Stalking- Rifles and instruction

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by CasinoBoyale, Mar 17, 2011.

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  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm thinking about taking up stalking (the deer kind...) at some point in the not-too-distant future, and was wondering if the denziens of ARRSE could offer a liitle advice. Firstly, what is the best way to get some instruction in the discipline? would it, for example, be worth finding a ghillie willing to teach his art, or are there courses that can be done? Secondly, is it worth getting a rifle of my own to begin with? As I'm not yet old enough to hold a FAC, it would probably have to go on my father's ticket, but what would you suggest to be the best caliber, and indeed the best rifle for a beginner like me? I do rather like the look of a H&H magazine rifle in .308, but at 'London' prices, I probably couldn't quite stretch to that on my budget...


  2. For a course, get some experience under your belt first, then get DSC 1 (then 2)

    For experience, always best is through friends, family initially and then find out how to do it properly. Plenty of people on here go stalking but going accompanied ie getting someone to take you out free or for a small fee is hard imx

    Use the 'estate rifle' exemption in the '88 Act. effectively, go stalking with someone on land they have permission to shoot over and use their rifle. Once you know whether you like it, apply for FAC

    I always think .308/7.62mm is the best overall, but it is horses for courses eg whether you are going for Roe, muntjac, fallow, red, sika or CWD you might want something less or more powerful.
  3. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Personally there isnt anything in the UK that cant be killed cleanly by the 6.5 swede pigs included. Its just a ridiculous BASC recommendation that ACPO slavishly use. I would have a go with friends first. Try anbd get some range time in with the rifle you will stalk with and then do a live stalk. There are many courses and despite what the police say it isnt mandatory to take training yet. try and get a ticket without training and see where it gets you though!
    now think about whether you will need to buy stalking, if those places will want paper certificates and then consider what will suit you best. if you have access to ground but no FAC and the police insist upon training then any non lantra stalker trainer will be happy to relieve you of cash. You may want to consider St Huberts club, they are the best at the sport without a doubt. if you can get buy without formal paper work then crack on but from the day you start keep a shooting diary, dates times weather locations animals seen even if not taken. It helps to prove that you are experienced. Photos are a must and try and get the stalker to sign off your entries.
  4. I'd agree with Ugly that St Huberts are the best, but I've also found them rather 'elitist.' Then again, they want to preserve their standards. I'd also accept Ugly's point re training, ie don't need it for FAC, but can be hard to get FAC without it.

    6.5mm (Swiss, not Italian) will do anything in GB. However, it is easier to get hold of 7.62mm/.308 and if you want a quarry rifle and target shooting as well, it's cheaper to run. As we both agree, go with someone for quite a while, get the stalks and getting bored senseless in a high seat under your belt and get yourself a few confirmed 'kills.' As you can tell, I prefer stalking (deer and other live quarry) to high seat shooting.

    All you then need is regular access to land or book a shoot a year via the adverts in Shooting Times etc. and apply. Once you've got DSC 1, they should also allow use on any land that you deem suitable. Some plod may insist on DSC 2, but as above, it's guidance, not law.
  5. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    If you are on an economy drive then Privi do 139 grain 6.5 swede at the same price as .308. It also is a more stable round, recoils less and is a nice alternative to the .243 which can be lacking over distance in the wind.
    My first new stalking rifle was a CZ550FS in 6.5 x 55 topped with S&B 1.5 to 4 x 20 and its filled the freezer many times. Plod cant legally insist upon any training but can put so many restrictions in your way that even BASC wont argue, after all why should they as they run about a 3rd of all the training courses.
    If you can shoot for a year accompanied then build up a portfolio and get photos and signatures and you will have a case for deer on your FAC. I took a 2 day local estate run course over 10 years ago and its an improved version of that which I use now. I have used the DSC material and I use a couple of level 2 assesor mates to help with classes but 4 days on the range and in a classroom doesnt make you a stalker. It just allows the plod to start moving the boundary. My courses revolve around getting out and experiencing the stalk, only half a day in class, some range work and 2 live stalks. The DSC1 students dont get a single stalk under their belt for all that money they pay!
    I also get asked to mentor people. I never have more than 3 or 4 on my books at a time and it can take a year even if the stalker has DSC1 and his own rifle. I had 1 qualified stalker to mentor that couldnt manage to buy a rifle without getting a lemon for a whole year. Worst of all he refused all advise. i told the police that I couldnt sign him off and he should go elsewhere. he had a DSC1 and was somehow a qualified stalker!
    Best thing is to find out what the local stalking is like and how the police are with stalkers.
  6. I'd agree with Ugly on that. I've also seen the reverse ie a very experienced stalker who managed quite a few hectares containing red, roe and fallow (Norfolk/Suffolk) fail the course I was on. With nerves, the shoot isn't that easy either, some also failed that.
    Which force do you come under CasinoBoyale? Some can be quite **** whilst others are practical imx. Judging by your avatar, it's one of the Welsh ones?

