Red deer (cervus elaphus) are native to Assynt, the species having migrated to the British Isles from Europe about 11,000 years ago. They are the largest land mammal in the British Isles. Before our purchase of the Glencanisp and Drumrunie Estates in 2005, the estates were run along traditional Scottish Highland sporting estates lines, where the deer herd was managed to produce the best trophy antler stags for the landowner and his guests to shoot.
In the autumn, the hills echo with the calls of the stags assembling and keeping a group of hinds to mate with. This is one of the great glories of the Scottish Highlands. You can safely enjoy seeing and listening to this even while hunting is going on, as long as you stick to the tracks through our estates during the hunting season.
Deer stalking for stags (males) and hinds (females) is available on the Estates, but the hunting is managed with the conservation of the whole estates in mind, rather than to produce the biggest trophy heads on the stags (only stags grow antlers). Our deer herd needs to be managed to fit in with our overall conservation objectives for the land we own, as part of the Deer Management Plan agreed through the West Sutherland Deer Management Group, so we selectively shoot the appropriate numbers of stags and hinds and of certain age groups each year to maintain the right balance. And because it is one of the few sources of income and employment the high ground can produce for the Foundation, as well as being a traditional land use, we still carry on the practice of letting deer stalking with a rifle by the day to competent hunters, under close supervision.
By Scottish law, red deer stalking must be with a high-powered rifle, in daylight and during the appropriate hunting season – 1st July to 20th October for stags, and 21st October to 15th February for hinds.
Our stalking is open to everyone who is a competent hunter – you don’t have to be a millionaire or have friends in high places to shoot on our estates. But red deer stalking in the Scottish Highlands is in high demand and there are only a small number of days available each season, so if you want to hunt on our estates, be prepared to book early with our independent deer manager –
Mr Robert McHardy of Robert McHardy Deer Stalking
Tel: 07876 194489
He can also arrange your accommodation.
Everyone stalking deer on our land will be required to prove their skill with rifle shooting and safe handling. They will be accompanied while out stalking by a professional guide to ensure safety and good hunting practice, and to ensure any deer shot help meet our management plan. Hunters will also need to be fit and healthy, as lots of walking, scrambling, and crawling will be involved, all without any certainty of shooting anything unless the hunting gods and the weather are on your side. Some say winter hunting for hinds is more challenging than hunting stags, as the hinds are warier than the stags and the winter weather conditions are tougher for the hunter, and it takes a special kind of hunter to hunt for the hunt’s sake, as there will definitely be no trophy antlers to take home at the successful end of a hind stalk.
All the meat from deer shot on our estates goes into the human food chain. Wild venison is about the healthiest meat you can eat. In fact, practically nothing goes to waste, as just about every part of the deer has a use for something, even if it is not edible.