Here at Hunting Scotland, we pride ourselves on the wide range of activities we offer; from deer stalking to pigeon shooting and everything in between. However, we are also keenly aware of the need to ensure that all our hunting activities are undertaken responsibly. The aim is to preserve and conserve the wildlife of this stunning countryside, not hunt them to oblivion. With that in mind, it’s important to know and follow the hunting seasons set for different kinds of game. If you’re considering a hunting trip, and you have a particular game in mind, check out our slideshare below to choose the right time for your visit.
For more information on our expertly guided hunting in Scotland, why not call us on 01786 833200 to speak to a member of our team?
Venison; it’s widely accepted as one of the healthiest and tastiest meats available, its depth of flavour belying its incredible leanness and low fat content. Despite this, in Britain we eat surprisingly little venison and here at Hunting Scotland we want this to change.
One of the main things that stands in the way of more of us trying venison is that we are not sure of exactly how to cook it. With this in mind we thought that seeing as we offer deer hunting in Scotland we should also share some of our nous for cooking this magnificent meat.
This recipe is a rework of the classic beef wellington but utilises the deep gamey flavour of venison to counteract the buttery pastry.
700g trimmed loin of venison (a uniform thickness will cook much better)
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp English mustard (Dijon also works well)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g chestnut mushrooms, very finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
2 tbsp brandy
150g slices prosciutto
375g pack all-butter puff pastry (don’t bother making your own, it’s a pain!)
2 egg yolks, beaten
Sear the venison on all sides until it is thoroughly sealed (should take around 6-8 minutes), once this is done brush it with the mustard and set aside to cool (any juices should be retained for a jus)
For the puree, melt the butter and soften the shallots. Once they become soft add in the mushrooms and herbs, and cook for 10 minutes until the mixture resembles a paste. Add the brandy and a little seasoning. Allow to evaporate and then set aside to cool.
Lay out a piece of cling film and place the slices of prosciutto onto it, slightly overlapping, and then spread the paste all over it to create a thin and even layer. Once complete, place the venison onto the paste and (using the cling film) roll the lot into a ballotine type roll. Set in the fridge to cool.
Place your pastry onto a lightly floured surface, place the rolled prosciutto onto the pastry and then bring the whole lot together into a parcel and chill it for an hour.
Brush with the beaten egg, place on a tray and into a preheated oven at 200°c.
About 30-40 minutes later your venison wellington is ready to serve and is sure to impress even the most discerning of dinner party guests
Stay tuned to our blog for more great recipes and other articles in the near future, and for more information on our hunting trips, don’t hesitate to contact us today and our friendly team will be more than happy to help.
Archery has been a favoured sport for generations, widely practiced across the globe, and here in Scotland it’s no different. Though the stationary target shooting is very popular amongst the masses, we thought we’d tell you about the other types of archery you can take part in.
Where archery is concerned, safety is vital, in fact it is paramount to being able to play the sport without harming anybody else. Bows and arrows barely make a sound when shot, so it’s important that you keep your eyes and ears open when walking across an archery range, normally they will have signs spread out around their shooting range to warn you that they’re shooting. Clout shooting is slightly different. You may not see the target before you walk onto the range, this is due to the target being laid flat on the floor.
Clout shooting is played by shooting up at the sky and allowing gravity to pull the arrow back down to earth. Sound simple enough? It’s harder than it sounds. When taking your stance, make sure your feet are set hip distance apart and not boxed (one foot placed further forwards than the other) in order to give you a stable, parallel stance. Draw your string back to your face, feeling the edge of your fingers under your chin. Making sure your shoulders are parallel and your back is vertical, carefully bend your back leg and aim entire body up by 45 degrees. Never aim straight up, the arrow will simply fall back onto you and the last thing you want is to be shot by your own arrow!
Ensure there is not a strong breeze before you shoot, so that your arrow can stay on a straight course.
