Advice on Red Deer Stalking and Orienteering
Red deer stalking is a vital component of the Scottish rural economy, with the periods 1st July - 20th October being critical for guests stalking stags and 21st October – 15th February being the time that deer managers work hard to bring in the hind cull. The following advice gives the general picture across Scotland. (reviewed January 2012)
Deer stalkers/gamekeepers depend on the wind to know where the deer are likely to be and therefore cannot know in advance where they will be working. Some estates work with the hill phone system and regularly update their intended whereabouts.
A deer stalker can spend all day moving a herd into precisely the area where he knows the correct animal can be identified and the safest shot taken. He takes considerable care not to wind the deer. Hinds in particular are extremely canny and can sniff out humans from many miles away. Those seeking access to our hills at this time are asked to remember that a job of work is being carried out and their presence can scare the deer away thus nullifying an entire day’s work.
It is advisable to contact landowners/factors/gamekeepers for access to their land well in advance as well as again as near to the date access is required (deer stalking depends on the wind) and be aware that they might not be able to provide access for orienteering during this period. Try and plan your events round this time.
Also be aware that gamekeepers will be extremely busy at this time of year and not always available to answer enquiries or accommodate access requests for orienteering events.
Please also be aware that Scotland is infested with Tick (which is not just a danger to wildlife but to human health too. Check your body thoroughly for Ticks after accessing the Scottish Countryside and seek medical advice if you have been bitten.)
For further advice contact the Scottish Gamekeepers Association via their website.