Having your own lease or arrangement with a landowner to enable you to stalk on your “own” piece of ground is the ultimate aim of many stalkers and we get a lot of enquiries about how to go about finding your own stalking ground.
The principles and guidance on this page are equally relevant if you are negotiating for ground with your local landowner or a private woodland company.
Firstly, find out who owns the land on which you are interested in managing the deer. Always ensure that you dress sensibly and are polite and good mannered, similar to a job interview. Talk to the landowner as to what you want to do over the land, and show him how responsible and trustworthy you are.
As a BASC member, remember to tell the farmer that you have insurance and take shooting safety very seriously. Landowners have always been reluctant to allow “strangers” on their land for fear of damages or insurance claims but having insurance can be the difference between gaining a permission to shoot or not.
Have a card or something similar with your contact details on to leave with the landowners as they will be very reluctant to make a decision on the spot and will rather say “no” than a rushed “yes”. Having the opportunity to call you back after they have had time to think about it may change their minds.
If you are lucky enough to gain some stalking permission, remember to respect the farmer’s/ landowner’s wishes and not to take advantage. Farmers quite often see a few deer around and call it hundreds, so be prepared to turn out to go stalking when you know for a fact there may be few there. Just showing willing will appease him and ensure you hold onto your permission. Remember when speaking to landowners that you are offering deer management, not asking for ground to go shooting on: the two are very different.
There are also a number of on-line forums that may also be a good place to try looking for stalking ground and syndicates, such as The Stalking Directory. These forums are a good place to look for companies/ guides that offer stalking too (for a price). As demand for stalking ground is becoming greater, the ground on which people can do so for free is becoming dangerously scarce so paying for the privilege may soon be the only way to go stalking. With this in mind, if you do get some permission then look after it.
Finally, remember to act within Best Practice and the links here can help in preparing a management plan etc with the landowner.