What to expect when booking your first red deer stalking trip.

We are often asked by people new to Red Deer stalking in the Highlands what they will encounter on their first trip. So with that in mind, we thought we would share some useful information with you. The original article was going quite lengthy, so instead I have split it into two. This first piece is about preparations before getting to Kingairloch and the follow-up piece will relate to what to expect when you arrive on the estate.

Firstly, your trip doesn’t begin when you arrive at Kingairloch. In fact, preparation should be taking place many weeks if not months before you set foot on the estate. A good level of fitness is essential, our hills are demanding, you could be out all day walking, starting from sea-level and taking in huge amounts of vertical. The terrain is not a cricket pitch; there are tussocks, lots of tussocks, so you must have good strength in your legs. We had a guest who goes to the gym on a regular basis and skis most seasons, however he couldn’t believe how much “hill-fit” differs from “regular” fitness. We would advise that you should pay particular attention to building up your cardio capacity, as when you’re on the ascent up the hill and you feel your heart pumping in your ears and your chest is about to explode you will be grateful for the hours you spent getting fitter.

Work on your fitness ahead of your trip

If you are not brining your own rifle or you do not hold a firearms certificate (FAC), we will take you to our range and allow you to get familiar with the estate rifle. However, if you hold a FAC and you would like to bring your own rifle, our minimum calibre for stags is .275 and for hinds it is .243. We only allow non-ballistic tip ammunition. Bear in mind that in most instances you will have to carry your own rifle, so you may want to leave your 7mm Rem Mag at home! A light, easy to carry rifle can make all the difference on your stalking trip.

An ideal lightweight stalking rifle

For guests coming from outside the UK, we have to fill out a visitors permit for you. The following link takes you to the permit form and shows you the information we require from you so we can fill out the paperwork. On top of the £20 payable to Police Scotland, we charge £20 for the required admin work. http://www.scotland.police.uk/assets/pdf/138327/138331/application-for-a-visitors-permit?view=Standard

In terms of kit you should bring, there are quite a few essentials.

  • A good pair of lace-up boots that offer ankle support
  • Traditionally speaking, tweeds are best. However, with the hugely improved technical fabrics, most guests wear modern waterproof clothing. Ensure that they fabrics are green or brown and they are QUIET. Brands such as Harkila and Seeland offer a wide choice. If you have booked a couple of days stalking, you may want two sets of waterproofs.
  • A peaked hat is crucial when you are lining up for a shot as it casts a shadow over your face. A deer can spot your bright skin a mile off!
  • Gloves are useful for keeping your trigger finger from getting cold
  • A small rucksack for carrying your packed lunch and spare clothes (I usually carry a spare jumper in case it gets cold). A rucksack with a camelbak water pouch is handy.
  • Binoculars are not essential, however they do help with your enjoyment and being able to see the deer more clearly. Also, you may want to bring a camera.
  • Pack darker base layers. If the weather is dry you will want to take your coat off, if you are wearing a white checked shirt- you would have to keep your heavy coat on!

The type of clothing you should wear

There’s one more thing to mention before you arrive- your own food! If you have booked your stay fully catered in Kingairloch House, we will take care of everything from when you arrive to when you depart. This includes fully cooked breakfasts, packed lunches, afternoon tea and three course dinners. However, if you have opted for a self-catered stay, don’t forget to do a food shop before you cross The Corran Ferry as it is a good 12 miles to the nearest local shop!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this segment, the remaining part of this article will be published in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, please get in touch if you would like any further information on stalking at Kingairloch.