A landscape of mountains on the Ilse of Arran
A landscape of mountains on the Ilse of Arran

Arran stalking scheme

BASC has been running a stalking scheme on the Isle of Arran for more than 10 years. The scheme has been under licence through Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS). The current licence expires on 31 March 2024 and, as a result of public procurement regulations, FLS will be re-tendering the deer stalking on Arran. 

BASC will be putting in a bid to be able to continue the Arran stalking scheme which has delivered across all outcomes – achieved deer control across the forest; contributed to the local economy; and developed the skills of our deer stalker members. 

However, because of the timescales involved it is unlikely that we will be able to offer the traditional stag stalking of previous years. Hopefully we will be successful in our bid, and we will be able to offer deer stalking towards the end of 2024. Keep an eye on our website for further updates.

STAGS

Stag 1: 18 – 22 Sept £600
Stag 2: 25 – 29 Sept £600
Stag 3: 2 – 6 October £600
Stag 4: 9 – 13 October £600
Stag 5: 16 – 20 October £600

HINDS

Hind 1: 30 Oct – 3 Nov £400
Hind 2: 6 – 10 Nov £400
Hind 3: 8 – 12 Jan £400
Hind 4: 22 – 26 Jan £400
Hind 5: 5 – 9 Feb £400

Who is it for?

The Arran deer management scheme is open to all BASC members who have their own stalking rifle and hold a Deer Stalking Course level 2 certificate (DSC2). If applying as a pair, one can have a DSC2 and the other can just be registered.

BASC members are given the opportunity to stalk red deer unaccompanied in a commercial forestry environment.

The landscape

Deer stalking on Arran is a mixture of open hill and commercial forestry, so the terrain can be arduous and physically demanding.

Stalkers should ensure they are fit and are not suffering from any medical condition which may endanger their own safety or restrict the activities of their stalking partner.

The stalking area is extensive and is in the southern half of the Isle of Arran, which is situated in the Firth of Clyde, west of Ardrossan.

Getting there

You can get to Arran on the Caledonian MacBrayne passenger/car ferry which runs between Ardrossan and Brodick four times a day in both directions during the winter.

All deer stalking through the BASC scheme is under the overall supervision of a co-ordinator who will supervise the briefing, deployment of deer stalkers and conduct of all culling operations.

Deer stalking procedures

The stalking lease covers a vast area and is divided into several widely dispersed beats in order to accommodate multiple stalkers. The BASC scheme co-ordinator has the overall responsibility for all deer stalkers attending the scheme.

Both of these co-ordinators are very experienced deer stalkers and each have an ATV.

Participating deer stalkers will be paired off and each pair will stalk together on their allocated beat. Pairing will provide a measure of safety if an injury or illness occurs and will also help the initial extraction of the very large red deer found on Arran.

At all times there will only ever be one rifle loaded and in use within each pair of stalkers. The loaded rifle will always be carried by the person who takes the lead.

The lead stalker will continually ensure that their rifle is always pointed in a safe direction and the stalkers will take turns at leading with the rifle. A more detailed safety briefing will take place prior to outings in the field.

Rifles and ammunition

Anyone who applies for the scheme must have a basic knowledge of deer stalking and be confident/proficient in using their rifle in field conditions. Practice is therefore essential!

Potential deer stalkers should have taken the time to practice live firing from the sitting, standing and kneeling positions, using a stick or other support. Before stalkers are allowed onto their beat, they will be required to demonstrate that their rifle is zeroed by putting three shots in a three-inch group at 100 metres. Stalkers who cannot achieve this will not be permitted to continue.

All rifles and ammunition used on the scheme must be a minimum of 6.5 calibre using at least a 110gr, non lead bullet. Ammunition must be factory loaded and meet the Scottish legal minimums for use on red deer.

Stalkers should bring enough ammunition to last for the five days. The nearest gun shop is in Ardrossan on the mainland, so it will require a return ferry trip if stalkers need to buy more ammunition or have their rifle serviced or repaired.