    As for rifles and ammo, I'm sure Ugly and I can argue the merits (and demerits) until the cows come home. As I said before, it's horses for courses. I can't abide reloading, much better things to do with my life ........... :)
  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Your stalking doesnt have to be local, it can be easier when getting land cleared for a new FAC holder if it is!I hate shooting tests, I try to make them as relaxed and fun as possible but keeping them as realistic as possible. there is a lot to be learnt from shooting from different positions and distances which doesnt get practised enough. I tell the students its training for them and dont tell them its a test until they have passed. That way they dont even know they have to be pressured and just relax and enjoy it!
    DSC1 was touted as the great test but it isnt and its often not targetted well. Its an NVQ without the paperwork (as they didnt have enough NVQ qualified assessors and trainers when it was written) and it may yet become one. We tried to get our course recognised as an NVQ but Lantra has already sown up that avenue so we just sell it as an introduction course to woodland stalking and the rozzers are happy. They cant (until its law) mandate who trains you to what standard so its down to the individual and his plod to agree.I suspect eventually I will be legislated out but until then I hope to have trained enough stalkers without a 300 exam question book using experience to teach and slowly impress upon other organisations that there is more than one way!
    One of the reasons I like St Huberts club is the long apprenticeship and the other is there "No thanks" attitude to the cross recognition of DSC1 and its pack them in, commercially led 4 day stalker factory mentality.
    If elitist is bad then fine dont dabble, I'm sure I wouldnt fit in but then I dont feel the need. I sell the St Huberts Shop a few stalking items so I have a happy enough relationship with them.I'm more your independant book a week in the hills type than go with a big firm!
    its just a pity that the Stalking directory is domoinated by shouty "I've a level 2 pass" types who seem to be badge hunting but then they would only collet something else wouldnt they and every stalker in the country is a potential customer so the more the merrrier!
  8. Couldn't agree more, most of my stalking shots (and kills I hasten to add) have been taken standing unsupported
    I wish, hate exams. Might go for your course end of this year, beginning of next. Where are you again? Sussex/Hampshire way?
    Must admit, I thought it was NVQ 1 with DSC 2 as NVQ level 2?
    From memory they only have 1,000 members and it's by invite only. Never bothered one way or the other to be honest, only in discussions with friends/work colleagues who are members. Their course sounds quite hard to be honest or at least harder than DSC 1 and 2.
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Sussex and I believe the course of training to achieve trained stalker status takes on average 5 years!
  10. Sussex? How you getting on with Carol? Better than Brian? :) For St Huberts? Not sure about that, mate did the course assesments/tests over a few weeks. Might have done the probationary test I suppose, never went into it in that much detail as he let me down on some land in Norfolk
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Carol is ok, Brian was a pain and Rodney was great. Carol did cock me about over my RFD but apart from that good as gold. I see a lot more interesting variations coming through with less grief and I did a one for one by e mail (turned round overnight) as the post office lost my 101 and FAC!
    There are still a couple of loons as FEOs but my local one is good as gold and the admin staff at lewes are worth their weight in gold.
  12. Nice to know. Must get hold of Rodney, he and I go way back
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    St Huberts training, try and fit that into less than about 5 years
    What I liked most about Rodney was his attitude and professionalism during some very difficult times for the department and the shooting sports. He never failed to stick to the letter of the law unlike his predecessor! More like him please!
  14. Seems logical he did entrant then novice in a short while. He then had a heart attack, so not sure how far he progressed.

    Edited to add: Even 'qualified stalker' is encouraged to complete DMQ 1 and 2.
  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    There used to be a seperate PDMQ which was for estate managers dealing with stalkers. It went by the wayside, When DSC1 was first mooted they granted grandfather rights to certain clubs, organisations and courses but St Huberts felt that their trained stalker exceeded level 2 (quite rightly in my opinion) and ignored the chance to get automatic qualification cross recognition. Before xmas Lantra pushed them again by offering grandfather rights again and again they ignored them. They are better than 4 days in a classroom and 5 witnessed stalks. Still its horses for courses. If I was offered would I bother? Not sure really and not sure if I want to get my course recognised as it would mean more paperwork and time so cost more. I do use level 2 assesors as I said before and they are both D32 and 33 NVQ bods.
    I'll bimble along bringing stalking to those who dont need DSC1!