New Stalker after tips


Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I'm going on my first deer stalk in a months time and with a little bit of luck, I might have some venison in the freezer for Christmas. Though I do not expect success, and I actually feel it more likely I will be leaving the premises empty handed, what tips would you give to someone to help increase the chance of having a deer in the larder? Any pointers about etiquette (if there is any regarding deer stalking) beyond general gun safety such as muzzle discipline and so on would be greatly appreciated.


Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk


Well-Known Member
First of all, think positive! Your biggest problems are going to be a) carrying the monster you've shot back to the truck, and b) how you're going to fit all that venison in your freezer :thumb:

Seriously though, dress appropriately (I like to wear a tie) listen to what the guide has to say, don't feel you need to fill any silences, and just keep your eyes and ears open. Pay close attention to the wind, don't feel you HAVE to take any shot (if it doesn't feel right just take your time to get settled until it does), and most of all enjoy yourself!!! And best of luck


Well-Known Member
Stay close behind your guide, if the sticks go up it’s probably because a deer is close at hand and there’s nothing more frustrating than looking over your shoulder to discoverthe client is 10 paces behind and closi gthat gap will probably see the deer off....
i have personally never found a need to wear a tie, tad overkill for the occasion? I’d much prefer to see someone in dull, base colours and materials which won’t make lots of noise etc. It is worth checking before with the guide if camo is accptible as not everyone likes it!
Stay calm, follow instruction, but as above, if you don’t like the feel of a shot, there’s no shame in passing it up. Far better that than to spoil your first stalking outing with a memory of a wounded deer.


Well-Known Member
As above - only take a shot you're comfortable with. No shame in saying you're not comfortable - whether it's your 1st or 101st deer!

I've never worn a tie stalking, especially not woodland / lowland stuff. Sometimes I'll wear tweeds on the hill depending on the venue, but never felt the need for tie.

Make sure you're clear on pricing before you head out. Is there going to be a fee for the monster fallow buck you stumble across??

Have a chat with the stalker before you head out and understand how he operates, what he expects and what the broad plan for the outing is. Does he want you loaded and safe or magazine in but nothing in the chamber etc? Will you be sitting tight on the edge of a woodland (plenty of clothes) or slogging up the side of a glen (very few clothes)!

Keep your eyes open - 2 sets are better than one, and don't assume your guide will always see deer first.


Well-Known Member
Good luck for your first outing!

Just a few thoughts from me;
- Agree with deerstalker.308 about staying close to your guide and if the sticks go up, get the rifle up smoothly and quietly.
- Wear dark coloured drab clothing. You dont need camo but anything in dark greens, browns or even blue if you dont have green or brown will be fine.
- Bring binos if you have them and use them regularly.
- Walk quietly making sure you dont shoof-shoof-shoof your feet through leaf litter or sticks. The noise carries a surprisingly long way! Your guide will keep an eye on the wind direction as well I'm sure but the idea is always to have the wind in your face.
- Wearing a buff and gloves is a good idea at first light. I find that ones skin can almost glow in the dark at times and the gloves/buff combo breaks up the shape of your face and hands which otherwise would be easy to spot and a sure sign you were there.

I also agree about taking the shot. Dont rush it, take your time and make sure you are comfortable. Squeeze off the shot, dont snatch at the trigger and if you're not comfortable dont shoot.


Well-Known Member
Tips, Stay close to your guide so communication is easy. Safety Safety safety. I have guided in a guy by crawling to a position to get a shot only to look behind and see his rifle pointing up my behind. He shot that one OK but moments later he had a ND as he was getting ready to take a shot at a second beast. So muzzle awareness is important. Try to assess how much time is available if you get any opportunities and make the most of that time. Sometimes you have to be quick. If you have any physical problems or are not good at shooting from certain positions tell your guide as soon as you meet. I had a client who shot fine at the target but during the week he messed up a few shots. He only told me at the end of the week he had a problem with balance and found it hard to shoot when standing. Tell your guide how much experience you have. Enjoy the whole experience and learn as much as you can from your guide. Your guide should enjoy getting you a beast or two. I love getting a first for clients whether its their first deer, first sika or first red etc. If you are taking sticks practice getting into shooting positions and dry fire. I hope it's successful and good luck

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
Assu[FONT=&quot]ming you are going with a guide...? : Stay very close to the guide, do what he says, don't talk or ask questions while 'stalking into' a deer; no unexpected fast movements while stalking; no shouting ('I CAN SEE ONE! THERE!!!' ) ; try to go out with as objective to SEE and OBSERVE deer rather than to SHOOT deer. (Shooting one would be a bonus, don't bank on it). Good luck and enjoy.[/FONT]


Well-Known Member
Re the wearing of ties, I generally go dressed as a pirate or as Napoleon, but any historical figure will do. Check with the estate beforehand for advice on this.