The Arran scheme involves stalking over demanding terrain in a climate where the weather can change for the worse in an instant. Anyone considering taking part should be aware of the challenging nature of managing deer under these conditions and should be sufficiently fit.

During warmer periods midges will be prevalent and deer stalkers should be prepared with repellents and/or head nets.

A full synchronisation and safety briefing will be undertaken on the first day before beats are allocated. Each pair of stalkers will be issued a safety pack containing such items as a two-way radio, marked maps and an emergency strobe light etc.

The role of the scheme coordinators

The scheme coordinator’s main role is to ensure the safety of the deer stalkers and that all activities are conducted to current best practice guidance.

The coordinators are also there to offer advice and guidance to participants attending the scheme. Stalkers are encouraged to contact them at an early stage if they are struggling to find deer or have any other concerns relating to the scheme.

While all arrangements for a satisfactory outing will be made in good faith, BASC can give no guarantees that deer will be encountered.

Terms and conditions

A permit authorises the holder to shoot specified deer on BASC-leased ground on certain dates.

Stalking will be by agreement with the BASC deer department. The permit will only be valid for the period booked and will be forfeited if not exercised within that period.

The permit holder is required to:

  1. Read all terms and conditions.
  2. Complete a booking form.
  3. Provide notice as detailed within the cancellation policy (A refund will only be provided where the place can be reallocated and an administration fee for legitimate and unavoidable cancellations will then apply).
  4. Hold a valid DSC2 qualification or be registered for the DSC2 if paired with a deer stalker holding the DSC2. This includes a game meat handling qualification.
  5. Always comply with any instructions issued by the co-ordinator.
  6. Use a rifle and expanding, non-toxic ammunition of no less than 110grain bullet weight. This must produce a muzzle energy of no less than 1750 foot pounds and a muzzle velocity of no less than 2450 feet per second. The ammunition must be designed to expand in a predictable manner.
  7. Fire a group of sighting shots on request at a range and accuracy to the satisfaction of the co-ordinator or other authorised person.
  8. Produce a valid firearms certificate and proof of current BASC membership on request to a co-ordinator or other authorised person.
  9. Indemnify BASC against any loss, injury or damage.
  10. Notify the supervisor immediately of any shots fired. They will make the final decision if any follow-up action is required.
  11. Stop stalking if a deer is wounded until it has been despatched or accounted for to the supervisor’s satisfaction.
  12. Ensure that he/she does not shoot from any vehicle or by artificial light.
  13. Pay BASC the fees set out on the advisory paper by the times stipulated.
  14. Note that the carcass is the property of the Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS). Weight and other measurements of interest will be recorded officially.
  15. Note that while all arrangements for a satisfactory outing will be made in good faith, BASC can give no guarantees that deer will be encountered.
  16. Note that BASC reserves the right to suspend or withdraw a permit at any time and its decision in any matters arising from the granting of a permit will be final.
  17. Note that BASC reserves the right to vary all conditions, dates and charges without notice.
  18. This stalking opportunity is solely for the benefit of BASC members and permits may not be bought and resold for any commercial purpose or for financial gain. BASC reserves the right to cancel or withdraw without recompense; any permit which the deer management team believes may have breached this condition.

Cancellation policy

Payment should be made in full on a successful application for a permit.

If a permit is cancelled, BASC will endeavour to reallocate the permit. If this is not possible, then the following scale of charges will apply:

  • Reallocation of a permit by BASC at any stage – admin fee of £30.
  • More than eight weeks before start of permit – admin fee of £30.
  • Less than eight weeks but more than four weeks before start of permit – 30% of permit fee.
  • Less than four weeks but more than two weeks before start of permit – 60% of permit fee.
  • Less than two weeks before start of permit – 100% of permit fee.

Insurance

Please consider an insurance policy to cover cancellations due to unforeseen eventualities.

Deer stalkers should ensure that the holiday element is covered by separate insurance cover and should inform any potential insurer that the shooting element is covered under BASC membership.

Apply for the scheme