Just starting out. Asking for some guidance!

Evening,

I was wondering if I could get some advice for starting out as a complete beginner. Im based in Bristol and would like to find some stalkers that wouldn't mind me tagging along to gain some experience and knowledge before I hope to my DSC1.

Would this be the best way to start?

Sorry about being so vague....but I have to start somewhere! :)

Thanks
 

Sampo

Well-Known Member
Book in a few paid stalks, see if you like it, get to meet some people who stalk, join a shooting club, volunteer as a beater at the local shoot, get a FAC, get used to waking up early, working while tired, get dirty and cold, learn some new swear words and look it up as a 5 year plan but could be sooner. It takes time to get used to a lot of things but paid stalks gives you a good flavour of the real thing. Also it depends on if you are planning to be a recreational staker or take it up as a profession. I am sure the more experienced here would have a lot more to say. All the best.
 

Noeyedear

Active Member
Try to find a guide who will take the time to teach and explain rather than one that will just show you deer. My old guide was excellent and taught me everything I know. Having said that everyday on the deer is a school day no matter how "experienced" you are!

It might be worth speaking to Mark Curtis from A1 Decoy. They have a syndicate and I think (not 100%) sure that they take members who want to learn.
 
Book in a few paid stalks, see if you like it, get to meet some people who stalk, join a shooting club, volunteer as a beater at the local shoot, get a FAC, get used to waking up early, working while tired, get dirty and cold, learn some new swear words and look it up as a 5 year plan but could be sooner. It takes time to get used to a lot of things but paid stalks gives you a good flavour of the real thing. Also it depends on if you are planning to be a recreational staker or take it up as a profession. I am sure the more experienced here would have a lot more to say. All the best.
Thanks Sampo for the advice!

I will have a look at some paid shoots near me and also look into the other advice you have mentioned.

By trade, Im a private chef and have worked at a fair few hunting lodges in Scotland and Devon. But thats mainly for pheasant shoots etc.... Id be possibly looking into making it a profession whilst also using the Vension for work and supplying people as I have experience in butchery also.

Im only really interested in shooting deer as I understand the population has exploded in recent years so Im thinking more about the environment.
 
Try to find a guide who will take the time to teach and explain rather than one that will just show you deer. My old guide was excellent and taught me everything I know. Having said that everyday on the deer is a school day no matter how "experienced" you are!

It might be worth speaking to Mark Curtis from A1 Decoy. They have a syndicate and I think (not 100%) sure that they take members who want to learn.
Thanks for that, I will look Mark up.

I guess it would not hurt posting on here looking for local shooters who would not mind taking me under their wing!
 

Sampo

Well-Known Member
Thanks Sampo for the advice!

I will have a look at some paid shoots near me and also look into the other advice you have mentioned.

By trade, Im a private chef and have worked at a fair few hunting lodges in Scotland and Devon. But thats mainly for pheasant shoots etc.... Id be possibly looking into making it a profession whilst also using the Vension for work and supplying people as I have experience in butchery also.

Im only really interested in shooting deer as I understand the population has exploded in recent years so Im thinking more about the environment.
If I were you, I would reach out to the hunting lodges as its a great way to get going. I am sure someone will be out there to help you or put you in touch with someone who can help. In parallel you may want to get started with some local stalkers who can provide the venison which can be converted into dishes or butchered for sale. Maybe a new range of frozen venison dishes might be a good thing to drive the venison prices up and to get more people interested in game meat, all of which could help with keeping the deer numbers managed. Once you have a network, you will be able to get more opportunities to go stalking or get permissions based on your network.
 

Noeyedear

Active Member
The problem is that stalking is a closely guarded commodity. People who have land (and arnt professional guides) are normally reluctant to take out people they don’t know. Land pinching is a massive issue. I’m not saying don’t try, you might get lucky but don’t expect too much.

Mark is great chap and I have shot with him previously so can vouch for him. The syndicate is great (I’m a member) with plenty of land.

There are plenty of guides about so best advice I can give is to get out with as many different ones as you can. You will soon learn who is good and who isn’t.
 
If I were you, I would reach out to the hunting lodges as its a great way to get going. I am sure someone will be out there to help you or put you in touch with someone who can help. In parallel you may want to get started with some local stalkers who can provide the venison which can be converted into dishes or butchered for sale. Maybe a new range of frozen venison dishes might be a good thing to drive the venison prices up and to get more people interested in game meat, all of which could help with keeping the deer numbers managed. Once you have a network, you will be able to get more opportunities to go stalking or get permissions based on your network.
Ok thanks Sampo,

Yes I do think its a shame that people tend to not eat Vension (and other game) as much as other meats. They are missing out!

I will have a search for some lodges for the up coming season :)
 
The problem is that stalking is a closely guarded commodity. People who have land (and arnt professional guides) are normally reluctant to take out people they don’t know. Land pinching is a massive issue. I’m not saying don’t try, you might get lucky but don’t expect too much.

Mark is great chap and I have shot with him previously so can vouch for him. The syndicate is great (I’m a member) with plenty of land.

There are plenty of guides about so best advice I can give is to get out with as many different ones as you can. You will soon learn who is good and who isn’t.
Understood. It would not be my intention to step on other peoples feet in anyway so thanks for pointing that out.

Ok I will get in touch with Mark and see what he thinks.

Just a quick question: when you are part of a syndicate and when shooting on syndicate land, what happens with the game thats shot? Is it taken away by the shooters? Or does the owner of the land sell/keep the game? (Sorry to ask such "noob" questions)
 

Noeyedear

Active Member
Oh god I wish there was an easy answer!

some of the land we have is directly leased to the syndicate. It’s free to go and anything you shoot is yours to keep.

some of the land is by way of a subsidised scheme. It varies from guide to guide but the syndicate generally pays some (if not all) of the stalking fee and puts something towards buying the carcass. As a general rule you pay £1 a lb.

There is also subsidised boar hunting with Mark or Barry. Boar can come in at anything up to 4/500lb so take a big wallet (and vehicle) if want to bring one back. I try to get out with Barry at least once a year and it costs me £60 a night plus the carcass cost
 

NullMac

Well-Known Member
Yes it is the best way to start. Just take pair of binos and do what he does. No pressure on shooting, gralloching etc, just look for some deer and get a feel.

That's what I did with some clay shooting mates. Not sure I was really intending to take it up as much as curious.
 
Oh god I wish there was an easy answer!

some of the land we have is directly leased to the syndicate. It’s free to go and anything you shoot is yours to keep.

some of the land is by way of a subsidised scheme. It varies from guide to guide but the syndicate generally pays some (if not all) of the stalking fee and puts something towards buying the carcass. As a general rule you pay £1 a lb.

There is also subsidised boar hunting with Mark or Barry. Boar can come in at anything up to 4/500lb so take a big wallet (and vehicle) if want to bring one back. I try to get out with Barry at least once a year and it costs me £60 a night plus the carcass cost
Thats great mate, you have been very helpful!

I will drop A1 decoy a message now to see what they can recommend and will ask to speak to Mark.

Cheers!!
 

Noeyedear

Active Member
And following on from what chanonrymac says, you don’t needs loads of kit! A decent pair of binoculars and a decent jacket and gloves are all you need to get started!
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Pay to go out with a professional stalker for a couple of outings. £80 to £100 per outing. You will get a feel for what stalking is about.

Get yourself booked on Level One course. It will educate you with regards to a certain extent on deer and the law, etc. It will also help when applying for an FAC. £300

Buying a rifle is not that expensive. Plenty of good second hand rifles about. I would look to paying about £800 to £1000 for a set up with a reasonable scope and moderator.
 
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