Once you’ve released, hold your stance for a second to make sure the arrow is completely free before you relax your stance and wait for your arrow to fall.
Typically, for this kind of archery, you wouldn’t use a compound bow to shoot clout. A recurb or long bow are much better suited, as this type of archery is less about precision and more about your body angle.
Field archery is a much more hunting-based type of shooting. Played in forests and woodlands, field archery is aimed at hitting 3D targets of animals from behind trees, over shrubbery and the tops of hills. It gives you the thrill of shooting from different angles, playing heavily on your aim and technique and footing. It also sharpens your sight, arrows bury themselves in the earth or embed themselves into tree trunks, hidden by leaves and branches. It’s advisable – though not necessary – to wrap your arrows in neon colours in order to help them stand out from the forest floor.
This type of archery is, again, suitable for non-sighted recurb and long bow archers, rather than compound bows and sighted recurbs. The different angles and positions you undertake with field archery don’t allow for set distances; you could shoot one target from fifty feet away and the next at twenty-five feet, making it very hard to set your sight accordingly.
Though, if you’re new to archery, you wish to improve your technique or you simply want a more straightforward shooting experience, we at Hunting Scotland offer you target shooting. Though this may not be as physically challenging as field or clout archery, it’s by no means any less thrilling, so, if you would like to get a taste of this traditional hunting sport, you can contact us today on 07836 638774 to find out more about our archery practice.
Scotland is as famed for its landscapes as it is for its wildlife – but unless you’re Richard Hannay, you’re unlikely to see the many beautiful sights our countryside has to offer without going off the beaten track. And that’s precisely why, in addition to offering deer hunting in Scotland, we also provide the most adventurous scenic route you’ll ever take, in the form of our 4×4 off-roading.
In the days of yore, when the dawn of man was but beginning, and the skies burnt black, the only way to really experience everything Scotland had to offer was to saddle up on the back of a Highland pony. Now, of course, we’ve quad bikes and 4x4s to traverse the hills and gulleys – which mean you can see and do far more, and in great company too.
There are parts of this fair country that are as wild today as they were a hundred years ago. We aim to open up those landscapes with our 4×4 off-road services. There’s something simply magical about taking off beyond the beaten path – off-roading is all about discovering the true spirit of adventure, and no location in the world as ripe for such feats as Scotland.
In fact, we firmly believe that going off-road in Scotland is well-suited to forming a part of the complete hunting package. Coming hunting with us here is about learning new skills, and honing old ones – careening across the Scottish hills is certainly a skill one should have if intending to become a pro hunter. After all, the fauna you’re hunting here aren’t always to be found along those well-covered roads – they’re out in the natural world; they can be found off-road.
The Ultimate Off-Road Experience
If you’ve ever dreamed of bouncing across the wild regions of Scotland, or simply to get away from it all, then off-roading has got to be the choice for you. Everyone wants something different from their off-roading jaunt – that’s why we’re as flexible as possible, to ensure you get exactly the type of adventure you’ve been craving along our off-road routes. All you need to do is contact us on 07836 638 774 and we’ll take you places you’ve never been before!
It’s not just deer hunting in Scotland that we offer here at Hunting Scotland – we offer a veritable feast of activities, including archery. It’s a sport that’s been popular for centuries, and popularised by that legendary and infamous outlaw of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and, latterly, The Lord of the Rings’ Legolas.
Of course, it’s unlikely that even the most skilled of archers can leap atop a mumakil while slaying orcs with a bow and arrow – and it’s certainly not a service we can offer! But if you fancy yourself as an archer, we offer a great service that’ll teach you how to really take aim, whether for sporting or hunting purposes.
How to Ready
The first steps of such an undertaking is knowing how to actually shoot a bow and arrow – and, as with traditional firearms, it begins with your stance.
You should stand upright, without slouching or hunching, at a 90-degree angle to the target. Your feet need to be about a shoulder width apart.
