Make the most of your Deer Stalking through February
- Thursday, 20 January 2022
From February there is just a short time left to harvest the UK's largest species of deer.
I am often asked by beginners to the sport, when is my busy time of year? This is probably because many of those enquiring come from a bird shooting background, and naturally anticipate that in a similar fashion, there is a closed season for deer outside the autumn/winter months, much as there is for say Pheasant or Grouse.
To an extent they would be right in their assumption, and there is no doubt that autumn is the busiest season, however, it is one of the joys of our chosen field sport, that in the UK, one species of deer or another is in season 365 days a year.
With that said, for the larger species Fallow, Sika & Red, by February, there is but a short time left. Indeed, in Scotland it’s a mere two weeks until the season for Red hind closes.
Elsewhere in the UK we have a little longer, until the end of March for females, and the end of April for males. Albeit most stalkers will stop at the end of March, when the season finishes for hinds and does.
Either way, whilst the season marches on right through summer with the more diminutive Roebuck and Muntjac, this leaves precious little time left to get out and enjoy stalking the UK’s largest wild mammals, and this year in a first for the Capreolus Club, we have all three of the large species covered, with trips that have proven hugely popular for Exmoor Red at the end of January, Dorset Sika in early February and Fallow in March, for all of which we have seen massive demand.
As I have said before, deer stalking is fast increasing in popularity, with a sizeable uplift in enquiries from people wishing to engage in sourcing their own wild food. And whilst the smaller deer species are undoubtedly easier to extract from field to larder, it is the larger species that offer hunters, and those keen to stock up their freezers, with the opportunity to harvest a sufficient bounty of wild meat that will last until the season for the herding species resumes again on the 1st August.
It is my belief that the pandemic has caused people to look again at what the countryside has to offer and for those lucky enough to be able to get out hunting, one of those things is the ability to harvest a wild sustainable, locally sourced, non-intensively farmed food source.
If you’d like to re-engage with what you are eating, then why not consider learning to stalk. A great place to start is by taking the PDS1 Deer Stalking Certificate, which you can do easily online via the UK Shooting & Hunting Academy: deer-stalking-course
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe & Fallow Buck, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Red Stag & Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
Off Season in England & Wales: Roebuck.
In Season in Scotland: Sika Hind, Red Hind and Fallow Doe until 15th Feb only. Fallow Buck & Roe Doe remain in season throughout February.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag, Sika Stag & Roebuck. Also Red & Sika Hind and Fallow Doe from 16th February.
(Peter Jones - Editor)