Well known Foxing expert and author from 'Sporting Rifle' Magazine Mike Powell discusses the use of Night Vision and the forth coming Scott Country Event.

I have been asked to write a few lines on the forthcoming Scott Country night vision weekend to be held on the weekend of the 7th and 8th of September at the Crown Hotel, Wetheral, Cumbria.


(Above: Mike Powell "Used by day or night the thermal imager is the best bet for identifying wildlife")

As some visitors to this site may know, my usual quarry is the fox which I have been involved with for over sixty years. Involvement which included among other things, two stints as a Game keeper, many years as a professional fox controller and at one time making a living from fox pelts. I still carry on my selective fox control work, dealing only with those that are causing problems.

It is with some trepidation I write something for County Deer Stalking as in no way could you describe me as a deer stalker. I suppose on average I take perhaps three roe a year from the land surrounding the village where I have spent most of my life. There are only roe hereabouts as we are pretty well cut off from surrounding areas by sea, river and a motorway. Within a few miles though there are very considerable numbers of Fallow and some Red deer but apart from the very odd occasion when I am asked out, I really don’t have the time to spend stalking the big boys!

Recently however I have been asked to deal with a deer problem on some land where I control rabbits, the owner obtained a grant to plant woodland and fence it against the roe which are fairly numerous. As the project was nearing completion in the appalling weather at the end of last year and the beginning of this one, efforts were made to remove the roe deer from inside the fenced area (about 40 acres) Most were driven out but three remained, unfortunately roe and newly planted trees do not really mix so they had to go.


(Above: Mike Powell sets out in search of Roe deer over a block of newly planted woodland)

The two does were swiftly dealt with before the doe season ended but the buck proved a different kettle of fish. He became very wild and despite the small area, because of the terrain and lack of backstops he remained at large, despite my best efforts. Ironically, whenever I carried the 17HMR or the .223 there he would be, one day me and the black lab almost fell over him, sure enough the 17HMR was the weapon of choice on that occasion.

So you may ask, where does the night vision and County Deer Stalking come in? I have been involved with reviewing and testing this type of equipment for some years now not only for my own use, but as a writer of regular fox and related articles for Sporting Rifle magazine. When I am out after foxes I frequently see deer as they are very easily picked out with normal night vision, but of latter years even more so with thermal imagers.

I mentioned previously the three deer in the newly planted woodland, the mini count involving these was done with a Pulsar Quantum thermal imager. For those involved with wildlife control of any type or species, night vision in its various forms is a tremendous help.

I have seen many changes over my life which has always centred on wildlife and without a doubt night vision has been the biggest change I have seen.

Used by day or night the thermal imager is the best bet for identifying and locating any wildlife although it is fair to say it really comes into its own after dark.

Scott Country is an organisation that has always impressed me, not only for the equipment they offer but for their in depth knowledge of it. Quite recently they started a scheme where they would, for a deposit, send out demonstration units for prospective buyers to try. As night vision is, like most optical devices very much a personal thing, this was really a positive step.

Now they have gone even further, the night vision demonstration weekend mentioned above. Here there will be all the night vision gear on display and test and some guest speakers. Deer stalkers are well catered for with Colin Arthurs the professional deer stalker, Iain Semple secretary of the BDS (Central Scotland) Paul Stewart of Scott Country and bringing up the rear, myself.

Tickets are free whilst they are still available, contact Scott Country:  http://www.scottcountry.co.uk/show/ it should be a thoroughly enjoyable and informative weekend whatever your sport may be.

Should you bump into me there do stop for a chat I need all the help I can get on deer stalking, particularly that elusive buck!

For more information about the Scott Country event or to book tickets click on the following link:  http://www.scottcountry.co.uk/show/



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