Home > Intro > GUIDANCE NOTES FOR DEER STALKING IN SCOTLAND
Deer Stalking takes place on both upland and lowland areas of Scotland. Upland areas may include altitudes in excess of 2000ft above sea level, and at these altitudes the weather can change very quickly. At certain times of the year rain and flooding, high winds, ice and snow can be a significant risk.
Due to the nature of deer stalking, and the rough terrain that may be encountered, it can be a hazardous activity. Stalking may be undertaken on your own or more usually you will be accompanied by an estate stalker. He will guide you and you should listen carefully to any safety talk prior to or during the sporting activity. In the event of an emergency please seek immediate assistance from the stalker in the first instance. If you are stalking on your own, you should have notified a 3rd party of where you are going, and when they can expect your return. Carry a mobile phone with you, but be aware that coverage is not always available given the likely terrain.
* Assess the weather, wear suitable clothing and take additional layers of warm
clothing, as necessary, including hat and gloves.
* Take suitable clothing for the weather; this should normally include a waterproof
coat, leggings and headgear and an additional layer for colder conditions.
* Wear supportive walking boots, as the ground will be rocky, uneven and wet in
* Due to the nature of deer stalking, which may involve kneeling and crawling, you
may get wet. Consider taking spare clothing in the vehicle.
2. THE ENVIRONMENT
* Be aware that deer stalking can be a very strenuous activity, and a reasonable
degree of physical fitness is required.
* Seek assistance from the stalker if you have difficulty crossing a burn, negotiating
steep banks, rocky ground, gullies and fences.
* Use gates whenever possible and close them behind you.
* Avoid electric fences and barbed wire fences, or seek assistance.
* Be aware of fire in dry weather and avoid smoking or lighting matches.
* Bring suntan lotion and drinking water on hot days to reduce the risk of sunburn
and sun stroke.
* Be aware of power lines in close proximity.
* Move to lower ground or a protected area in the event of thunder and
* Avoid using river crossings, particularly after heavy rain.
* Be aware of rights of way and public highways in the vicinity of the
* Be aware that hill walkers may be in the vicinity, and always check carefully
Before taking a shot.
* Rifles and Ammunition used must be fit for purpose, regularly cleaned and maintained.
* A legal rifle for the killing of deer in Scotland must conform to aminimum
specification including type of bullet, bullet weight, muzzle velocity and muzzle energy.
* Ensure rifles are serviced regularly by a competent gunsmith.
* If you do not provide your own rifle, an estate rifle can usually be supplied by request (and it is worth arranging this in advance).
* It is normal practice, whether supplying your own rifle or using an estate rifle to check zero the rifle on a target prior to any stalking taking place. One should expect to achieve a 3 shot group of 4” or smaller at 100 metres as a minimum
level of shooting competence to ensure a humane kill.
Please take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the workings of the rifle.
( Trigger, safety catch, loading and unloading, focusing of telescopic sights). Be
particularly aware of rifles with a ‘Set’ or continental trigger.
* Full bore rifles are lethal weapons, and are able to kill at a distance of well over a
4. FINAL STALK AND TAKING THE SHOT
Safety points to note are :
* Do not crawl with a loaded rifle behind the stalker.
* Be aware of the position of the rifle muzzle at all times. (It should never be
pointed at anyone, loaded or unloaded) and keep it clear of the ground.
* Do not load the rifle until the final stalk is about to take place.
* Always maintain the safety catch until the shot is about to be taken.
* Be aware of muzzle clearance when the shot is being taken (watch out for rocks,
vegetation etc. and the chance of ricochets) (The line of sight of the telescopic sight
is well above that of the barrel).
* Be aware of muzzle blast when in close proximity to the rifle. Wear hearing
protection when firing or close to the rifle. Consider wearing eye protection.
* Only shoot at a beast that has been positively identified as appropriate.
* Only shoot at a beast if there is a safe backdrop (Avoid shooting if the target is
Sky lined or partially obscured).
* After the shot, be aware of the status of the rifle. When moving forward, remain
behind the muzzle of the rifle, in case of the need for a follow-up shot. Always
unload prior to Gralloching.
* Ensure the rifle is fully unloaded once the stalk has been completed.
* Ensure that firearms and ammunition are securely stored and transported.
5. TYPE OF ACTIVITY
In Scotland, each species has a specific season, and may not be shot out with these
|Red Deer Stags
|Red Deer Hinds
* All species may be shot traditionally (on open hill or woodland) or from a High
6. HEALTH HAZARDS
* If you are on medication please bring it with you.
* If you are allergic to bee or wasp stings please remember to take antihistamine
medication with you. Midge repellant can also be helpful and apply to exposed skin
* If you have sensitive eyes take wash/lotion with you.
* On hot days please take water with you and avoid drinking alcohol. If alcohol is
Consumed it will impair your judgment and could be a significant safety hazard.
* Hats should always be worn. Suntan lotion may be necessary in
* In cold conditions hypothermia or exposure can be a risk especially on higher
Ground. Please bring adequate waterproof clothing.
* First aid kits stored in vehicles are worth considering.
* Do not light matches in dry conditions to avoid the risk of fire.
* Ticks are common on some moorland areas and should be removed from clothes
or skin as quickly as possible. Tick hooks are affective and can be purchased from
Veterinary practices. Ticks can cause infection; Lyme disease is a risk to be aware
of. The best defense is to keep the skin covered and check your skin and clothing
* Tetanus boosters are recommended as tetanus infections can occur through cuts,
abrasions or puncture wounds.
* If you are bringing a four wheel drive please make sure that you have suitable
experience or training to drive on hill roads. If you are in any doubt please ask an
experienced driver to take over. Please be particularly careful if you are driving a
vehicle with a trailer on rough tracks.
* When traveling in an Estate vehicle please be aware that the ride can be uneven
and uncomfortable. Avoid trailing loose clothing which could become entangled
especially in Argo cats or tracked vehicles.
* Please take advice if your vehicle has to cross a deep gully, ford or go up steep
* You should not drive any Estate vehicles unless specifically instructed or requested
to do so.
* In the event of an emergency, it is generally better to stay with the vehicle to aid
identification from afar.
* First Aid kits should be carried in Estate Vehicles. It is worth considering carrying a
small first aid kit with you on the stalk.
8. WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK
* Please be aware of livestock and avoid disturbance or causing injury to sheep or
* Adders can be found on moorland areas and are protected under the Wildlife and
Countryside Act 1981.
* Be aware of instructions and advice from the shoot stalker, if accompanied. Pass
on any instructions to followers.
* Whilst mobile telephones are helpful for communication and can be used in an
Emergency, they should generally be switched off to avoid distraction.
* If you are going out on the hill by yourself then please leave an accurate
description of your route and timings.
* Be aware of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and communicate with any access
Users in the vicinity of Stalking.
* Follow instructions by Estate Stalkers at all times. Ignoring instructions could
jeopardize your safety, and that of others.
* If you have any uncertainty as to the procedure on a stalking day do not hesitate
The above is intended as a guide to the potential risks which you may encounter when you go Deer Stalking. Most of the comments in this assessment are common sense but please do take time to read it and ask if you are unsure.
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