Big game

Hind stalking

Author: Sam Thompson

Whilst some might consider it the poorer cousin of stag stalking, stalking red hinds is a sport for the true hunter.

(Photo credit: Will King) With deer stalking one of the fastest growing fieldsports in the UK, each year we see more and more novice stalkers heading above the Highland line to stalk red deer. As someone that makes their living from deer management, the hind season offers me the opportunity to stalk the animals that I have been watching closely throughout the stag season, and occasionally have vengeance on those old ladies that have caused so much bother during it as well! Red deer...

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Hunting ibex in the swiss alps

Author: Simon K. Barr

A hard-to-come-by hunt in the Swiss Alps creates memories that will last a lifetime.

Nearly a decade ago, I stayed in an Austrian castle, its walls adorned with architectural-looking alpine animal skulls. Perhaps the most intriguing of those was a goat-like creature, its crescent horns stretching far back, the ridges heavy and defined, like knuckles on a clenched fist. It was the most noble of all European game; a steinbock, often known as an alpine ibex. Its sheer magnificence sparked my imagination. This, surely, was the Marco Polo of Europe. That these wild and majestic...

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Hunting African spiral-horned antelopes

Author: Peter Ryan

Fascinating, difficult, elusive, sustainable and offering endless variety, the spiral-horned antelope species are incomparable – even in the hunting lands against which all others are measured.

The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil,” said Marcus Tullius Cicero, and he was right. The spiral-horned antelope of Africa – kudu, bushbuck, nyala and the rest – don’t wander into view. They appear. Nor do they flee in the manner of ordinary animals – they drift into nothingness even as you watch. For their elusiveness, majesty and stealth they stand among the top game species of that great continent. There are rare ones that demand a specialised...

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Stalking huge red stags

Author: Stuart Anderson-Wheeler

To the Mecca of trophy red stags, southeast Bulgaria, for the hunt of a lifetime.

I am lying in a primeval Bulgarian forest, propped as comfortably as possible against the base of what I think is an oak tree. Beside me is the owner of the concession, and my host, Alkhas Khametov. We are waiting for dawn, and the chance to stalk my personal holy grail of European game: the red stag. I can see almost nothing, but the sounds of the forest allow me to imagine my surroundings: I hear game breaking branches underfoot, trees creaking in the breeze, and the constant bark of roe...

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Ladies Macnab challenge

Author: Charlie Coups

What is the ultimate sporting achievement? Does it really get any better than completing a Macnab? Where better to find our first hand than Tulchan of Glenisla?

PHOTOGRAPHY  /  MARCUS JANSSEN & ROBERT DE MONTJOYE Being the only girl on the Fieldsports team had its advantages. A year ago, I’d been contacted by Lucie Boedts-Kuehnle – wife, mum of three, lawyer, taxidermy enthusiast, all-round country sports super-woman and founder of The Ladies’ Macnab Challenge – to ask if I would like to attempt my own Macnab. Excitingly, the invitation had also been extended to ex-Fieldsports editor, friend, and ‘honorary female’ Marcus Janssen....

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The unsuccessful hunt

In hunting, the outcome doesn’t determine the substance of the experience, it is just one detail of it, says Lady Katie Percy, as she reflects on her own experiences and considers the myriad other fulfilling factors.

I’m huddled in a forest in southern Bavaria, surrounded by old spruce trees. It’s snowing and I’m shivering. I’ve been waiting in this stand for nearly three hours and I’m longing for a piping hot bath and the weisswurst that I know are being prepared for dinner back at the house. I’m waiting for wild boar but resigning myself to the fact that it’s unlikely anything will come in these last 20 minutes. After two days in this forest, I will return home empty-handed from a...

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Himalayan tahr hunting

In search of true adventure, treading where few have been before, Simon K. Barr battles with a merciless lack of oxygen and the unforgiving terrain of the Himalayas in pursuit of one of the highest-living quarry species on the planet.

My plan to attempt the highest hunt in the world strangely had its origins in Nebraska, one of the flattest places I have visited. There, at Hornady’s hallowed headquarters, a bizarre-looking creature adorns the wall in the corridor not far from Jason Hornady’s office. It looks like no other caprid or ovide classification. Part goat, part sheep and a demeanour that would have inspired Tolkien. It is a blue sheep – or ‘bharal’ as they are known locally in the Himalayas. This fine...

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Hunting Himalayan blue sheep

Setting his mind to a seemingly impossible task, Simon K. Barr endures the most gruelling hunting experience of his life as he goes in pursuit of Himalayan blue sheep – an enriching adventure he will look back on for the rest of his life.

Altitude can kill – and the old adage ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ does not apply. Waking at just over 14,000ft is not pleasant – the chill sets in, sucking the warmth from your body, while your head throbs. Ibuprofen takes a little edge off the head, but does nothing for the nausea, the exhaustion and the sensation of weakness one encounters at high altitude. The thought that if I had just been that much fitter, put in a few more hours, prepared myself better, crossed...

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Unacceptably ethical

Author: Marcus Janssen

Trophy hunting is often completely misunderstood. The greatest threat to Africa’s wildlife isn’t hunting – it’s ignorance.

I find it remarkable how many people, even keen game Shots, consider trophy hunting to be completely unjustifiable. “But what's the difference between a grouse and a gazelle?” I will ask them. And I mean it – the justification behind game shooting in the UK is exactly the same as it is for hunting kudu, buffalo or even elephant in Southern Africa. The animal is humanely despatched and part of the substantial investment made by the hunter goes back into the management of that species...

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Muntjac in focus

Author: Sam Thompson

Swapping the Scottish Highlands for the south of England, Sam Thompson joins Rob Minty to learn more about the UK’s smallest deer species and its management.

I’ve found that one of the brilliant things about working in the deer industry is that some people just click with you immediately. Rob Minty is an ex-keeper turned self-employed deer stalker, and within a few minutes of chatting it became very clear that despite being based at opposite ends of the country, we have much in common. A burning passion – probable obsession – for deer is a rare thing, and it didn’t take long for a trip to be organised. Hailing from the north of England,...

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Safari 101

Author: Peter Ryan

There’s much to consider when planning an African hunting safari, but it’s often the small, simple things that really make the experience what it is, says Peter Ryan.

There is a recipe to writing about a first African hunt. Start with thornbush and sunsets, then spread thickly with rifles and calibres. Sprinkle with references to the Dark Content, the Big Five, white hunters and the ‘grey ghost.’ Top with a plug for your favourite outfitter and the whole stodgy cake is baked.  All good as far as it goes, but sadly it’s not much use to a beginner planning their first African trip. I waded through loads of it trying to plan my own maiden safari two...

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