Contributors’ choice: Essential collection

Sporting Rifle’s contributors tell us what gear they really rely on for a wide range of hunting purposes – from foxing to stalking to sport abroad.

Credit: Byron Pace

Scottish stalking gear, by Chris Dalton

As a professional stalking guide, my kit needs to be good. It is not a fashion statement, it is my daily working equipment. It has to be functional and fit for the task. Here is what I am currently using.

The rifle combination is a Haenel Jaeger 10 Sporter in .243 fitted with Meopta Meostar RIR 3-12×56 scope and a B&T AG Tiger moderator. I was not familiar with the Haenel brand until I started using this rifle just under 12 months ago, and I have to say it is excellent.

I need confidence in my rifle – it must handle well, shoot straight and be robust. I need to understand how it performs and it has to shoot consistently. I don’t want frills but I do want accuracy out of the box. This rifle provides all that.

Loaded and ready for another outing

I use a lot of ammunition, especially so with all the training courses we run, so cost is a factor, and I can’t fault the Prvi PPU SP 100gn, which I use most of the time now.

My binoculars are the Meopta 10×42 HD range; the brand is well known for quality and they perform particularly well in low light, which for stalking is essential. Optics are the most important items in my armoury and this is not an area for compromise. You can’t shoot the deer you can’t see. 

I am wearing Merkel Gear, again relatively new to me, but over the last six months I have found it to be of exceptional quality. The range caters for all conditions and seasons, from the open hill to lowland roe stalking.

As we are in winter, I am wearing the Palearktis 365 jacket and trousers with the Gen 3 bush shirt as base layer. Totally waterproof, but with wicking capability so it is comfortable. I don’t want to be wet and cold when out on the hill all day. 

As ex-military I understand the importance of good boots – you quickly learn to look after your feet. I use Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 10in GTX; these were comfortable from the box and coped with a full stag season on the hill with ease. Additionally they are quiet to walk in and keep your feet dry. These are the most comfortable boots I have worn.

A buck on the ground – proof that Chris’s kit can do the job

Knife is a custom Emberleaf Garron – quite frankly these are the best knives on the market today and I can’t really say any more than that.

In February, after years of looking for the right custom-fit vehicle system, I teamed with Animal Transit boxes UK and had the L200 kitted out with purpose-built drawers and a fitted kennel.

This has proved to be one of the best things I have done; I can now have my rifle and all of my kit stowed away neatly and exactly where I want it, leaving the cab and passenger area free for clients.

It’s all tucked away and stowed out of sight in lockable compartment; I wish I had done this years ago. Zosia loves her space as well, again with security paramount as it is all lockable.

Other than that, my Apex Predator roe sack goes everywhere with me. It is how I carry all my small deer off the hill. All my dragging and gralloching kit is inside, so it’s in the car and I always know I have everything I need with me. 

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