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Stalking In The Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are synonymous with country sports.  Traditional Highland country estates are located all throughout the Highlands with access to some of the most beautiful and remote country anywhere.  Imagine climbing a corrie and moving stealthily through the heather, uncertain of what you might see or find.  Your ghillies and his trusted Highland pony are by your side, and you are on a hunting adventure which will test your patience, endurance, skill, and sportsmanship. 

Deer stalking in Scotland takes place between the 1st July and 20th October each year.  This is for red deer.  Roe deer stalking season is 1st April to 20th October for the bucks, and 21st October to 31st March for the does.  A permit is absolutely required and there are ghillies and stalkers on the look out for poachers year round.  Stalking must be arranged through an estate and fees will apply, which will include your permit.  You will need a reasonable degree of fitness to come stalking, as you will be hiking over very rough and uneven terrain, wherever you choose to go.  As well, be prepared for the unpredictable Scottish weather, which often includes cold, rain, and wind.  Stalkers, gamekeepers, and ghillies are the guides who will accompany you on your stalking holiday.  Deer stalking now takes places are part of a game management plan, and it is imperative that clients follow the instructions of their guides. 

The red deer is the largest land mammal in Scotland and the third largest species of deer in the world, surpassed only by the moose and the elk.  Stags have antlers and tend to have neck manes.  They weigh about 120 kg, which is why your Highland pony will come in handy should you get a stag.  Roe deer are much smaller, and the male’s antlers are short.

When you are choosing the location for your Highland stalking holiday, you should consider what type of deer you wish to pursue, whether the scenery is important to you, how much time you have, whether you will be alone or in a party, how much time you will have, and what your budget is.  The Hebrides offer excellent deer stalking and very spectacular scenery.  They are beautiful and diverse, and have incredible seascapes, as well.  The wild and rugged West Highlands also offer excellent red deer stalking.  There are steep-sided mountains and many beautiful and remote glens.  The West tends to receive more rainfall than the east, so keep this in mind when choosing your location.  The East Highlands, including Perthshire, Cairngorm, Speyside, and Royal Deeside have rolling hills as well as mountains and are perfect for both red and roe deer stalking.  The Northern Highlands which encompass everything north of Inverness are much more remote and less popular with tourists.  You will find authentic deer stalking experiences here.

Wherever you choose to go, there will be a number of Highland estates you can contact.  Discuss with them your requirements and what you are hoping to experience.  They will generally provide all the equipment you need, including some of the clothing—plus-fours, willies, hats, macs, etc.  If you are planning to bring your own gun, be sure to check with the estate if that is allowable and suitable.  For an authentic, traditional Highland experience, book a country sporting holiday and enjoy the challenging and exciting sport of stalking.