With the new shooting season now underway we are delighted to welcome back our shooting guru, Howard Day, who is singing the praises of stalking – as a part of a family holiday!
With the roe rut just petering out and the fallow and red soon to start, I’ve been doing some philosophical navel gazing about this solitary pursuit that chases the diurnal and seasonal rhythms of the prey - and I’ve come to an unexpected conclusion about foreign stalking. Rather than being the sport of the loner or single person, stalking abroad offers some of the best opportunities to combine a sporting break and a family, or couples, holiday.
Wait, hear me out…
Stalking abroad can take you to gloriously sunny venues far enough off the beaten track to make them adventures, but close enough to access UNESCO World Heritage sites and cultural hot spots. More often than not, the sport occupies the first and last hours of daylight, leaving the stalker to the tender mercies of their loved ones and leisure for the rest of the day (especially if you can survive on limited sleep).
Whether that’s taking a selfie with Pisa’s leaning tower or lounging by the villa pool in Tuscany, snorkelling in the sea or losing yourself in Split’s Roman antiquities, learning about the local grapes and tasting the award-winning wines of an estate or gorging yourself on local tapas/seafood/cheeses/pasta, there’s no shortage of daytime pursuits to imbue your stay with the essence of holiday.
Rather than assume pursuing your sporting passion means haggling for time away from family commitments, turn the argument on its head and bring them with you. By choosing a venue with plenty of holiday experiences to offer everyone and you can have your cake and eat it too. So long as you share.
And it doesn’t have to involve the expense, hassle and jetlag of long haul flights (unless you want it to). Wild boar, roe deer, chamois and mouflon are all found on the shores of the Mediterranean AND within the flight plans of budget airlines. Add to that a September start to much of the sport and you’ll find weather that puts the British summer to shame. EU firearms licences means travelling with rifles has never been easier, but most locations do have loan rifles if you just can’t be bothered to take yours.
Honestly, if my kids were younger, or the dog pack smaller, I’d be booking a trip of my own this October half term.