It is becoming increasingly popular to come to Scotland for a stalking holiday - whether it is just one day's stalking or a whole week, the choice of self-catering houses or cottages for stalking is great. Many are the former shooting lodges on highland estates and the owners will be happy to organise a day's stalking if you are renting a property there. Self-catering stalking accommodation, like all holiday cottages, varies, and many cottages which are not on stalking estates can put you in touch with a stalker and help you arrange your stalking holiday.
Stalking deer either red or roe is a wonderful way to discover Scotland's countryside. You spend time walking through beautiful scenery in search of the deer, soaking up the stunning landscapes around you. Deer stalking is an important part of land management for larger estates in Scotland: it contributes to the local economy and helps to maintain a healthy population of deer in addition to protecting many native Scottish plants.
Once a day's stalking has been arranged, you arrive on the day and will be met by your stalker. A stalker will take you up on the hill as stalkers are responsible for the management of the deer on the estate. The stalker plays an important role as he will know extremely well the ground that you will cover. Obviously, the stalker will ensure your safety during the stalk too. A good stalker is a good guide as well as a good hunter. They will take you over the hills in any weather conditions, ensuring you don't get lost and enable you to find the deer and select the appropriate one to be shot. Stalkers are very often wonderful story tellers and will keep you going on many a steep climb! They will give you a good insight into their life on the estate and local history too.
Red deer are found across much of Europe and are one of the largest deer species in the world. Red deer are the image that many people have of a beautiful, magnificent deer. In Scotland there is estimated to be somewhere between 550,000 and 700,000 red deer. Red deer stalking helps to control the red deer population and also helps to contribute to the local economy. The meat, venison, is delicious and can be found on the menus of many local restaurants in Scotland. The season for stags (males) runs from 1st July to 20nd October and the hind season (females) from 21st October to 15th February each year. Each estate will set its own stalking season within these dates, so it is essential to check with each estate before planning your trip to hunt a deer in Scotland. A red deer stalk in Scotland is certainly a special experience, and one which you will never forget and will be a highlight of your Scottish holiday.
Roe deer stalking also takes place in many areas of Scotland and roe deer numbers are now said to probably match the population of red deer in Scotland. The season for roe runs from 1st April to 20th October for roe bucks (males) and 21st October to 31st March for roe doe (females). Once again it is worth checking with each estate to establish their season and availability. When you are planning your next stalking trip, Scotland should be top of your list of destinations and there is a great selection of self-catering accommodation for a stalking holiday.