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.
Deer stalking for stags (males) and hinds (females) is no longer available on the Estates, as the deer are now managed solely with the conservation of the whole estates in mind by our retained deer manager and his staff.
By Scottish law, red deer stalking must be with a high-powered rifle and during the appropriate hunting season - 21st October to 15th February for hinds. There is no longer a closed season for stags.
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.