Whether you’re in need a knife or short on sticks, here’s all the gear you need to stock up on ahead of this year’s rut.
Leupold BX-5 Santiam
A real top-end set of binos from Leupold, the BX-5s are designed to keep you glassing for longer – whether it’s as light drops at the end of the day, or simply reducing eye strain so you have to take fewer breaks.
More time glassing means more deer spotted and more in the larder, of course. The Twilight Max HD light management system keeps the sight picture sharp and bright, while all-day comfort reduces fatigue, headaches and dizziness. The whole package is backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Price: From £1,497
Viking – 01423 780810
Zamberlan Pro Hunter GTX
A half-calf version of Hunter boot, the Hunter Pro is made to support you through challenging terrain and high undergrowth. With a wider-than-average fit, it’s made to be comfortable too. A Gore-Tex insulated lining keeps your feet dry, and it’s all supported by a double-density Vibram Darwin sole.
GMK – 01489 579999
Bog Havoc Sticks
Bog sticks are a new range to the UK – and possibly the highlight of the range is the Havoc, featuring lever leg locks, retractable metal foot spikes and the patented Switcheroo system, which allows for quick changes between optics accessories and the patented USR shooting yoke.
Available as a monopod, bipod or tripod, the sticks allow 360-degree panning and are adjustable in height between 22in and 68in.
Price: Tripod £153.99,
Sportsman Gun Centre – 01392 354854
Think all rifle slings are the same? Check out the 3HGR and think again. It’s a super-versatile item that can adapt to the improvised shooting positions stalking often requires.
As well as allowing you to carry your rifle, it can wrap around use trees, poles, beams and other vertical objects, turning them into a shooting rest. Not only that, it’s built to distribute the weight of the rifle across both shoulders, making carrying it a lot more balanced and comfortable.
Price: From £36
Viking Arms – 01423 780810
Grampian Hooded Smock
Seen here in the Grampian Tweed pattern, Nomad’s time-proven hooded smock is functionally designed for stalking, made from a silent, stretchable, waterproof and breathable fabric.
It’s long-lasting, too – Nomad say they have re-taped some 15-year-old smocks that are still in perfect condition. You get all the practical accoutrements you need, too, including a full folding hood, an extended front zip, and pockets for binoculars, extra magazines, keys, and so on.
Price: £430 (Grampian/Argyll tweed), £340 (olive/khaki)
Nomad UK – 07736 255100
Built for the highest light transmission imaginable, these binos are among the largest in the Kite range, but that size gives you an awful lot of glassing power.
In 8×56 spec, these binos’ big lenses pick up every last drop of available light, boosted by an MHR advanced coating. So last-light stalks can continue until the very end. For their size, these Kite Cervus binos are refreshingly light too, and balance well in the hand.
Browning – 01235 514550
Sierra Tipped Game King Ammunition
Sierra have re-engineered their legendary MatchKing bullet into a hollow-point design for quick expansion and fitted it with a transparent green tip for ballistic uniformity.
Inside, the GameChanger bullet is constructed from a special lead alloy surrounded by a tough copper jacket that delivers excellent penetration and expansion at a variety of ranges. Available in trial boxes of 50 and full boxes of 100.
Price: From £24.49 (box 50),
£46.49 (box 100)
Highland Outdoors – 0845 099 0252
RAM Light Sportif jacket
Waterproof, windproof and breathable thanks to Blaser’s Rambrane technology, this jacket is set to become a common sight on shoots and estates in the UK.
Features include a stand-up collar with detachable hood, two-way YKK zip, two pockets with zips, two bellows pockets with concealed pockets behind, a chest pocket, two inner document pockets, a mobile phone pocket and pen pocket, and a poacher pocket.
Blaser Sporting – 01483 917412
Harkila Stornoway SMOCK
Following on from the Stornoway printed tweed family, Harkila have now introduced the new Stornoway Smock with HWS 2-layer waterproof membrane, which also provides excellent breathability for active stalking.
The smock has an integrated adjustable hood and large binocular pocket with drain holes and silent closers and the two-way zip provides easy entry and pit ventilation. It’s a truly high-quality garment from the Danish makers.
Zeiss Victory Rangefinder
Rangefinders are no longer all equal – Zeiss’s new rengefinding binos really push the boundaries of technology by allowing you to preload data specific to your set-up.
By using the Zeiss Hunting app, you can send your ballistic data to the unit straight form your smartphone, with the built-in BIS II ballistic calculator delivering exact customised output data.
With a measuring distance of up to 2,500 yards, the BIS II calculates the correct holdover or click correction by using environmental sensors for angle, temperature and air pressure. Available in 8×42, 10×42, 8×54 or 10×54 spec.
Price: From £2,500
Zeiss – 01223 401525
Adopting the tried-and-tested long New Zealand style, the new Evolution jacket incorporates the RL-Evolve membrane, a hydrophobic material developed with a 15,000 hydrostatic head rating and seam-sealed throughout the entire garment to keep you dry, even in the wettest conditions.
This membrane is combined with two additional hard-wearing, lightweight layers to form Hi-drostretch fabric, as well as a full-length zip, a generous waterproof zipped chest pocket for essentials and removable wired hood. All of that combines to make an incredibly functional, protective jacket.
