Norfolk based Sophie Littlewood loves animals. “I volunteered to help with a Sika deer catch in Wales, I worked alongside professional deer park keepers, deer stalkers and fellow students, as we rounded the deer up from the field into a pen. There were 20 – 30 deer jumping, kicking and biting. I loved the new experience of being close to the deer, and felt something sparked inside of me, and I realised I wanted to work with deer for the rest of my life.”
Sophie spent two days with a Hampshire based gamekeeper and deer stalker, and his family, getting a first-hand insight into the world of gamekeeping and deer stalking.
“It was the whole field to fork experience, and it showed me stalking is an ethical way to get your meat; it’s wild and there’s no abattoir. I was hooked!”
Sophie's first roe stalk
Her first stalk was for Muntjac. Her partner took her out stalking at dusk over a friend’s ground, but the light was fading fast, and Sophie took the decision not to shoot. However, her first roe stalk was memorable.
“It was flat, arable land, and there was no cover so we moved like sloths, and crawled in on our hands and knees along a hedgerow, getting stung by nettles each time we moved. It made sense for me to crawl the last 200 yards on my own to a single tree. I had to do it slowly and carefully because there were a lot rabbits close to the roe buck and I didn’t want them to alert the buck to my presence. It seemed to take hours but I finally made it to the tree. I slowly stood up, quietly got the rifle onto the sticks and waited. The buck stood up, stretched, and I took the shot. It was perfect shot placement!”
Sophie spends extended blocks of time on the Isle of Arran, as a Volunteer on the BASC (British Association for Shooting & Conservation) Arran Stalking Scheme with her partner, and it was where she introduced to hill stalking.
Sophie said, “I love to see deer alive and grazing but I enjoy being in both worlds as there is something special about the whole process of being outdoors, and going out hunting. It’s something that gets your senses working.”
Click here for ‘deertalk’ blog of Sophie Littlewood.
Who is our author Linda Mellor?
Linda Mellor is one of Scotland’s foremost shooting, fishing and hunting female writers and photographers. She is the product Ambassador for Venator Pro, a premier hunting company and stockist of the European brand Hillman. With a lifetime of countryside experience, Linda’s passion, enthusiasm and respect for the outdoors and hunting is explored and shared across her writing and photography.
For more information on Linda Mellor, please visit Linda Mellor's website, Twitter (LindaMellor) and instagram (linda_mellor).