Take hold of your bow with a relaxed grip that’s neither too soft, nor too firm, or else it’ll impede your shooting. You need to feel that you’re in control of the bow.
With the bow turned horizontally, place the arrow on the arrow shelf, with one of lodged against the string. Once it’s secure, you can bring the bow back to a vertical position.
How to Aim
The position of your fingers is crucial to controlling the bow and arrow, and striking your target. The fingers of your dominant hand should be level, with the index finger resting above the arrow. The string now needs to be snug between the upper crease of your fingers.
Time to draw. Raise your arms, keeping them firmly straight, and using your back muscles, pull the string back to the point where your hand meets your chin and the string practically tickles your nose.
Now, staring down the arrow – as you would the barrel of a gun – line up the arrow’s head with the centre of your target.
How to Fire
Now fire! To do so, simply slip your fingers from the tense string. Maintain your upright position even after the arrow has been flung from its perch.
Of course, these are only the basics of archery – and there’s nothing quite like performing the act for real. To feel the string tense as you prepare yourself to strike the target. So what are you waiting for, contact us on 07836 638 774 and discover the joys of archery for yourself.
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of firearms knows about the trigger. And thanks to pop culture such as films and video games, they probably know a gun has sights too. But there’s a whole lot more to a shotgun than first meets the eye. In fact, there are a fair few different types of shotguns anyway.
Do you know the difference between a traditional pump-action shotgun and its semi-automatic counterpart? A double- or a single-barrel? Want to know what difference it makes to successful shooting? Then read on, because today, we’re going to put shotguns under the microscope and study the components of these guns.
Types of Shotgun
Back to our original question: The difference between a pump-action shotgun and a semi-automatic (sometimes known as an auto-loader).
The difference between the two is largely a case of how the gun loads cartridges after each shot.
That familiar, gentle cu-click as you literally pump the cartridge out of position means, of course, that you’re dealing with a pump-action shotgun. By pumping the shotgun after every shot fired, you eject the spent cartridge, leaving the gun clear to be loaded with the next round.
With a semi-automatic shotgun, you manually load all of the cartridges before firing. With every squeeze of the trigger, the gun uses the force of the gas to load the next cartridge – hence, semi-automatic.
Parts of the Shotgun
There are lots of parts of a shotgun, but let’s look at the most important, starting with…
The barrel is probably the most iconic part of a shotgun. Different shotguns have different barrel lengths – the ‘tube’ the pellets travel down – which alter the quality of use. For instance, a short barrel allows the shooter more manoeuvrability, and that makes them perfect for unpredictable quarry. A longer barrel, on the other hand, is better for predictable prey, due to its smooth, weighty swing.
Chokes vary from shotgun to shotgun, and affects how the shot scatters. The three main chokes are ‘full’, ‘modified’ and ‘improved’. With an improved or modified choke, you’ll have a wider spread, making it less accurate; a full choke focuses the shot, but lacks the range of the latter. The widest shot possible comes from shotguns without a choke, and is known as a cylinder bore.
The Bore or Gauge
The bore or gauge of a shotgun refers to the diameter of the barrel – but don’t be fooled, this isn’t a measurement like an inch, say, or millimetres, as is common with other types of firearms. Rather, the shotgun’s bore is determined by the number of lead balls, the same size as the barrel’s diameter, it takes to equal one pound. So a 12-bore shotgun holds 12 lead balls to one pound.
The butt is the end of the shotgun, which is pressed against the shooter’s shoulder to steady the shot and maintain control over the firearm.
Parts of a Cartridge
Shotgun cartridges are made in a whole range of materials, but each of them has the same basic construction. There are six main parts to a shotgun cartridge, and these are…
The Hull or Case
The hull or case is basically the body of the cartridge. This is what holds it all together.
This is the meat of the cartridge. Either the shot will be a single shot – known as a slug – or it’ll be a whole load of densely compacted pellets. Sometimes these are plastic, others are made of metal.
