Stalking Equipment - What Are The Essentials?
What essential equipment should you carry when out Deer stalking?
Following the release of last month’s film ‘Sika Deer Stalking’ I had an email requesting what equipment I carry in the bum bag that I am invariably seen wearing around my waist.
The choices each stalker makes with regard to what equipment he/she needs to carry are very personal and will depend not only on the individual, but also the terrain being stalked and the style that is employed to do so.
Personally the majority of my stalking is woodland stalking in the South East of England. Whilst I tend to stalk on foot rather than use a high seat, we are rarely more than a mile from the car, that said, I will often cover several miles and perhaps for this reason I would describe myself as a minimalist and choose to remain as lightweight as possible. This is a principle that is reflected not only in my kit but also my clothing.
I find that there is little worse than being laden down with equipment, I have had clients arrive with rucksacks full of gear, most of which I advise at the outset should stay in the car.
(Above/Left: A Knife is one of the most essential tools carried by a deer stalker, here the EKA Swing blade)
So excluding the usual (Rifle, Bino’s & Shooting Sticks) what exactly do I keep in my bag or tricks? Well firstly the bum bag itself. This is simple lightweight bag with five small compartments. On the belt I have an EKA swing blade knife with a zipper blade. In the main section I carry a small pull saw for cutting through the rib cage, a folding gambrel from Donington (I like to carry out a suspended gralloch whenever possible) a knife sharpener and a drag rope.
In the front pocket I have a small torch (I often stalk at last light and am required to follow up in the dark) and some plastic bags for the offal, should I or the client choose to keep them.
(Left: torches are commonly carried, especially amongst those that stalk at last light)
A further small side pocket contains a lens cleaning cloth to keep my optics clean and sharp and finally in the back pocket I keep a basic first aid kit containing a Haemostatic clotting agent in case of a major arterial bleed and some bandages and tape.
This sounds like a lot of gear however the whole pack including the bum bag and knife weigh just 2.3lbs.
As a foot note I should add that I also carry a mobile phone in case of emergency.
For me these are the essentials, however as I say, one should always adapt ones equipment to the environment, stalking the open hill for example, can be dangerous and so in this environment your equipment might further extend to a change of clothing, a map, compass, hot drink and whistle.
(Right: A Pull saw to assist with cutting through the rib cage. Below/Left: First Aid should also be a prime concern))
Whatever your environment or style, the arduous task of carcass extraction and changeable UK weather will undoubtedly force you to learn quickly. My best advice when learning your craft is pay attention to your mentors or those around you. Aim to emulate them, as their kit will have been undoubtedly honed over the years to the essential kit that is best fit for purpose.
For more information about deer stalking equipment follow this link to: check-your-equipment-deer-stalking-kit