West Highland Deer Stalking
- Monday, 10 December 2018
The West Highlands of Scotland represent some of the most dramatic landscapes in the UK and arguably the world, here the stalking and hunting of deer has been a way of life for generations.
(Above: Head Stalker Colin glasses the hill ahead)
During the season for Red Hinds members of the London based deer stalking and big game hunting club the ‘Capreolus Club’ ventured to the spectacular Glen Etive in the West Highlands of Scotland for a week’s deer stalking.
Nestled in Glen Etive is Dalness House, where members of the club spent their second year in a row. Why stalk deer in the West Highlands? Peter Jones explains.
(Steve does well in some strong cross winds to take a Red hind with his Blaser R8 in .308)
When deciding upon a location for the club’s annual trip to Scotland the criteria is simple. Great stalking first and foremost, professional guides a must and excellent, first rate accommodation also a crucial part of the enjoyment of any trip. However, for me the icing on the cake comes in the form of the most spectacular scenery that the highlands of Scotland have to offer.
(Above: Jason Doyle guides club member Steve)
Like last year, the expertise and guidance during our trip came from the Dalness Estate’s head stalker Colin and well-known professional stalker Jason Doyle who is now the key contributor to ‘Fieldpsorts Ireland’. A better pairing is hard to find and over the course of a number of days these two top professional’s guided experienced club members on some wonderfully exhilarating stalks.
("The West Highlands offers some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere in the world")
Fewer deer this year, something Colin attributes to the dump of late winter snow unleashed by ‘the beast from the east’ in March earlier this year, which, Colin recounts, accounted for more than one hundred beasts. However, it’s not just about the kill but ‘the chase’ which was to say the least, both a challenge and an adventure all wrapped up in one.
(Above: Look out for our forthcoming film which will come to you from the snow capped Munros of the West Highlands)
11km and 115 storeys were climbed on a typical days stalking over rough terrain, meaning that fitness levels had to be at their peak. Notwithstanding the rain and high wind, which was at times, capable of quite literally knocking you off your feet.
Good job Dalness House did its usual ‘top notch’ job of welcoming members home at the end of each day with superb local food, top draw service and warm open fires.
Members Mike, Steve and James all did well in some tremendously challenging weather conditions and a number of Red hinds were selected from the hill, testament to some terrific shooting and guidance. Steve elected to use a Blaser R8 in .308, Colin a Tikka T3 in .308 and Jason elected to use the .270 Winchester as his ‘go to’ calibre.
(left to right: Club Chairman Peter Jones, Jason Doyle of Fieldsports Ireland and regular CDS contributor James Schneider)
Calibre is an important decision when stalking hardy beasts in the highlands and both Jason and Colin went to some length to speak to me about their personal choice of calibre for optimum performance when hunting in the highlands. I am delighted to reveal that we’ve recorded their thoughts and advise on film and that this will be the subject of a short film coming soon to ‘County Deer Stalking’. Added to which we will also be producing a film, in the not too distant future, showing some of the highlights of our club trip.
I’ve stalked deer all around the highlands of Scotland, from the east coast to the west, however deer hunting in the West Highlands is undoubtedly amongst my most favourite.