Maintaining the shot’s durability as it’s fired, the wad is what separates the shot from…
The Powder Charge
When the powder charge burns, it releases the gases required to fire the shot. And that only happens because…
Pulling the trigger launches the firing pin. When the firing pin hits the cartridge’s primer, it kick-starts the process of shooting.
Understanding how a shotgun works, and what each part does is absolutely crucial to successful shooting. After all, you wouldn’t drive a car without knowing what the pedals do. If you feel you’re ready to experience real deer hunting in Scotland, then our professional and experienced team are ready to help. Simply contact us on 01786 833 200 and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements.
Hunting is a large part of Scottish heritage and tradition, deer hunting in Scotland is a very popular experience, but this is the only form of hunting that you can try your hand at; birds offer a whole different hunting experience that allows you to develop your skills further. Shooting birds requires; skill, discipline and patience – it is a unique experience.
So, what birds are traditionally hunted in the area and what can you experience here at Hunting Scotland? Well, let’s what we’re going to share with you…
Hunting woodcock is challenging which is why this experience is so enjoyable. This species of bird is truly fascinating; they are migrants and are found throughout Europe. The woodcock is an interesting wading bird; it is large and bulky in stature, however due to its camouflaged plumage it is often difficult to spot. This bird is nocturnal and feeds in the evening, which is why hunting them can be quite tricky.
During the winter, many ducks migrate to Scotland – there are a range of different species. Duck hunting can be challenging as ducks are an aquatic bird, often seeking large expanses of water. This bird can be easily frightened, especially by gunshot like most other animals, therefore patience and gentility is required. The majority of ducks found in Scotland are wild and will often flock around the countryside. This bird is a joy to hunt.
Unfortunately the partridge population was once in decline, however, now partridges are making a huge comeback. You may think that this would be a reason to NOT hunt partridge, but it is because of gamekeepers that the population of this bird is now flourishing. Hunting this bird is thoroughly enjoyable, however, practise is needed before you hit one of these birds, but there is no better feeling than improving this skill.
The grey partridge is a plump bird and can be identified by its orange face. As a ground bird, they are often camouflaged by grasses, hedges and other flora. You will often find partridges areas such as meadows and woodland; they are smaller in stature than a pheasant so don’t confuse the two.
Pigeon shooting is one of the most traditional forms of hunting – it has been enjoyed by hunters for many many years. Hunting pigeons is an enjoyable experience, and it doesn’t just involve picking up a gun and firing, it is more artistic than that. First you will need to set up a decoy and allow the pigeons to come close to your whereabouts; you must learn not to be hasty and have the patience to wait for this bird to come close to you before firing. Pigeons are found throughout the world; they aren’t the most exotic bird, but they make an excellent prey.
Wild Grey Geese
If you’ve come up close and personal with a goose, you’ll know that they aren’t the friendliest of creatures as they are very protective of their young. Wild grey geese offer great sport, however, they are usually found here in the winter time so it can be quite a cold experience. The pink footed goose can be identified by their grey plumage and pink feet – hunting geese is a unique experience that will provide you with a number of skills.
Famous Grouse is not the only type of grouse to be enjoyed in Scotland, hunting grouse is another part of Scottish hunting heritage. Grouse hunting in Scotland is carefully managed, as their habitat needs to be protected so that they can rear chicks. Grouse are beautiful plump game birds; they favour moor land and fields. The grouse hunting experience is often very sociable as they are a ground dwelling bird that enjoy open space.
Hunting pheasant is always a favourite amongst hunters. The hunting season for pheasants begins in October. This bird is beautiful; the males can be identified by a dark, autumnal, chestnut brown plumage and black markings across the face and tails. Females appear to be much paler. Pheasants aren’t naturally from the UK, but were introduced a long time ago.
As you can see, there are many different birds that you can enjoy hunting, here at Hunting Scotland. If you would like more information about our hunting trips, please do get in contact with our exceptional team who will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.
