I don’t normally wear hats in everyday life but when out stalking, I wouldn’t be seen without one – or probably would be seen (by the deer, that is!) That’s the main reason for investing in deer stalking headgear. It isn’t a fashion statement and it’s not to keep you warm and dry, although it can help.
All you’re trying to do with your headgear is hide all that bare skin, especially if you have a pale complexion and a receding hairline like me!
Well, I often ask myself that question before going out as I seem to have a hat for every situation and my garage looks like a milliner’s storeroom.
Obviously, you don’t want a brightly coloured one as that would defeat the object. So, drab greens/browns or disruptive pattern camo styles are good. However, I have a friend who has a blaze orange beany he wears on collaborative culls which is very effective as everyone can spot him easily and it doesn’t seem to put the deer off.
An important aspect of the hat is the peak as this will cast a shadow over your face and help hide all that gleaming skin. So, baseball hats are good and certainly my preferred choice for summer stalking. If the peak is too long and the eye relief on your scope short, then the peak can interfere with sighting, so check this before going out.
Another friend who is rather old school wouldn’t be seen dead in a baseball cap and quite rightly says the traditional tweed flat cap performs all the functions required of deer stalking headgear.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan. I just don’t think they suit me, but then what does that matter when you’re out stalking alone? That said, who hasn’t checked themselves out in the reflection of the truck window before setting out just to make sure the camo looks right?
As for winter stalking, I opt for a beanie. I must admit that I have several of differing weights depending on the temperature and the plan. If I’m going to be walking a lot and it’s mild, I have a nice lightweight one. But, if the plan is a long sit out on a cold morning, then out comes the extra thick option. They are brilliant at keeping you warm.
But there’s no peak on a beanie? This is true, but it hides a lot of my forehead and these days I also wear a face veil and that’s a whole new topic I could write a blog about!
Finally, I have a Sunday best hat which is reserved for special occasions and clients. And, of course it is the traditional deer stalking style made famous by Sherlock Holmes.
The tweed keeps you warm and dry while blending into most habitats really well. The peaks protect your face and neck from the worst of the weather and casts a shadow over your face. Plus, it looks smart!
Interested in more advice on what to wear when deer stalking? BASC’s deer officer James Sutcliffe has a blog on “what to wear when deer stalking.”
We have also got a blog within tips on equipment called, “what do we carry as deer stalkers”.
Images (top -middle) – Tweed media