More seriously, as has been said, stick close to your guide, do what he says (but don't be pressured into a shot you don't like), and keep quiet. Most of all, have fun!

Enjoy it and let us know how you get on.

Kindest regards,

Wear clothes you are comfortable in and those that do not rustle when you walk, a hat /cap is a good idea and on some occasions a mask/veil will help if you have to creep into a shooting position. Be guided as to what to do by your stalker,he is as keen for you to get the shot as much as you are to take it.Try to stay calm on your aim and still, as this will improve your result just as you do on 'paper'. All the best and enjoy your first of many outings to come!



Well-Known Member
Thanks for the fast replies, will take everything on board.

Erik - It will be with a guide, I'm not fortunate enough to have access to land which would house suitable deer reliably - maybe one day!
Sh1kar - I believe it to be lowland/woodland

I'm sure I'll have suitable clothing, I definitely have all the gear and no idea for the time being :eek::lol: Just prior to joining this forum the Sportsman Gun Centre had a sale on clothing, so I snapped up a healthy amount of Deerhunter kit for a very healthy 70% discount - I'm sure it will not be pristine specimens of clothing but better than spending £250 on a jacket for the time being :)

Didn't think about getting myself a pair of binos, I'll grab a pair before I go on this hunt. If anyone has an entry level pair of binos to recommend not just for deer hunting but for general shooting purposes that'd be appreciated!


Well-Known Member
If anyone has an entry level pair of binos to recommend
You've opened a can of worms now, lol! You'll get about 50 recommendations of the 'best' ones to get! I use a pair of Minox 8x42 and they seem to be pretty decent. Not too eye-watering in price, either.

Oh, and you'll need a tie. D'you have a tie? :lol:


Well-Known Member
Woodland stalking? Walk in the guides footsteps one step behind, don’t worry about seeing the deer first, he’ll do that and you’ll at least not break any twigs if he’s already stood on them.
be calm....there’s no your guide implicitly...there ARE deer out there and they’re far better equipped to see-hear-smell you before you see them.
before setting out check with the guide what you actually need with you...I.e. don’t take all the paraphernalia you might take if you were going out alone


Well-Known Member
When one is spotted and you are looking for it, don't expect to see a whole animal, most likely you will see ears twitching, a backend or the Y of a deers head. From then on super slow, keep aware of its gaze/body language (relaxed or alert). Use the guide to shield you from the deers view till you prepare for the shot. If its a Roe and it legs it, don't relax. Good chance it will stop for a look back and present another opportunity - be backdrop aware still
Before I go into the hunt cut a piece of towel and put it in your smock pocket. This is to wipe the lens in drizzle and I promise, fingers and wet clothing cannot clear a water of a scope at the very second you are trying to shoot.

Zero your rifle to the expanding ammunition you will be using on the day. Shoot 100m, 200m and 300m to see how your round performs.

Bring a deer call and if you are out for sika a simple fox caller (about £5) is absolutely invaluable this time of year. Blow it, wait and BELIEVE!

Please take this on board:

1). You will start out keen as mustard in the first hour. Keep thinking "The deer are here, the deer are here, I'm ready". Even after the 4th or 5th hour! So don't be looking for the perfect deer silhouette but instead moving brown, greys or red hues. Along hedgerows, under overhanging branches, out in the open and in along gulleys. There is no rule book and if the sun comes out it can push them far out into open ground even at 3pm in the day. Every stalk is different and you couldn't write the script honestly.

2). Keep walking with this in mind....when you see a deer that is in season, you have a 3 second countdown to take the shot. If you are lucky you will have longer. so deer spotted, onto sticks, identify target, squeeze trigger to bite point, breath and release shot. If the deer runs before you shoot then bark as loud as you can and 80% of the time it will stop to have a last look. BE READY FOR IT!

3). Listen for the thump of the round hitting the deer and immediately mark the shot site. The exact position the deer was standing when you fired. Now take a rock and mark it where you shot from. Wait for several minutes.

4). Secure all equipment into pockets and approach deer ready to shoot again. Walk up to your deer with your sticks out in front of you and touch the deer's eye. If the deer wasn't where you shot it then look around for hair and blood. Note type of hair and blood and begin the track. Deer found and you are happy it is dead then please try the following (number 5)....

5). Take a moment to let your emotions calm, take some heather or grasses and place it in the deer's mouth and thank it for offering itself to you. Don't worry about feeling remorseful, it is perfectly natural. It is a beautiful animal and you will be in awe with the coat. Begin your gralloch but I will leave my comments there.