Call us on 01786 833200 or 07836 638774 to speak to us today.
Ten years ago this week, the Hunting Act was introduced to England and Wales, bringing an end to traditional fox hunting with dogs amidst great controversy. A decade on, many still debate what the Act achieved, and how successful it has actually been.
At the time, the passing of the Act was surrounded by protests, some of them violent, as hunt supporters clashed with anti-hunt protestors. On its third reading, protestors staged the first invasion of the House of Commons chamber since 1641. There was also some controversy over the Act’s passing, as in order to do so the Speaker of the House of Commons used a rare legislative device to allow the House of Commons to overrule the House of Lords, who had been accused of undemocratically blocking the bill. It was only the seventh statute since 1911 to be passed in that way.
Those in favour of the hunt cited the damage that a ban might do to rural economies, whilst those in favour of the ban said that hunting with hounds in this way was unnecessarily cruel.
It was by far the first attempt to enact such a ban; as far back as 1949, members of parliament have proposed bills to restrict or ban the activity. Even today, ten years on from the ban, there have been discussions as to whether it should remain illegal – however, opinion polls show that overall the ban is a popular one.
Of course, here in Scotland a similar ban had already been passed two years earlier; under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, traditional fox hunting and hare coursing with hounds was made illegal. This has not had a hugely adverse effect on the pastime of hunting in Scotland – indeed, there are new fox hunting groups which have been set up in Scotland since the ban was instated, simply operating differently in order to comply with the legislation. Some hunts, for example, now operate trail hunting, in which an artificial trail is laid for the hunt to follow instead of tracking a live animal. This can be laid by a runner, taking turns and twists to ensure an interesting route for the hunt.
The key concern, in both Scottish legislation and in the law in England and Wales, is to prevent unnecessary cruelty to the foxes or game; if they are hunted down and killed by the dogs, it can be a drawn out and unpleasant experience. This does not mean that hunting with dogs is completely illegal, however. Hounds are still legally used in certain hunting activities; for example, in the practice of flushing game from cover in order to allow shooting, and to act as retrievers for shot game.
Hunting is, and has always been, an important part of rural life; it’s vital to ensure the control of pest species, and to maintain the health of both farmed animals and the wild population of certain native mammals. It can also be an exciting, challenging and fulfilling sport – however, we can all agree that it should always be carried out mindfully, and never with excessive cruelty.
By taking into account the precise restrictions of the law and working with it instead of against it, hunting can still be enjoyed without breaking any regulations or causing unnecessary cruelty to animals.
Here at Hunting Scotland, all of our hunting activities from rough shooting to deer hunting in Scotland are operated with the utmost respect to the animals and birds involved and to the law that protects them. Our highly trained gamekeepers and deer stalkers work hard to ensure that you can enjoy a sustainable, ethical day’s hunting in line with the current legislations.
For more information on our hunting activities, or to make a booking, get in touch with us on 01786 833200 today.
Plenty of people come to Scotland for the tailor-made hunting trips across the beautiful, scenic countryside. That’s why thousands come here – the rough shooting, bird shooting and deer hunting in Scotland is second-to-none. No landscape anywhere else on Earth, after all, offers such magnificent views, and a more perfect ground to hunt on.
Of course, when booking a hunting trip with us, whether it’s grabbing a mixed bag rough shooting, or practicing your aim with pigeon shooting, we always offer experienced shooters for your party. But sometimes it’s nice to get a little knowledge in preparation for your visit to Scotland. So that’s why, today, we’re going to be taking a look at a few tips for shotgun shooting, so even the most inexperienced shooter can get a grip on what’s required before their trip. Take aim…
There are a few different stances when shooting a shotgun. One of the most enduring and popular is the Stanbury. When standing in the Stanbury position, the front leg will be held straight, while the heel of the back leg is kicked back slightly, so there’s a forward lean. There’s a reason the Stanbury is a classic – it works, with the front leg acting as a pivot which allows shooters to swing the gun into position at a moment’s notice. And that’s pretty handy when pigeon shooting and the like. Every part of you needs to be loose enough for comfortable shooting, and firm enough to maintain control.
