Take your jersey and your trusty rifle and make your way to the hills. The Field recommends 10 essential things to take on your deer stalking trip.
Deer stalking is far more of a challenging day than a day spent on the peg. It also offers incomparable surroundings and almighty views, which change quickly with the weather. (Read my account of stalking red deer in the Highlands.)
It is energetic and requires a certain level of fitness. The keeper or gillie will set the pace and you need to keep closely behind him (or her). He will probably be walking similar terrain almost daily and so is bound to be fitter than you. However, don’t be reticent about asking to stop or slow down for a rest. The keeper will almost certainly expect it.
So what should you take with you to the hill for a day’s deer stalking? I’ve whittled it down to 10 essential things to take on your deer stalking trip.
Deer stalking: 10 things to take to the hill
1) A reliable rifle of legal calibre, fitted with a good scope, at least 4×32. If you have no rifle of your own, be sure to fire an estate rifle at a target before setting out.
2) Binoculars with good light gathering – 8x40s are ideal. The stalker will almost certainly have a telescope; you may want to carry one for precise identification of targets. (Read more about binoculars here.)
3) A stout stick with either a fork or a curved handle at the top. Essential for balance on steep faces.
4) A sharp knife, either folding or in a sheath, in case you have to gralloch the stag yourself.
5) A small backpack or bag. Apart from its use as a carry-all, it may prove invaluable as a rest for your front wrist when taking the shot.
6) A rope for pulling the stag off the hill. Soft, made-up mountaineering loops about three metres long are the best.
7) A hat to conceal your perspiring pink face and a light, waterproof outer jacket that will roll up small.
8) A jersey. You will almost certainly overheat if you wear it on the way up, but will be glad of it if you have a wait at high altitude.
9) Your piece (lunch) – best to have one big bap with a luscious filling – salmon and mayonnaise or cheese and tomato – and a chocolate bar. (Find some more lunch inspiration here.)
10) A hip-flask of whisky, to celebrate a successful stalk. (Discover a classic hip flask recipe from The Field here.)
Hip flasks have been reviving those in the field for centuries. Nothing seals the sporting bond better than the hand…
This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.