highlands then this will be a good starter for you.

    Bergundy 110 Double Cab.

  5. #5
    No Colin, the usual suspects no longer stalk the Isle of Arran reasons for this being so remain a private affair Steve.

  6. #6
    I was there Nov 16th also.

    I booked a week for four of us in "Hind week 4"
    For info contact:
    Andrea Green
    PA to Deer Management Department
    Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL
    Telephone 01244 573 047, Fax 01244 573 013

    Booking was very straightforward, pay your 250 send details of DSC1 (required) and FAC (required), calibre being used or if estate rifle required.

    We received a welcome pack with details of all the apsects of the week ahead. One thing I would say is that whilst you are told that all stalking is done in the southern half of the island, it would have been nice to know exactly where the beats were with some stalking notes, grid references etc, even to allow people to have a look at beats on Google Earth or maps.
    This is fully unsupervised stalking afterall. The biggest challenge to any stalk is local knowledge and knowing the land (or not).

    Accomodation is not provided and we elected for a house rather than the numerous hotels. informing them in advance we were staying on the West of the island we were allocated two beats nearby. (two to a beat).

    The stalking is in theory split into eight half days.
    Monday morning is taken up by a safety and logistics briefing and the range assesment and all parties are expected back in by Friday Lunchtime in case the two course operators need to collect carcases in the afternoon.

    In my opinion the briefing could have been done a bit quicker and as we are all there with rifles it would have been nice to have some provision for rifle security whilst in the briefing.
    Health and Safety dominated the briefing as you can expect.
    Off to the range which was a Forestry Commision range within one of the spare beats North of the string road. (everything else is South)
    Well laid out and with a hut and rifle bench, all rifles were tasked with three in the bull at 100yds, standard 4 inch bull.
    After this we were paired up if not already paired and allocated a beat.
    Aerial beat map photos are provided and 10-15mins was spent with each pair "walking them through the beat" using the map. This was relatively comprehensive but didn't go over areas of actual deer sighting or even deer shot previously which would be helpful.

    Whilst we were told that most beats have open ground, the majority of the beats are predominantly forest if not exclusively forest. As they are Forestry Commission land it should come as not surprise but I did get the feeling that they brush over this point deliberately as I had asked quite clear questions before booking.

    Then you are off on your own. by this point it was around 12noon Monday.

    We allocated to stay as a four and use this day primarily as a recon day.

    We were given two beats on the North and East of the Island close to our accomodation covered with these maps.

    The maps detail access roads, paths, quad tracks and high seats where applicable. Using these in conjuction with an OS map is advisable as whilst the photo shows a clearing the OS map shows a "Bog or Lake"

    It is fair to say that the weather in Arran last year was shocking.
    Our host told us that they had 7 weeks continous rain from August.
    The entire island was at least 2 inches deep in water wherever you went.

    This made stalking quietly in the lower areas and in the forests very difficult as every movement was accompanied by a squelch, not always outside the boots!. The weather the week we were there was also very bad, Wednesday was a complete write off and Thursday afternoon also fog bound. An example:

    Of the 8 pairs that were there that week only one hind was shot all week. the chap who shot it had sat in a high seat for seven hours until one happend to walk by.

    We had mixed luck and unfortunately the shortage of full days due to the weather meant that when we did have the wind and the knowledge of the ground worked out then we ran out of time.
    With consent of the Forestry Stalker we elected to access one of our beats using the margin of another spare beat which would have been much more successful giving us access to the back side, open and wider area of the beat given the wind. We saw a small party that day but were due back in Broddick to hand back all the "Safety gear" and were not able to continue.

    There were undoubtedly deer there throughout the week, fresh tracks and signs in all locations and plenty of deer visible on the open hill away from the forestry land when travelling around the island. My concern is that when asked about how they came up with the cull numbers from a population that is clearly seldom seen in the open the Forestry stalker didn't really have an answer.
    My experience of Foresty cull practices in other areas of Scotland is fairly simple. If deer are in the fenced forest they are shot. Any and all and throughout the year. There may well not be as many deer as they think....difficult to estimate a hidden population.

    Whilst the forest areas are open and not behind deer fences on the whole the deer have no reason to come out as there is plenty of cover and food in the forests. This presents a very challenging stalking environment and one that favours the seated patient stalker over those that want to stalk over open ground or through trees that you can actually see through. I would say to anyone with a dog that they should take it. Her nose was invaluable in pointing out deer that were smelt but not seen.

    I will go again and will be more prepared this time. I would say that it would suit someone who is prepared to draw a blank, through lack of deer, foul weather or difficult terrain; those that are accomplished forest stalkers or happy to sit in a high seat for extended lengths of time; or those that are just getting into stalking and want to go stalking with someone more experienced but do not want to pay big ticket prices just to gain some experience.

    All in all an interesting trip.

    hope that helps

  7. #7
    Most kills made that I have been party to, or heard on other beats were made on more "open" ground on the tops, this is not to say none were made in the rides or tighter cover, as on one visit my then partner dropped an Imperial on the first afternoon in a very narrow ride, & on a more recent visit, walking directly away from the firing point at Machrie not more than 180 yds in, a Stag followed by a goodly sized Hind, bounded across the ride in front of Mike, who had his chin on the floor cos we drew the beat with all the noise on!

  8. #8
    I was shown a picture of one of the largest red stags I have seen in 25 years that was shot the month before us.
    enormous forest living beast! may have been an Imperial.

    was that your friends?

  9. #9
    We weren't there that week Bewsh.Steve.

  10. #10
    I won a week there off this site when they run the march and shoot in dec 08 and i was on the same beats as the ones in your pics of the maps. I was there for only 4 days due to other stalking commitments but i shot deer on both beats and the weather was very bad with loads and loads of snow.
    It was the same week as finnbear270 was there.

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