Deer stalking advice and Research for film script

Mr Venkman

New Member
Hello there, I am a script writer who is currently researching for a film I am writing which incorporates elements of deer stalking in the narrative.

I have pretty much next to no knowledge in deer stalking or hunting and was hoping perhaps some of the members of this forum might be able to offer me some advice and answer a few
questions for me in the early stages of my research?

Although the film I am writing is not specifically about deer stalking, it does incorporate it in the story and I want to maintain an air of authenticitiy and believability in the script.

Currently the premise involves a father arranging a weekend for him and his two sons to hunt deer in a forest somewhere in the UK.

What I need to know is :

Are there any specific areas of dense woodland in the UK home to deer (particuarly Red Deer - to me these seem the most iconic) where licenesed shooters can stalk and hunt?
Is it possible for people to hunt and shoot deer unattended or must they always be accompanied by a supervisor?
Do people use non-sighted shotguns when shooting deer or are scoped rifles only permitted?


The characters in the film would be coming from a quite privleged upbringing and the hunt would be somewhat of a tradition for them.
Ideally they would live in a cabin in the forest or on the edge of the forest and they would be isolated from the rest of the population with nature only for company.

In the script I want to incorporate scenes where three or four of them could venture out into the forest unattended with shotguns and hunt any animal and be able to bring it
back to the house for dinner that evening. Eventually they would track a prize stag in the forest and part of the conclusion would revolve around hunting the animal.
There would be an air of exclusivity about what they are doing as in it might not be the way everyone hunts and stalks but they have the money to afford more private
circumstances if that makes sense.


Any feedback at all would be much appreciated, I apologise if my questions are a bit vague!

I would be greatful for any help at all,

Many thanks!
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
Under normal circumstances it is not legal to shoot deer with a shotgun so given your description it is likely a rifle would be used.

Almost all stalkers in the present day stalk with a telescopic sight on their rifle - there are a large number of advantages and very few disadvantages so it would be extremely unusual to shoot deer using a rifle without a telescopic sight. On the other hand it is not illegal to shoot deer using the "open" sights (i.e. the metal V shaped rear sight and front post you sometimes see mounted on a rifle barrel) it is just rather unusual or uncommon in recent times.
 

Claret_Dabbler

Well-Known Member
Does the deer stalking element of this film have to be set in England? It would seem to me that it would be better / more appropriate to set these stalking scenes in Scotland. If you are trying to portray a well heeled family with private estates, servants etc and involved in stalking, then a Scottish lodge would fit the bill.

From a purely practical point of view, if you need to get scenes on film of a party stalking, and possibly shooting deer, it will be much easier to achieve this on the open hill in Scotland rather than in dense woodland in southern England.

The other question that comes to mind is the period for this film. If this is to be a film set in the current day, then all rifles for stalking should be scoped. Shotguns are not used for deer. If this is an historical piece, set prior to say the 1950's, then it is much more likely that an un-scoped rifle might be used, though scopes were pretty common from the late 40's onwards.
 

laphroaig

Well-Known Member
Hello there, I am a script writer who is currently researching for a film I am writing which incorporates elements of deer stalking in the narrative.

I have pretty much next to no knowledge in deer stalking or hunting and was hoping perhaps some of the members of this forum might be able to offer me some advice and answer a few
questions for me in the early stages of my research?

Although the film I am writing is not specifically about deer stalking, it does incorporate it in the story and I want to maintain an air of authenticitiy and believability in the script.

Currently the premise involves a father arranging a weekend for him and his two sons to hunt deer in a forest somewhere in the UK.

Sounds like a nice experience for the gentleman ,

What I need to know is :

Are there any specific areas of dense woodland in the UK home to deer (particuarly Red Deer - to me these seem the most iconic) where licenesed shooters can stalk and hunt?