6). Tuck a ziplock sandwich bag into your pocket for the the liver. It is the same as most liver in being an acquired taste but a great meal when you get home and a true hunter's meal. You get to relax with a nice meal before doing any skinning or butchering later that evening as most times you will be so tired when you get home you won't want to butcher for a few hours.

7). A good sharp knife (small but razor sharp) that is not a lock knife. You do not need a lock failing while out on the hill. Been there and hospitals are hours away from deer country.

Equipment wise: Definitely a good face veil and green neoprene gloves (where accepted).
A good stick, I have used a single hazel stick with v at the top for years and you don't need to be out of pocket at all. Test your rifle on it before the shoot.

8). Don't leave your smock in the kitchen where you cook food and if it's your permission don't go walking across garage forecourts for a coffee before the stalk. Residues of petrol (I believe) are the worst if the wind changes and for the following stalks where deer start becoming spooked. For sika I make sure I don't walk in cow pats in lowland and then tramp it up into the hills. I don't even use shower gel the night before to minimise scent. I won't eat curries, drink alcohol (Im tee total so that is sorted) or coffee or have mint type sweets. I take scent minimisation really seriously in the field and although I am probably a 6ft ball of walking smelly danger to deer, I do what I can and it gives me peace of mind.

9). Try and stay off the wire (barbed wire that is) and don't be afraid to cough. Just cough if you need too. You never know what will lift its head.

10). Bring a bottle of water and a snickers bar. If I have ever reversed into something or made a mistake it is always when I am shattered after a long drag and trying to drive home. It poses more risk than being drunk. Honestly take the time out to rehydrate and get the sugars up so you arrive home in the same state as you left that morning.


One last thing.........this happens to me still...........DON'T EXPECT TO GET ANY SLEEP WHATSOEVER THE NIGHT BEFORE A STALK!

I use the insomnia to visualise and find that I am most times able to make a reality of the stalk I think about and I believes it improves performance time in terms of getting onto sticks.

Oh and if washing clothing don't use detergent, just wash with the powder drawer empty. In fact don't wash your smock but try and leave it to air in your shed or garage. Deer see the soap powder on your clothing as bright neon blue light (I have read this). Take your smock (weather dependent) off BEFORE you begin the gralloch.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
From recent newcomer to another....

When going into a high seat, get your warm kit on early. In the shade of a tree canopy, it gets cool quickly as the sun sets. And that isn't the time to be making noise sorting your clothing out. And organise your kit so you can put your hand on things in the dark.

Test your optics in low light. Find someoen with known good kit to compare against. Try them in the back garden at last light.
I was surprised at how poor some of my target shooting scopes were in twilight, when they were great when used in daylight.
(Also I was surprised at how good some lesser known optics could be. I found that the japanese 1970's binos, that grandad gave me when I was a kid, are pretty much equivilent in low light to the swarovski scope on my rifle. )

Practice range estimation and ask if guide what he/she agrees. I brought a cheep ebay range finder to help with that.

Choose an outer jacket that you can just bung in the washing machine, and doesn't need special cleaning. The gralloch is messier than you think. (Well messier than I thought. Especially the first ones. I got covered and I was only assisting.)
8). Don't leave your smock in the kitchen where you cook food and if it's your permission don't go walking across garage forecourts for a coffee before the stalk. Residues of petrol (I believe) are the worst if the wind changes and for the following stalks where deer start becoming spooked. For sika I make sure I don't walk in cow pats in lowland and then tramp it up into the hills. I don't even use shower gel the night before to minimise scent. I won't eat curries, drink alcohol (Im tee total so that is sorted) or coffee or have mint type sweets. I take scent minimisation really seriously in the field and although I am probably a 6ft ball of walking smelly danger to deer, I do what I can and it gives me peace of mind
If the wind is right it won't matter what you smell like if its wrong then you are fecked regardless the human smell is the one most disturbing to deer and apparently the strongest.
Avoiding using soap deodorant etc is pointless.
For me It all starts at home, this may seem obvious but I’ve seenit all.

Don’t have a skin full the night before, alcohol breath willresult in a cancelled stalk. (Not insinuating you’d do this, but some do)

Don’t use lots of deodorant and don’t use cologne/aftershavefull stop.

Make sure your clothes haven’t got washing powder and softenerscent. Wash them again with water only to get rid of the ‘lovely’ smell…..

Don’t slam the vehicle door when you arrive at yourdestination, usually the stalk starts right there.

Learn to whisper when talking to your guild.

Make sure you don’t have loose change and jingly keys inyour pockets.

Then you can move onto the rest of the good advice you havejust received.

Nothing to say you must wear a tie , but your guide probably will especially have booked with an estate just how we were taught all part of the etiquette of meeting the client properly dressed though the tie was usually dispensed with once we got started.