I am a complete deer stalking novice and want to get my general knowledge & terminology up to speed. Can anyone recommend a good book that will cover all the species of deer & give an introduction to the sport?
A great question. Certainly I'd go along with the recommendation for the Graham Downing book, which has just gone to a new edition, as well as the Richard Prior book on roe. If you have muntjac where you stalk, you can't go far wrong with Charles Smith-Jones book:
For an exhaustive look at the law relating to deer, get hold of "Deer: Law and Liabilities", by Charlie Parkes and John Thornley. I found this very useful for my DSC1 and after.
For an insight on deer management, you should look out for "Deer Management: Quality in Southern England" by Dominic Griffith. I wouldn't agree necessarily with 100% of what he writes, but he's a hugely experienced deer manager and his book contains some very good insights into deer management practice.
Finally, if you want to read stalking tales and experiences, then check out the books by Richard Prior (Humble Pie is good), Peter Carne, Ian Alcock, Leo McNally and - more recently - John Dryden. I thought the latters recent book "Talking Stalking" was very good and stands shoulder to shoulder with the others mentioned above.
For rifle shooting, Robin Marshall-Ball's book is good, or anything by Jack O'Connor.
The great thing about stalking is that there are loads of books out there on associated subjects - optics, reloading, butchery, snipers and sniping, dogs for deer tracking, animal tracks & signs, rifle accuracy. If you are ever looking for anything specific, let me know!
A book called "Field Guide to British Deer" (ISBN 0-632-00978-0) was recommended to me when I first started stalking, and excellent advise it was too. It's only a small inexpensive pocket sized book but provides a wealth of essential information. I believe it was obtainable from both "BASC" and "The British Deer Society" at one time. Other books that I have found very useful and enjoyable are "Woodland Stalking" by Peter Carne (ISBN 1-85310-856-1) and a no nonsense book by Kenneth Whitehead the title of which I have forgotten, but the book is aimed at the novice stalker. I think that most stalkers in the UK would also be advised to obtain a copy of "Deer: Law and Liabilities" (ISBN 1-84037-096-3). I know it doesn't give information on deer but it can keep you out of a lot of trouble!!
Great suggestions by all, and if you want to save a few quid then have a look on ebay in the non fiction section, it often has all the books mentioned. I have found some good deals on there and have also found some hard to find titles.