There are six different deer species in the UK that can be shot but only during their open season.
Baronscourt stalking scheme
Please note that all enquiries should be directed to the BASC NI office and not Baronscourt Estate.
Given the lack of deer stalking opportunity in Northern Ireland, BASC NI, working in partnership with the prestigious Baronscourt Estate, launched a stalking scheme that is exclusive to BASC members. All stalking under this scheme is accompanied and will involve either a morning or an afternoon stalk.
The scheme is open to all BASC members holding the Deer Stalking Certificate 1 (DSC1) qualification as the scheme is designed to provide practical follow-on experience for those who have completed the DSC1.
Baronscourt Estate is willing to provide BASC members participating in the scheme with a ‘Letter of Deerstalking Opportunity’ in order to help them acquire a deerstalking rifle.
The letter will remain valid only for the duration of the BASC member’s firearm certificate and only while the certificate holder remains a BASC member and registered for the Baronscourt deerstalking scheme.
In order to qualify for the letter of deerstalking opportunity, BASC members must also have completed at least three accompanied stalks on the estate. The letter will be supplied only on the condition that it may be revoked at any time and for any reason without explanation.
Under the scheme, participants (stalkers) will have the opportunity to stalk Sika prickets (young stags) and hinds. Occasionally, Sika stags may be shot, however this will be at the discretion of the estate’s head gamekeeper/guide.
This will involve a trophy fee, the level of which will be agreed with the head gamekeeper/guide either prior to, or during the outing.
Completed forms must then be returned to BASC NI along with the registration fee (which is payable per season) of £30 inclusive of VAT.
Please make cheques payable to BASC or alternatively, payment can be made over the telephone using a credit or debit card.
By registering for the scheme, you agree to be bound by the scheme’s terms and conditions as shown below:-
Stalkers are asked NOT to contact the estate in the first instance.
Once the completed registration form and the registration fee have been received, BASC NI will then advise the stalker to make contact directly with the estate to arrange a mutually agreeable date and time for the stalk. A stalking fee of £120 inclusive of VAT per outing is payable directly to the estate and this must be paid prior to any stalking being undertaken.
Stalking may take place on any part of the estate’s 10,000 acres which is a mixture of spruce woodland and undulating farmland and scrubland. All stalkers will be accompanied by an experienced deerstalker who is also a member of the estate’s cull team. Each outing will normally last for approximately four hours and will involve either a foot stalk or the use of high seats or a mixture of the two; however this will mainly be dependent upon the physical capabilities of the stalker and the terrain.
Stalkers may bring a guest, providing the guest is a BASC member and the stalker has obtained prior written permission from Baronscourt Estate.
Some travel between different areas of the estate may be required to ensure stalkers have maximum opportunity to shoot cull animals, which will either be prickets (young stags) or hinds depending on the time of year.
The main quarry species will generally be Sika deer, however stalkers may have the opportunity to shoot other species of deer if they are encountered, but this will be at the discretion of the head gamekeeper.
Stalkers will generally only be permitted to shoot one cull animal per outing. However, stalkers may be afforded the opportunity to shoot more than one animal within the stalking period, if they have the opportunity and time to do so. This will be at the sole discretion of the estate’s head gamekeeper or his guide and there will be no additional charge.
Once an animal has been shot, the carcass will be recovered to the estate’s game larder where it will be inspected, gralloched and tagged. Carcasses will remain the property of the estate at all times. BASC members participating in the scheme may have the opportunity to purchase complete carcasses or venison products at a discounted rate, however this will be at the discretion of the estate as it is obliged to meet the game demands of its existing clients.
Misplaced shots may result in the carcass being deemed unfit to enter the food chain. In such circumstances the stalker will be required to pay a fee of £50. The decision as to whether a carcass is unfit to enter the food chain will be at the discretion of the estate’s head gamekeeper.
All stalking which takes place as part of this scheme is controlled, co-ordinated and supervised by the estate’s head gamekeeper and his guides. The head gamekeeper and guides are responsible for ensuring the briefing and deployment of all stalkers and the conduct of all culling operations.
The meeting point on the estate is the estate’s game larder which is situated beside the head gamekeeper’s house and the kennels.
The postcode for Baronscourt Estate is BT78 4EZ.