The position of the shotgun is absolutely crucial to good shooting. Hold it wrong and you risk, at best, missing your target, and at worst, breaking bones in your body. Bring the gun butt up and into the pocket of your shoulder – and hold it steady. Maintaining a firm grip means you’ll have more control over the shotgun when you fire. If you’re holding the shotgun loose, it’s going to recoil and shatter your shoulder – and that’s going to cause some serious pain. Rest your cheek to the shotgun stock, as this gives you a perfect sightline down the barrel. Until you’re ready to shoot, keep your finger well away from the trigger.
Ok, so you want to shoot. But are you ready? There’s an old adage when it comes to guns, which you’ve probably heard in the movies more than once. ‘Don’t pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger.’ And that can make all the difference. When pulling the trigger, you risk jerking the gun and missing the target, as it’s not just the trigger, but the whole firearm that moves. Place the pad of your finger on the trigger, squeezing firmly, as you would a gentleman’s handshake. Nothing else should move – it might take some practice, but only the trigger should be in motion if you want to strike your target.
Two Eyes Open
In films, you’ll often see the hero squinting one eye down the barrel of the gun. That’s a one-way ticket to zero confirmed kills. Those who aren’t experienced in shooting may also close their eyes the moment the shotgun goes off. Both of these are rookie mistakes which can easily be overcome with a little practice. Keep both eyes open – it allows far greater depth-of-field, which means you’ll be able to accurately judge where your target is, and where you need to shoot – and keep your eyes on the target. In that sense, it’s a bit like golf: don’t watch the club, watch the ball.
Ready to visit Scotland and hunt? Then here at Hunting Scotland, we’re ready and willing to serve. These may only be the raw basics, but our professional shooters are on-call to help once you arrive at the lodge. We specialise in all types of shooting, from rough shooting, and deer hunting, to pigeon shooting for those looking to improve their aim on moving targets. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07836 638 774 and we’d be delighted to assist with all of your enquiries.
Hunting is a long standing tradition that takes place right across the world. Of course, hunting used to be necessary to survival, now it’s more about skill and bonding. As hunting is a worldwide activity, it’s unsurprising that there are a number of longstanding traditions; these traditions have been influenced by religion and ancient culture.
So we’re going to take a look at some of the interesting traditions from around the world – but don’t worry, we won’t make you do any of these…
Of course we had to start with Scotland. Hunting here is such an exhilarating experience, which isn’t surprising in such breathtaking scenery. Much of hunting here is about reading the wind direction correctly and silently stalking your prey skilfully. Traditionally when a deer was shot, it would be taken down the hill by a pony boy, he would take the deer back to the property where the hunting party would gather.
Hunting in Germany is considered a huge honour; hunters will often spend much of their time studying the wildlife and the countryside where they will be hunting their chosen game. In fact you need to study for an entire year to become a hunter – knowledge is key! When animals are killed on a hunt, animals are laid on their right side in a ceremonial manner, and in size order. Each hunter will then lay a branch on each animal’s belly.
Hunting in North America was considered to be quite a spiritual experience; the Native American’s believed that everything taken from the Earth must be given back. They believe that animals and plants had spirits and were filled with a spiritual power; therefore ceremonies were performed whenever a hunt was required. They believed that if the animals were not treated with respect that they would starve and have a bad harvest.
There are many more hunting traditions from across the world, but don’t worry, you don’t have to abide by them however, it is fantastic to see how hunters respect the animal, and the area in which they are hunting – this is something we believe in at Hunting Scotland – respect for the animal and the surrounding environment.
At Hunting Scotland we can provide you with an exceptional hunting experience, so if you’re interested in deer hunting in Scotland, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our fantastic team who will be more than happy to help and provide you with all the advice that you need to be successful.