Deer stalking takes place from now until October. Photo: Bill Ebbesen CC-BY-2.0

Deer stalking takes place from now until October. Photo: Bill Ebbesen [CC-2.0]

Walkers are being urged to check online before heading for the Scottish hills.

The deerstalking season has begun and an online guide to where shooting is likely to take place is running again.

The service has replaced the Hillphones scheme, which has ended.

The deerstalking season runs from 1 July to 20 October.

Scottish Natural Heritage, the Holyrood Government’s official advisory body, said the online service Heading for the Scottish Hills had 7,500 hits last year.

The website includes general information about stalking on all participating estates and contact details for further information.

SNH said some estates provide detailed information on the site up to a week in advance, describing where and when stalking will take place, as well as suggested walking routes. There is also information about responsible behaviour for land managers and walkers.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code encourages walkers and other recreational users to take reasonable steps to find out about stag stalking. The web service has replaced Hillphones this year because of demand for an online service.

The website has expanded include more of Scotland’s most popular hillwalking areas, including in the Cairngorms national park, Breadalbane and the west coast.

Andrea Partridge, Mountaineering Council of Scotland access officer, said: “The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has been closely involved with the Heading for the Scottish Hills website and is delighted to see that it has been further extended to provide essential information on stalking areas.

“We would encourage all hill-goers to check the website especially during the stalking season and contact the relevant estate.”

Fiona Cuninghame, SNH recreation and access officer, added: “This web service is a quick and easy way to check that you won’t disturb deerstalking when you’re out in the hills between July and October.

“I’d encourage all walkers to try the site out and let us know what you think.”

Richard Cooke, chairman of the Association of Deer Management Groups, said: “The number of people going to the Scottish hills for recreation has increased steadily over recent years and in some cases that can make it difficult for deer managers, particularly during the autumn period.

“There is no reason why both walkers and stalkers can’t share the hills, but the need is for more readily available information so that all hill-goers can take account of the needs of others.

“We see the online version of Heading for the Scottish Hills as a really important step forward in that communication process.”

The website takes its name from the Heading for the Scottish Hills book, a collaboration between landowners and mountaineers published between 1988 and 1996.

The book provided hillwalkers with an easy way to identify and contact participating estates to find out where stalking was taking place.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Mountaineering Scotland urges walkers and hill-goers to consult deerstalking site
  2. New walkers’ deerstalking website goes into service
  3. More hills in this year’s online guide for hillwalking during deer-stalking season
  4. Walkers urged to enjoy short walks on long trails
  5. Scottish mountaineers condemn ‘feeble’ Government hilltracks decision