To find out more about Baronscourt Estate or for specific directions please visit their website.
Rifles and ammunition
Stalkers may use their own rifle providing that they hold a valid firearm certificate for that specific firearm which must be of .243 or above calibre. The firearm must also be “conditioned” on their firearm certificate for deerstalking.
Stalkers using their own rifle and ammunition must prepare and zero their rifle prior to arrival to the estate. If the head gamekeeper and/or guide desires, stalkers may be asked to zero their rifles on the estate’s approved range – failure to comply with such a request may result in the cancellation of the outing and no refund of fees will be due.
Stalkers may be granted access to the estate’s approved shooting range; however this will be dependent upon the conditions listed on the stalker’s firearm certificate and the availability of estate staff. Stalkers will not incur a charge for using the estate’s approved range.
Stalkers should ensure they have sufficient ammunition to cover all eventualities. Stalkers must only use factory-produced ammunition as the estate’s risk assessment does not permit the use of home-loaded ammunition.
Under the Schedule 1 paragraph 10 exemption contained within the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004, stalkers may use the estate rifle; however, this requires a deposit of £60 alongside a small hire charge of £20 inclusive of VAT per outing. The £60 deposit will be refunded provided the estate rifle is returned undamaged at the end of each outing.
Anyone borrowing the estate rifle must first sign a “Prohibited Persons Declaration” certifying that they are not prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under Article 63 of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 or, Section 21 of the Firearms Act 1968.
This form will be provided by the estate and must be completed prior to handling the estate rifle. All unused ammunition must be returned with the estate rifle.
Travelling with firearms from GB to Northern Ireland
There is no requirement for stalkers travelling from GB with stalking rifles (which they hold on certificate) to apply for a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Certificate of Approval.
A Certificate of Approval is only required when airguns not held on certificate in GB are being brought into Northern Ireland. This must be applied for at least four weeks in advance and the form can be located here.
Visitors travelling from outside the UK must apply to the Police Service of Northern Ireland for a visitor’s permit, the form can be located here.
Travelling times to Baronscourt Estate
- Average travel time from Belfast International Airport 1 hr 40 minutes.
- Average travel time from Belfast City Airport 1 hr 55 minutes.
- Average travel time from Larne port 2 hr 5 minutes.
- Average travel time from Belfast port 1 hr 50 minutes.
BASC members travelling to Northern Ireland using Stena Line Irish Sea ferries can claim a 10% discount. Find out more here.
P&O Ferries also offers an “exclusive” discount for BASC members. Further details can be obtained by contacting the BASC NI office on 028 92 605050 or by email.
Terms and Conditions
By completing the scheme registration form, you agree to be bound by the scheme’s Terms and Conditions as shown below. Please note that these are subject to change, without notice, and it is the stalker’s responsibility to ensure that they have read the Terms and Conditions.
All stalkers are required to:
- Read the information sheet and return the completed, signed registration form, certifying that they are not a prohibited person and confirming that they agree to be bound by the scheme Terms and Conditions.
- Note that the £30 registration fee payable to BASC (per season) is non-refundable.
- Note that the scheme is designed to provide BASC members with the opportunity to stalk hinds and prickets (young stags). Occasionally, Sika stags may be shot however this will be at the discretion of the estate’s head gamekeeper/guide. This will involve a trophy fee, the level of which will be agreed with the head gamekeeper/guide either prior to, or during the outing. In certain circumstances, cull stags may be shot, for which no trophy fee will be charged, however this will be at the discretion of the head gamekeeper/guide. The level of fee payable will be based on the quality of any stag shot, which will be determined by the head gamekeeper whose decision will be final.
- Note that both BASC and Baronscourt Estate reserve the right to refuse entry to the scheme or to remove a member from the scheme for any reason whatsoever. In such cases, and where a registration fee has been paid, the fee will be non-refundable.
- Note that all animals must be shot in the heart/lung area to ensure that they are dispatched quickly and humanely.
- Note that stalkers will be required to assist with the follow-up and carcass recovery.
- Note that all carcasses will remain the property of the Baronscourt Estate at all times. BASC members participating in the scheme may have the opportunity to purchase complete carcasses or venison products at a discounted rate; however, this will be at the discretion of the estate as it is obliged to meet the game demands of its existing clients.
