Deer Stalking in Scotland
Deer stalking in Scotland has centuries of history and tradition behind it, and is an excellent way to really get to know the country and its wildlife. Atholl is famous for having some of the finest red stag stalking in Scotland, but we also offer hind stalking, along with some roe and fallow.
Red Stag Stalking
Wild red deer have been managed for sport and food in Scotland for centuries, and few areas are more renowned for this than the Forest of Atholl.
As part of our management of the open range deer population, we must shoot in the region of 350 stags each season over the five beats, and this is almost entirely accomplished through traditional Scottish stalking parties with guests. Our objective is to cull out the old or less strong adult stags rather than focus on trophy heads.
The day will be run in the time-honoured tradition, and if the stalk results in a successful kill, the stag will be carried back to the larder by pony for preparation and collection by the venison dealer.
The estate has maintained the tradition of using highland ponies to retrieve stalked deer as they are both more adept than vehicles at accessing the whole hill and more in keeping with the natural environment.
Ponies can’t be used on the Clunes beat due to the extent of hill drainage, but the inevitable use of vehicles there is kept discrete and does not interfere with our guests’ enjoyment of the day. The ponies are bred and trained on Atholl, and are also used to take out trekking parties during the spring and summer from Blair Castle Trekking Centre, an important centre for horse riding in Scotland.
Stag stalking is sold on a per-head basis.
Stalking Red Hinds
Although the hind cull has traditionally been carried out by our stalkers alone, we are increasingly letting the hind season to guests. Most of our hind stalking is restricted to lodge parties who may take a few day’s sport for three or four rifles over a number of beats during November, December and January. We do not stalk hinds on Saturdays.
During January and until mid-February we do offer some day let deer stalking on a first come, first served basis.
Highland ponies are used to carry the culled deer where conditions permit. As the stalking is part of a selective cull, all stalks are guided by the estate deer stalker and guests are directed to the identified cull hinds.
Hind stalking is sold on a per day basis, subject to an average of two head per day.
Roe Deer Stalking
A limited population of open hill roe deer is managed for stalking in the northern region of Atholl, providing for a cull of around 20 bucks each year. We reserve most of this sport for our lodge guests during the autumn season, but occasionally some deer stalking packages can be arranged in June or July when stocks permit.
Fallow Deer Stalking
There is a well known fallow herd in the southern region of Highland Perthshire, covering the area of Atholl between Dunkeld and Pitlochry. To prevent damage to our commercial forestry, we must maintain the fallow herds at a low density, but some selective woodland deer stalking is available.
Deer Stalking Seasons
The open seasons for deer stalking in Scotland are:
Red deer – stags
1st July – 20th October
Red deer – hinds
21st October – 15th February
1st April – 20th October
1st August – 30th April