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Red Deer (cervus elaphus) are the largest wild deer in Europe, and have been native to the United Kingdom since the last ice age. By choice red deer are a forest-dwelling animal but they have adapted well to life in open upland habitats. The majority of British red deer are found in Scotland, although sizeable herds are found in England particularly cumbria, exmoor and east anglia. Although traditionally, stalking in Scotland seems to be the British ideal of stalking, much larger animals are secured in the lowlands where the food contains more nourishment and the shelter is plenty, compared with the barren hills in Scotland. The pelage of red deer is as described and is a rich red in color. The rump patch is yellowish white and reaches high onto the back above the tail, which is short and the same color. A dark dorsal stripe runs up the spine from the rump patch to the back of the head, during the rut a stag’s underbelly will also become black. He will also develop a heavy mane at this time of year which is retained during the winter. There is a wide variation between the size of stags and hinds and as mentioned between upland and lowland deer, mature stags can be twice as heavy as mature hinds in the same herd and lowland deer are often twice as heavy as their upland counterparts, we concentrate primarily on the lowland stags for his impressive trophy, but can arrange trips into Scotland on request. The antlers of red deer vary widely in length, spread, weight and appearance depending on the food available, the habitat as well as the genetic characteristics. The classic red deer head is known as a royal with 2 x 6 point antlers showing brow bay and trey tines, with each main beam topped by a crown of 3 points emerging from a single point on the beam. On their grounds stags annually are shot with 16+ points, and those with 20+ points are not unknown. A stag’s antlers grow and develop each year of new growth, reaching their peak at about 8-12 years old. However, multi point yearling stags can be seen in our areas (although we do not shoot them). With advancing age the weight drops to the lower part of the antlers and points tend to become shorter and the tops get spindly, this is termed as “going back”. Occasionally stags do not grow antlers at all, this is termed as a Hummel, and these animals tend to be much bigger bodied because they do not use the nutrients required to grow their massive antlers. When the stags have cast their antlers all disputes are settled by standing on their hind legs and boxing with their front hooves.
More Hunt Details
- England: 1st July – 30th April
- Scotland: 1st July – 20th October
*(Recommended time of hunting is during the rut, which starts in the first 2 weeks of October)
Red deer in the UK spend most of the year in single sex herds although a few young stags are often found to be running with hinds and their calves. The single sex herds often occupy distinctly different ranges – partly due to different food preferences. They have an incredible sense of smell and can detect human scent from up to a mile if conditions are right, that coupled with their keen hearing and sight make the red stag a very worthy hunting adversary. Stags will often wander over great distances especially during the rut and this is the most exciting time to hunt red deer. Towards the end of September, the stags begin to roar and become increasingly belligerent towards each other before the “the break out” when they leave the male herds to search for hinds that are coming into season. The rut continues till the end of October and typically a stag will round up a harem of hinds herding them together to defend them more easily against other encroaching stags. The private land that we hunt is hind territory, a few miles out of Thetford forest, which is home to some of England’s biggest stags. During the rut, the forests biggest deer come onto our grounds and battle for the biggest harem of hinds. The majority of stags shot during the rut, on our grounds are medal animals and it is very exciting to stalk into the herd with his constant roaring, rushing about and mating. We regularly see fighting take place between two big stags, which is a spectacle in itself.
The stags roar is not unlike a cow and may end in a series of grunts, and both sexes will give a bark or grunt if alarmed or suspicious, often followed by a stamp of the hoof.
We hunt red stags generally during the rut adopting a spot and stalk method, although blinds and high seats may be used in some circumstances we feel a stalk on foot for this impressive animal is not only more exciting an adrenaline pumping, but is also more successful.
To secure a trophy red stag we recommend a 2/3 day hunt, for those wishing to spend more days, further trophies of roe and Muntjac can be taken. Please enquire for us to arrange your perfect combined hunting trip in the UK.
Method of hunting normally done by spot and stalk. On occasion shots may be taken from a high seat or blind.
Morning pick-up to search for suitable beasts from the vehicle. Reconnaisance will have been undertaken in the weeks running up to your hunt to determine where the largest bucks are either feeding or holding territories, depending on the time of year. Once a beast has been spotted we will make our approach on foot until we are in a suitable firing position. Shots will be normally be taken under 150 meters.
- Same hunting methods as day 1.
- Can also accommodate day-trips if required.
- Rifle/Ammunition Export/Import Permits To Uk*
- International Airfares
- Evening Meals And Alcoholic Drinks
- Items Of A Personal Nature
- Tips For Personnel
- Rifles And Ammo May Be Rented At £50/Day
Cost of hunting tour includes:
- Transfer To / From Stanstead Airport
- 1 Muntjac Trophy, To Selected Standard
- Transfer To/From The Hunting Ground
- Transfer In The Hunting Area
- All Accommodation And Lodging
- All Services Of Personal Guides
- Breakfast And Lunch On Days Of Hunting
- Trophy Preparation And Packing