Most areas that contain Wild Red Deer in dense woodland are either found in Scotland, The Inner and Outer Hebrides, The Lake District. And to a Lesser degree the southern counties of England
Is it possible for people to hunt and shoot deer unattended or must they always be accompanied by a supervisor?
Do people use non-sighted shotguns when shooting deer or are scoped rifles only permitted?


First part of your question in respect to shooting deer unattended, Unless the person involved is a current firearm certificate holder with an open authority to use a firearm I dont think so, There will be further restrictions in respect to qualifications as to does the person hold a DSC2 that most land owners today insist as a requirement to stalk unacompanied

The characters in the film would be coming from a quite privleged upbringing and the hunt would be somewhat of a tradition for them.
Ideally they would live in a cabin in the forest or on the edge of the forest and they would be isolated from the rest of the population with nature only for company.

In the script I want to incorporate scenes where three or four of them could venture out into the forest unattended with shotguns and hunt any animal and be able to bring it

Shotguns are not allowed in stalking deer under normal circumstances although may be used for dispatch or by some persons where deer are causing damage with correct sized ball loads.
back to the house for dinner that evening. Eventually they would track a prize stag in the forest and part of the conclusion would revolve around hunting the animal.
There would be an air of exclusivity about what they are doing as in it might not be the way everyone hunts and stalks but they have the money to afford more private
circumstances if that makes sense.


Any feedback at all would be much appreciated, I apologise if my questions are a bit vague!

I would be greatful for any help at all,

Many thanks!
Hope this Helps
Alan
 
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Dovebob

Well-Known Member
Mr V,

This sounds a fascinating project and I am sure I won't be the only person on here who will look forward to the finished article. One of my favourite films is "A River Runs Through It". It isn't a film about fly fishing, but as a fly fisherman I love it as its a great story and most of the fishing sequences are pretty authentic.

If you are so incligned and your budget will extend to it, I would suggest you go out with a pro stalker. You will learn a huge amount about the practice and tradition of stalking.

I am a novice so I can't offer to take you out, but I would if I were able.

Best of luck with it.

Cheers,

Bob
 

devilishdave

Well-Known Member
I am not a toff but I imagine one might use an expensive scoped double rifle. I would also expect them to have a gillie who knows the land irespective of their competance and a pony man to extract the shot animals.

Dave
 

Rum Baba

Well-Known Member
The father in your script would be an experienced stalker (if the outing is a family tradition) - he could therefore shoot on land he owns with guns (shotguns and rifles) that he has a licence for.

Which would cover you to include them shooting game for the pot. We work a mentor system for stalking in this country. A novice has to be taken out by an experienced stalker and their FAC restricted

accordingly-the father would be the supervisor. As for the hunting cabin, a Scottish setting might cover it in an old growth/Caledonian forest. but estates up there are usually run as going concerns- Fly Fishing,

Driven Shooting and Deer Stalking run for paying guests. So they'd be unlikely to be up there alone. If you set it in England - Devon or the New Forest - where a wealthy family might have a second home /

Get-away cottage with a large block of land around it, you would then be in the right part of the country for very large lowland Red Stags - much bigger than on the open Scottish hill. As has been pointed out

scoped rifles are the norm but nothing illegal in an open sighted rifle - could be an heirloom and used as a rights of passage ?
 
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limulus

Well-Known Member
The father in your script would be an experienced stalker (if the outing is a family tradition) - he could therefore shoot on land he owns with guns (shotguns and rifles) that he has a licence for.

Which would cover you to include them shooting game for the pot. We work a mentor system for stalking in this country.NO WE DONT! A novice has to be taken out by an experienced stalker and their FAC restricted NO IT DOESNT

accordingly-the father would be the supervisor. As for the hunting cabin, a Scottish setting might cover it in an old growth/Caledonian forest. but estates up there are usually run as going concerns- Fly Fishing,

Driven Shooting and Deer Stalking run for paying guests. So they'd be unlikely to be up there alone. If you set it in England - Devon or the New Forest - where a wealthy family might have a second home /

Get-away cottage with a large block of land around it, you would then be in the right part of the country for very large lowland Red Stags - much bigger than on the open Scottish hill. As has been pointed out

scoped rifles are the norm but nothing illegal in an open sighted rifle - could be an heirloom and used as a rights of passage ?
Never believe all you are told on the interweb!
 

