What makes a good stalk outing?
- Tuesday, 12 July 2022
We consider the factors that contribute to an enjoyable outings deer stalking.
What makes some stalk outings more enjoyable than others may come down to a number of factors.
(Above: Weather and scenery can play a large part)
The company of course, a good, relaxed friendship between client and guide, reduces the pressure on the guide and helps the client relax. Weather is another variable, as is the scenery. Another factor of course is whether the client is successful, however, the overriding factor is usually determined by the frequency of sightings.
At County Deer Stalking, to not see a deer is almost unheard of and very often we will see a number of species in a single outing. That said, we don’t keep our deer ‘tethered-up!’ Blanks do occasionally happen; however, such is the productivity of the grounds over which we stalk, that this occurs on just 2% of outings.
Of course, seeing a deer does not mean that one is shot, it needs to be in season and fit the cull plan. There are other factors to consider, like what the client is trying to achieve and making sure that the shot is safe and humane.
(Above: Sighting deer is perhaps the most significant feature of a good stalk)
Cost is another factor, as much as many people would like to squeeze the trigger on a medal-winning Roebuck, the cost of doing so may be prohibitive, or it may simply be that the clients main interest is the resulting venison and so the associated cost of a large trophy animal is simply not worth the added cost.
Above all else, I have learnt as a guide that it’s important to listen to your client and understand what they want. Some may wish to settle into a high-seat and others may want to stretch their legs. Some are on a budget and others may wish to be super selective about the species and quality. I have had some clients eager to learn and participate at every stage and others that like to hang back and just enjoy the experience.
Personally, when first meeting a client, I like to slow the pace down a bit, take some time to get to know them and understand what they want. It’s all good, there is no right or wrong.
As a guide, it’s also important to remember that many guys and girls who book stalk outings are living pressured lives and the so the rare opportunity to get out into the countryside is a chance to unwind and relax.
There is a lovely phrase which says, ‘the only thing in the woods that is in a hurry is man’. The deer are certainly in no hurry, so slowing the pace is invariably important not just from the perspective of success, but it also ensures that the client enjoys some quality time immersed in nature.
(Left: A humane, succesful kill is the icing on the cake)
For this reason, clients at county deer stalking tend to enjoy longer outings than the industry average. We find that around 3 hrs gives the client time to unwind and settle into the flow, whilst also providing ample time to ‘glass’ and potentially harvest a deer.
Finally, as a guide, its crucial to remember that whist it’s a job for me, the client is there for pleasure. Too often guides are focused on what they are trying to achieve and thereby put clients under pressure.
Being a stalking guide is about being customer focused. Yes, the wellbeing of the deer comes first and foremost, but the client’s enjoyment of the outing is also paramount.
If you’d like to learn how to stalk deer a great place to start is by taking the PDS1 Certificate. You can find out more about the course here: deer-stalking-course