- Give cancellation notice as detailed within the estate’s cancellation policy as shown below.
- Comply at all times with the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (as amended 2011).
- Comply at all times with the “General Conditions” listed on their firearm certificate and any instructions given by the head gamekeeper or his authorised representative. Failure to do so may result in termination of the stalk without recompense.
- Use a rifle having a calibre of not less than .243 inches (6mm) with a bullet which must be designed to expand in a predictable manner with a bullet weight of not less than 100 grains (6.48 grammes) and a muzzle energy of not less than 1,700 foot pounds (2,305 joules).
- Arrive at the estate with a prepared and zeroed rifle and on request, fire a group of sighting shots at a range and accuracy to the satisfaction of the head gamekeeper or his authorised representative.
- Produce for inspection on request by the head gamekeeper or his authorised representative a valid firearm certificate which must be conditioned for “deerstalking”.
- Produce proof of current BASC membership (which gives third party insurance cover with an indemnity limit of £10,000,000 legal liability) and proof of holding a game meat handling qualification.
- Indemnify BASC against any loss, injury or damage.
- At the direction of the head gamekeeper or his authorised representative shoot any injured or diseased deer that may be encountered.
- Stop stalking if a deer is wounded until it has been dispatched or otherwise accounted for to the satisfaction of the head gamekeeper or his authorised representative.
- Ensure that he/she does not shoot from any vehicle or by using any artificial light.
- Pay to BASC a seasonal registration fee of £30 inclusive of VAT which BASC reserves the right to vary from season to season.
- 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 and/or shot.
- Note that BASC reserves the right to vary the Terms and Conditions of the scheme without notice.
- Note that this stalking opportunity is solely for the benefit of BASC members holding the DSC 1 qualification.
- Notify the estate of any and all accidents, no matter how trivial, the details of which will be recorded in the estate’s accident book.
- Note that no photographs may be taken without the approval of the head gamekeeper or his representative and BASC.
- Should Baronscourt Estate have to cancel any outing for whatever reason, members of the scheme will not be entitled to an immediate refund; however, the estate will rearrange the cancelled outing at another date, at no extra charge. If, for any reason, a rescheduled date cannot be agreed a full refund will be given.
- In the event that any statutory ban is set in place in respect of the culling of deer for whatever reason, any fees paid by qualifying members will not be refunded.
- If a BASC member cancels an outing within 14 days of the scheduled date, they will not be entitled to a refund and may not be offered a rescheduled outing.
- If the BASC member cancels an outing 14 days or more from the scheduled date, they will be entitled to a full refund or a rescheduled outing.
- Any rescheduled outings must take place within the same season.
- At all times the rescheduling of any outings will be at the sole discretion of Baronscourt Estate.
Baronscourt Estate will offer a 10% discount on any accommodation taken with a deerstalking outing, subject to availability. Such accommodation is offered through the Clock Tower and Governor’s Lodge 4-star standard self-catering apartments. Further information is available on the estate’s website.
Pike & salmon fishing
Baronscourt Estate offers qualifying members a 10% discount on all salmon and pike fishing on offer at the Baronscourt Estate throughout the duration of the exclusivity agreement.
DSC 2 witnessing
A number of the Baronscourt Estate stalking guides are accredited witnesses which means that they may, on agreement, witness stalks for people completing their DSC 2 portfolio. If you are registered for DSC 2 and interested in contacting one of the estate’s accredited witnesses please contact the estate office directly on 02881 661 683. Please note that any agreement between the stalker and the estate’s accredited witnesses is outside the BASC/Baronscourt stalking scheme.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
CWD is highly infectious and is fatal in any infected deer. CWD persists in the environment and there are currently no treatments or vaccines available to control the disease.
CWD has very recently been found in Scandinavia and the risk of CWD entering the UK is therefore likely to have increased now the disease is present in Europe.
Stalkers travelling from abroad or resident UK stalkers who have been stalking abroad must be aware of the biosecurity risks, especially the risks of transporting CWD when visiting USA/Canada/Scandinavia.
Preventing CWD from entering the UK is currently the only effective control measure. If CWD were to become established in the UK, stopping its spread is likely to be impossible. It could have major consequences. Find out more by clicking here.