Harry mac

Well-Known Member
I'm surprised no one's asked how the stalking part of the story will be portrayed. Will it be from the angle of a quaint family tradition in a likeable, well heeled family, or will it be just one more damning trait illustrated in a character no one could like?
 

dave 67

Well-Known Member
Originally Posted by Mr Venkman
Currently the premise involves a father arranging a weekend for him and his two sons to hunt deer in a forest somewhere in the UK
Is it possible for people to hunt and shoot deer unattended or must they always be accompanied by a supervisor?
Do people use non-sighted shotguns when shooting deer or are scoped rifles only permitted?


First part of your question in respect to shooting deer unattended, Unless the person involved is a current firearm certificate holder with an open authority to use a firearm I dont think so, There will be further restrictions in respect to qualifications as to does the person hold a DSC2 that most land owners today insist as a requirement to stalk unacompanied
You don't need open certificate to shoot on your own or DSC 1, you just need the land to be cleared for the calibre you want to use by the chief constable of that force area and have lawful authority from the holder of the sporting rights.Slightly different in Scotland as I believe they don't use the land clearance system the same as England and Wales,PSNI don't know the way they work.

Holding DSC 2, land owners don't insist on this lot of Forestry owners do for the lease holder amongst other criteria, still not a requirement to stalk alone.
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
Get the season right. So many films that portray shooting make mistakes with the season, having parties shooting pheasant in the summer for instance. Research the actual permitted shooting periods for the deer that you intend the stalkers to shoot.
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
Just book yourself a stalk on stags in Scotland. Go with the stalker, use an estate rifle, he won't let you shoot live quarry until he's happy with your shooting, get the feel of how it would be and what goes on.
The time of year in Scotland would be September to mid October for stags & probably cost around £1000/1200 all in for a day.
i.e. stag, tip, accom., fuel/food, etc. maybe a bit less.

There are woodland stags in England & Scotland, big ones too, but IMO the more authentic atmosphere would probably be a Scottish estate, with open hill stags.

Probably 99.9% of all deer shot are with rifles (That's a guess). While a few may be shot with a rifle using 'Open' sights, by far the majority will be shot using a scoped rifle. Shooting deer at night is not permitted, other than by specific license. The law is an hour before dawn and an hour after dusk.....that is a shooting day.

It is perfectly feasible for your character to have a firearm certificate open for deer stalking for the purposes of film and for the holder to allow his sons to use his authorised rifle to shoot a deer 'In the presence of the certificate holder'. (None of which necessarily needs to be referred to)
So it would not be out of place for the father to take his sons to shoot a stag, whether in England or Scotland, forest or hill.
However, he can't just go anywhere to shoot a stag......it must be on land where he has permission to shoot deer, be it his own land or leased with shooting rights, or visiting an estate as a private/commercial guest.

On commercial estates he would always be accompanied by a stalker or a ghillie at least (They would carry the rifle). With private rights to shoot, he may go alone/with sons.
Best of luck. Cheers, :tiphat:
 
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JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
There has to be a mini series in the answers so far :D BDS or BASC should make an educational video along the lines of the answers so far, I'm sure getting extras would not be a problem!

John
 

Rum Baba

Well-Known Member
Mentors - I didn't say that this was the law, i was trying to put accepted good practice in line with his story.

Restrictions - I'd like to meet the novice stalker who gets handed an open ticket at first time of asking!....on second thoughts, no I wouldn't.!

Try not to read the posts to closely Limulus, You might understand and not have anything to complain about...
 

limulus

Well-Known Member
Not complaining at all Rum Baba, simply pointing out that we dont require mentors nor do we have to have restrictions on our licenses related to mentors.
 

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