The Red Deer is one of the largest deer species and can be found across most of Europe, and in other parts of the world too. The meat of a red deer, venison, is widely used as a food source to the extent that red deer farming now exists.
In Scotland, there is a healthy red deer population. Figures vary, but there are estimated to be between 500,000 – 750,000 red deer in Scotland. Although red deer traditionally lived in forests, they have adapted their habitat and behaviour in Scotland as the forests declined. They are now found mostly in glens and on mountains across the Highlands, Islands and Lowlands of Scotland.
Red deer stalking plays an important part in rural lifestyles in Scotland. As well as helping control the red deer population, it provides valuable economic benefits to isolated communities across Scotland, especially in the Highlands and Islands.
Red deer stalking is a traditional field sport, and the stalkers who take clients stalking are steeped in tradition. A stalk often takes most of the day as you hike through the mountains to find the deer. The stalker will then select which deer is to be shot, taking account of the health of the herd. After the kill, many estates still use the traditional method of bringing the deer back to base, by strapping it to the back of a pony and walking it back down.
A red deer stalk in Scotland is certainly a special experience, and one which you will never forget.