As with most countries in the world, the Scottish hunting seasons are not 100% straightforward if you are an international hunter visiting Scotland for the 1st time. Below we’ll run down a few key dates in the Scottish hunting seasons that will hopefully be helpful when deciding when it is you’d like to visit our beautiful country.
April – May: Wood pigeon
There is no closed season for wood pigeon shooting in Scotland but some times of year are better than others. April – May is a good time for wood pigeon shooting as the country’s farmers are busy in the fields which usually brings in the birds. Wood pigeon shooting can indeed be good from February onward but earlier in the year it can be a little cold to sit comfortably in a hide all day. April & May represent a good compromise between bird numbers and the potential for nicer weather.
Wood pigeon is a great sport that is both affordable and fun with a good day providing challenging shooting for even the most experienced of guns. Make an enquiry
April 01st – Roe Buck
The 1st of the big dates for the diary in the Scottish hunting seasons, April 01 marks the beginning of roe buck stalking. The season runs until the 20th October and peaks sometime around mid-July to August during the roe buck rut. Roe stalking is available after August but things tend to get more difficult as the season progresses into late September as, once the rut is over, the bucks tend to head away from any stalk-able areas at the first sign of bad weather.
Our roe buck stalking is located in the Scottish Borders and in Perthshire. Availability is usually quite good with only a couple of months notice necessary (last minute requests can often be fulfilled if dates are flexible).
Roe stalking is an affordable and challenging hunt in relatively easy terrain. Make an enquiry
12th August: Grouse
The biggest of all the Scottish hunting seasons dates, the 12th of August needs little introduction even to those who don’t know Scotland that well. Known as “The Glorious 12th” this date marks the beginning of the grouse hunting season. The season runs until the 10th December (technically) but effectively all of our shooting tends to be finished by the end of September.
We can offer walked up or driven grouse mainly in the Scottish Borders with some limited availability in Perthshire.
Grouse hunting is some of the most sought after (and consequently most expensive) hunting in Scotland and booking many months to a year in advance is necessary.
Grouse hunting is arguably the most exhilarating sport available in Scotland, the grouse fly low and fast therefore safety is of paramount important. Make an enquiry
Late August – late September: Wood Pigeon (again!)
This is the 2nd time period to note in the Scottish hunting seasons for wood pigeon hunting.
Like in April and May, late August to late September is a great time to shoot wood pigeon. The timing of the harvest and the weather are key factors which dictate exactly when is the peak time, but it usually falls roughly in this period.
It’s worth mentioning that, although the weather is generally more favourable for spending long periods of time outside at this time of year, the Scottish weather can be unpredictable at any time of year so there is never any guarantee. The key is to always brings lots of layers of clothing so that you are fully prepared for Scotland’s notorious “4 seasons in 1 day”. Make an enquiry
Late August – 20th October: Red deer stags / Sika stags
Officially, the hunting seasons for red deer stags and sika stags both start on 01st July however, in practice, stalking doesn’t really commence until the 2nd half of August. The reason behind this is that most stags will still be in velvet well into September (although some may become hard of horn a bit earlier) and also because the grouping of the stags tends to make stalking practically difficult in July and August.
Red deer stag stalking is at a premium this year as in previous hunting seasons the government mandated deer cull numbers have been far too high with the result that this year the government have drastically reduced the number of stags to be culled in order to help the deer population thrive. Make an enquiry
01st September – Partridge, duck & goose
Partridge, duck and goose season all open on the 01st September meaning that from this date until the 31st January there is excellent walked up shooting available from the Scottish Borders all the way up into Perthshire.
Partridge live in higher ground and are an exciting and challenging quarry but are much less expensive than grouse. Partridge can also be found at lower levels meaning that a day on the partridge can be topped off with an evening of duck and goose flighting allowing for a really excellent mixed hunting day. Make an enquiry
Please note; Duck and goose flighting are not available as stand alone activities until January
01st October – Pheasant
October is probably the best month for hunting in Scotland with virtually all quarry available from red deer stags to pheasant and partridge. For those looking for a serious sporting holiday, a week of pheasant, partridge and stag hunting combined with salmon fishing is probably the pinnacle of all the country sports holidays available in Scotland. These weeks are in high demand and booking up to a year in advance is advisable.
On to the pheasant specifically…. We have fabulous pheasant hunting available in the Scottish Borders and Perthshire. We can offer walked up days from 1 to 8 guns with a bag limit of 8 – 10 birds per gun per day (single gun shooting is available in the borders only) and driven days from 5 to 10 guns. Driven days start at 100 birds and go up to 300 bird days with larger numbers being available on request. Make an enquiry
20th October – Red deer / sika hinds
After the stag hunting seasons end the hind seasons begin. Hind stalking is a good alternative to stag stalking in that it is considerably less expensive and it is less in demand meaning there is more likely to be availability during your chosen week.
The stalking takes place in the same beautiful Highland Scenery and the day is in essence the same as a stag stalk except, where you’re limited to 1 stag per day with a stag hunt, with hinds there is no limit (subject to the cull plan of the estate).
We have red deer hind hunting available in Highland Perthshire, on the West Coast and on the Idle of Skye. Sika hinds are available in the Peebles area of the Scottish Borders. Make an enquiry
20th October – Stag season ends
1st full moon in November – Woodcock
Woodcock season is somewhat of a “move-able feast” in Scotland in that it begins roughly around the 1st full moon in November but is heavily influenced by the weather in Scandinavia. The colder it is on the continent, the sooner the woodcock will arrive in Scotland.
Woodcock hunting is a fantastic sport and is a challenging for even experienced hunters. Woodcock fly fast and jink in and out of the trees demanding quick reactions and a good deal of shooting skill from hunter.
Woodcock hunting is available in the Kingdom of Fife and on the Isle of Skye with smaller mixed days also available in the Scottish Borders. Availability is sought after and we would recommend booking at least 9 months in advance. Make an enquiry
01st January – Duck and goose flighting
The duck and goose hunting seasons technically start on 01st September but our shoots only cater for duck and goose specific days from January onward. Before January it is simply too unreliable for us to confidently offer to our clients as a stand alone day.
Duck and goose shooting takes place in the mornings and evenings and the lack of light makes it an exhilarating and difficult past time but the rewards are well worth it.
With the limited seasonal availability we recommend booking at least 6 months in advance in order to secure a January date. We can provide shooting in the Scottish Borders, Perthshire and on occasion in Aberdeenshire. Make an enquiry
31st January – The end of the Scottish Hunting Seasons