Now that the red deer stag season is over, our thoughts now turn to other opportunities for winter hunting in Scotland.
The two main types of traditional winter hunting in Scotland are red deer hind stalking and walked up or driven pheasant and partridge shooting. The two hunts are very different and tend to happen in different locations (with a few exceptions) but both have a lot to offer for the visiting international hunter.
Red deer hind stalking is one of the most rewarding types of winter hunting in Scotland as it allows guests to see large areas of stunning Highland country side and it is also necessary to maintain a healthy red deer population.
Hind stalking lasts all day and usually starts at around 09:00. Guests walk into the hills accompanied by an expert estate deer stalker who will guide them towards the deer all the time staying low to the hill and keeping the deer upwind. Once in position the stalker will select the deer that need to be culled for the health of the population and will advise the guest which shot (s) to take.
After the kill the deer is gralloched (disembowelled) on the hill by the stalker before being carried back to the waiting Highland ponies to be transported back down the hill.
A hind stalk will often take guests miles into the hills to see areas of Scotland few other visitors ever get to see. Guests will enjoy a unique day spent in the company of the expert deer stalkers who are always keen to share their encyclopaedic knowledge of the land, flora, fauna and traditions of the countryside.
The scenery for hind stalking is beautiful and it is an excellent test of a hunter’s stalking skills and proficiency with a rifle and, being much less expensive than stag stalking, it’s an all-round excellent value day out in the Highlands.
Pheasant and partridge shooting (we tend not to use the word hunting for this in Scotland) is the other option for winter hunting in Scotland. This is one of the most traditional activities in Scotland and is excellent sport that can be tailored to all hunters from the total beginner to the seasoned pro.
A pheasant and partridge can take two forms, either “driven” or “walked up”;
Driven shooting – means that a team of beaters push the birds towards a standing line of waiting hunters (knows simply as “guns”). The line of guns will change location 3 – 5 times per day. The number of birds tend to be higher for driven shooting, anywhere from 100 – 500 per day shared between 6 – 8 guns. Driven shooting is the more expensive of the two options as it requires many more people to be employed for the day.
Walked up shooting – means that the guns walk together to push their own birds up in front of them as they go. Walked up can be done with between 2 and 10 guns and is the less expensive of the two types of shooting. The usual number of birds per day is around 8 – 10 per gun.
Both types of pheasant and partridge shooting are excellent days out in the countryside and exciting shooting. Guests are always accompanied by at least 1 gamekeeper (in full traditional tweeds!) who will run the day to ensure that the shoot goes smoothly and everyone gets the best shooting possible.
We are currently taking bookings for both hind stalking and pheasant and partridge shooting but the diary is filling up fast so if you’d like have an unforgettable experience of winter hunting in Scotland then contact us today for more details.