How to Start Deer Stalking
- Monday, 16 July 2018
Professional deer stalker Peter S Jones offers some guidance on how to get started in deer stalking.
At County Deer Stalking enquiries about how to start deer stalking in the UK are without doubt the most frequent enquiries that we receive. Despite the initial perception, that starting out is complicated and rather opaque, it is in fact a relatively straight forward process.
First of all, it is important to be frank with yourself about your current level of experience and knowledge of deer and firearms. Most people will have some understanding of deer and will know one end of a rifle from another, whether from shooting vermin with an airgun or shooting in the cadets, and this is all very valuable. However do not be inclined to overestimate your ability, there is a huge amount to learn when first starting deer stalking and you should approach it with an enquiring, open mind. The worst attitude to adopt is that you already know more than you do.
So, having decided that you want to start deer stalking and having been frank with yourself about your experience, the next thing to do is get stuck into some research. There are heaps of articles and videos on the internet, many of which will give you a valuable insight into what deer stalking is all about.
("Whatever your route into deer stalking, always remember that safety comes first and that your needs and ambitions come secondary to the welfare of the deer").
However, a word of warning, at this stage, in your initial enthusiasm, do not be tempted to rush out and buy a whole load of equipment, the epitome of; 'all the gear and no idea!' Wait until you understand better what it is that you need, otherwise you stand the risk of wasting your hard earned money. All you will require at this stage is a pair of binoculars if you already have them (do not rush out and get them) a pair of boots and some dark clothing suitable for the time of year.
Next, and once in theory you understand the difference between a Muntjac Doe and a Red Stag, and the meaning of words such as ‘scope’ and ‘gralloch’, it’s time to get on-line, find a deer stalking provider near you and pick up the phone.
Have a chat with the provider and make sure that you feel comfortable with them. Ask yourself if you are being dealt with professionally and only deal with people that are transparent about what they are offering. Remember, you get what you pay for. The worst-case scenario will be a provider that greets you with a grunt, thrusts a firearm in your hand and directs you to a high seat with the mumbled phrase: “I’ll be back in a few hours”, and then, if you are fortunate enough to safely and humanely shoot the right species of deer at the right time of year, your so called ‘guide’ returns, scratches his head and comes up with a price that you owe him in cash. This type of experience is likely to put you off ever returning and may put you off deer stalking all together.
Demand a transparent professional service from someone who is properly qualified and from whom you feel that you can learn. You will want ‘one to one’ tuition and guidance from the outset, to make sure that you become more knowledgeable and get into good habits from the start.
In order to achieve this, at ‘County Deer Stalking’ we recommend that you start off your journey into deer stalking by completing the ‘Proficient Deer Stalker Level 1’ (PDS1).
To carry out the course conveniently and easily online, you can do this via the 'Hunting Academy' huntingacademy.co.uk/course/deer-stalking-course
If the PDS1 is not your thing and you'd rather opt to carry out classroom based training the DSC1 is also excellent.
Whether you choose the PDS1 or DSC1 it is important that you complete an 'Accredited' course that has been approved, do not be tempted to waste time and money on a course that is not recognised.
If you opt to do the PDS1 course with 'County Deer Stalking' and assuming that you have managed to successfully complete the shooting test and multiple choice exam, you will walk away with a sound working knowledge of what deer stalking is all about and the confidence to be able to step out with a guide, safe in the knowledge that you will know what is required of you and how you should handle yourself when the big moment arrives. You will also finish this intensive one day course with a certificate that will be invaluable should you wish to progress to applying for your own firearms certificate.
Armed with your new-found knowledge, booking stalks thereafter is easy. Depending on the time of year, you can hunt a variety of different species throughout the year by simply calling the office to book an outing (See below for contact details). We stalk 365 days a year over thousand of acres of beautiful countryside.
Alternatively, if you want to take things further, and for those that want a little more, you may be interested in joining a deer stalking club, through which you will be offered ongoing guidance from experienced professionals who are on hand throughout the year to offer advice and support. A club will also provide a safe and supportive environment from which you can learn and progress in your chosen pursuit. Membership also has other benefits including assistance with your application for a firearms certificate when you feel ready, along with advice and suggestions on getting the right kit.
At 'County Deer Stalking' our official members club is the ‘capreolusclub’ which has proven for many to be a great environment from which to enjoy and get the most from your deer stalking. Deer Stalking can be a solitary sport and so having the opportunity to meet and chat with other members is also a fabulous way to find out more about all that deer stalking has to offer.
Whatever your route into deer stalking, always remember that safety comes first and that your needs and ambitions come secondary to the welfare of the deer.
Or to find out more about the benefits of joining the Capreolus Club click here: membership-benefits
Alternatively, to read more about some of the legislation that affects deer stalking in the UK please follow this link: deer-stalking-uk-legislation