Stalking FAQs

When is the roe deer stalking season in Scotland?
The roe deer stalking season in Scotland runs for Bucks from April 1st – October 20th, for Does October 21st – March 31st.

Do you provide tuition for roe deer stalking beginners?
Yes, our experienced stalking guides are only too happy to show you the basics of roe deer stalking in a practical fashion, i.e. out in the field, as opposed to in the classroom!

How old do I need to be to try roe deer stalking?
Accompanied deer stalking is suitable for the active between the ages of 9 and 99! The hunting instinct is naturally to be found in everyone, and takes surprisingly little encouragement to emerge from within the spirit of most. Many who profess no interest in outdoor pursuits are readily and surprisingly strongly ‘bitten by the bug’ once they have had an initial stalking outing : doubters – beware!

What should I wear when roe deer stalking?
Any muted colours will generally be helpful, but the tone is more important than actual colour, and our stalking guides have successfully stalked with guests sporting pink skiing jackets in the past, though something a little more in keeping with the natural surrounding is desirable! Good footwear is recommended, and waterproof footwear is often preferable (as sometimes it can be wet in Scotland!); a hat to shade the face, and/or a scarf, and mittens or gloves to hide ones hands are also recommended.

How long do the roe deer stalking outings last?
A typical roe deer stalking session will last three to four hours, though much of that time is spent looking carefully over the area, rather than slogging over the hills!

What is a McNab?
A McNab is the name given to the feat of successfully hunting “Fur, Feather and Fin” in one 24 hour period, that is to say successfully stalked, shot and landed a stag, grouse and salmon, in the case of a ‘Highland McNab’, or a roe, woodpigeon and sea-trout in the case of a ‘Summer McNab’.

The name McNab is taken from John Buchan’s classic Scottish novel ‘John McNab’, which captured the imagination of sportsmen and women from when it was first published in the early part of the 20th century right to the present day. In the novel a mysterious Sportsman issued written declarations (barely concealed challenges!) to various estate owners in Scotland that he would be ‘visiting their properties for the purposes of availing himself of their sporting quarry’, which immediately challenged the estate owners to prevent him from doing so! ‘John McNab’ describes the escapades of this ‘adventurer’, and combines so elegantly the romance of the countryside in Scotland, the thrill of hunting, and the feeling of the hunter himself being the hunted!

Aswanley estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is blessed with the rich diversity of game species where a summer McNab may be achieved, which usually is entered as a ‘Red letter day’ in any true sportsman or woman’s sporting memoir. It is by no means an easily achievable feat, requiring some talent of the would-be ‘McNabber’ with rifle, shotgun and fly-rod, and a modicum of luck; but if one is indeed blessed with success, it becomes a most memorable hunting achievement for most.

Prospective McNabbers pray for good sea-trout runs and favourable water colour and level in the river, a kindly breeze to send forth the ‘cushat’ or ‘doo’ , as the woodpigeon is traditionally named, and the appearance of the elusive summer roe buck, who is of a retiring disposition by that time of year, well fed and content to lay, well concealed, at his ease in luxuriant herbage, requiring little by way of summer sustenance, and correspondingly reclusive in nature – in all, the Summer McNab is quite a challenge, and every bit as difficult to achieve as the Highland McNab!

A successful outcome is generally celebrated by all involved with a glass of champagne, and a photo or two, both to bear witness and to commemorate a truly great day’s hunting achievement.

Can you explain tipping etiquette on roe deer stalking outings in Scotland?

A tricky subject! Tipping the stalking guide is a traditional in Scotland, though entirely discretionary payment offered by the guest, given in thanks for the efforts of the stalking guide in getting the guest (be they the ‘Rifle’ or someone wishing to merely observe or photograph the deer at close hand, but not necessarily seeking to shoot or kill), into a position from where they may, or indeed may not choose to take a shot; it is not determined on whether a roe deer is eventually taken, as is commonly, though mistakenly believed by many people, but rather is offered in appreciation of the wise, expert guidance shown by the stalking guide in his efforts to make the whole stalking outing a memorable and enjoyable (and hopefully successful) experience.

If you have had an enjoyable stalking outing, learning something new about the wonderful nature of Scotland you have been privileged to experience in the company of your knowledgeable and helpful stalking guide, then it may be considered a success, irrespective of the eventual outcome in terms of number of shots fired. Consider too, that the stalking guide may do everything in his power to get you, the guest ‘Rifle’ into a safe, steady and sure firing position, but thereafter, the outcome is determined by the performance of you, the guest. As, generally speaking, it is for the guest who is trying his or her luck and pitting their wits against the elusive roe deer, to draw the stalking outing to its natural climax, ie with a safe, successful and accurate shot – by that point in time, the stalking guide has done his job, and can only watch both the guest attempting the shot, and the deer’s reaction to that same attempt, whether successful or otherwise.

A tip is customarily offered at the end of the stalking outing, and not prior to its commencement, where it can be misinterpreted as a type of incentive or bribe, both of which are held to be extremely poor form by the Professional Stalking Guide! We are happy to give guests who have booked specific guidance as to the actual amount to be offered, but professional stalkers tend to appreciate far more the ‘how’ it is given, rather than the ‘how much’!

What is a gold medal head?
The antlers of the male deer (also known as the ‘trophy’) are categorized according to an internationally agreed assessment formula for the species, and should an outstanding trophy be taken, it will be measured according to this formula, to determine whether the trophy can be awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold ‘Medal’ status.

Of far greater importance to most true sportsmen and women, however, is the quality of the hunting experience, ie the anticipation, thrill and excitement of the stealthy approach, which may finally culminate with a shot, or just a souvenir photograph – in the case of an outing where no shot was finally taken! This can be every bit as exciting as a stalking outing where a roe deer is taken, and is never regarded as a ‘failure’ by the true sportsman/woman, who understand the difference between ‘stalking’ and mere ‘shooting’, or just squeezing the trigger.