The Evolution Jacket is available in Teak and in all sizes from Extra Small to 5X Large.
Ridgeline – 0845 099 0252
Nightforce SHV 3-12×56
A UK exclusive from American scope maker Nightforce, the SHV 3-12×56 is even more notable thanks to its price – under £680 for a Nightforce scope, which would once have been unthinkable.
You get the same precise tolerances, quality materials and skilled workmanship, seen in the rest of the Nightforce range, but in a simplified package designed to keep the price within grasp. Constructed for superior low light performance, the new SHV sports a fast focus eyepiece, 30mm tube and capped adjustments.
Sportsman Gun Centre – 01392 354854
RWS Speed Tip
Speed Tip ammo is now available in several new calibres – including .243, which will be of particular interest to UK stalkers. With a high level of down-range energy transfer, it’s got real stopping power – ideal for putting high-energy rutting bucks on the ground.
Its low-air-resistance profile means it’ll travel quite some distance with a flat trajectory, while the hollow-point bullet is augmented by a highly reactive bullet casing.
RUAG – 01579 362319
Leica Geovid HD-B 3000
The new Leica Geovid HD-B models allow linear distance determination out to a staggering 3,000 yards, with measurements available in three output formats: holdover, click adjustment and equivalent horizontal range (EHR).
Barometric pressure, temperature and angle are also included in the measurements, so correct point of aim is calculated with more precision than ever before.
With a microSD memory card and the Leica ballistic calculator, users can import their individual ballistic parameters to their Leica Geovid HD-B 3000 and thus receive measuring data perfectly adjusted to load and calibre.
Price: 8×42 £2,525, 10×42 £2,550
Buck Open Season Skinner Knife
The newly redesigned Open Season Avid Series combines all the tools you need for stalking and outdoor work, all based around a 420HC steel blade and contoured red wood handles.
Pictured is the Open Season Skinner, with a drop point, 4.5in blade with a large choil for a secure grip, finished with Buck’s advanced Edge2x blade technology for unbelievable sharpness and blade retention out of the box. Comes with a black polyester sheath.
Hawke’s flagship scopes have been updated, and now feature an exposed tactical, resettable and lockable turret design with a state-of-the-art return-to-zero function – allowing you to adapt to shooting conditions in the field, and do so safely knowing that the scope will return to your zero.
Six magnification models and unique reticle designs, including first focal plane, are in the range – pictured here is the 2.5-15×50 LR Dot.
Price: From £669
Hawke – 01394 387762
Bushnell Elite Tactical Riflescope LRTS
A precision shooting scope with a 3-12x magnification range, Bushnell’s Elite Tactical is ideal for engaging mid-range targets on a roe rut stalk.
Featuring a flat dark earth finish and G3 reticle, the scope’s horizontal and vertical crosshairs incorporate hash marks at every .5 mil from the centre, and extended hash marks below the 2-mil mark.
With fog-proofing and a water-repellent coating, it can perform superbly in all conditions. The advanced construction keeps the optics dry inside even when immersed in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
Edgar Brothers – 01625 613177
The classic hand-operated roe caller, the Buttolo is easy to use, is operated one-handed, and can be manipulated to make different-sounding mating and terror calls.
You can even use it on muntjac or sika! With just a gentle squeeze, it’ll make a note-perfect call. Practice for a while and you’ll be bringing them in in no time.
Uttings – 01603 619811
Winchester Deer Season XP Superlight Fixed Blade Kit
Winchester Knives have introduced a new knife kit to their collection: the XP Superlight 4-piece fixed blade kit. Blades in the kit include a gut hook, a full tang construction 7.5in fixed blade and 7.2in caper, as well as a belt carry sheath.
Designs are lightweight and feature high control jimping on the spine and have a large forward control choil; plus, they’re corrosion resistant.
Thomas Jacks – 01789 264100
At the forefront of technology, the Wraith is a digital riflescope built to rival any traditional scope for daytime performance as well as night shooting. The HD sensor provides full-colour clarity in daytime – then simply hit the left arrow to enable night mode with classic emerald or black-and-white viewing options.
An included 850nm IR illuminator provides enhanced image brightness and accurate target acquisition out to 200 yards. Video recording and output, microUSB port and digital zoom are all included as standard.
Swarovski Z8i 2-16×50
With its huge zoom range, the Z8i riflescope is a real high-performance option – not that you’d expect anything less from Swarovski.
Not only does the sight picture offer exceptional detail, but there’s also a high level of viewing comfort and a wide field of view so you can quickly and easily acquire quarry.
Able to dial out to long ranges, it’s got the capability for close-up encounters from a hide or high seat too. A true all-rounder.
Swarovski – 01737 856812
Deerhunter Pro Gamekeeper
The Pro Gamekeeper jacket is made for professionals, as the name suggests. It’s made with a wind, waterproof and breathable Deer-Tex Performance Shell membrane, which is also four-way stretchable for flexibility and comfort.
Just like the original Deer-Tex membrane, it can be washed or dry-cleaned. The jacket also contains many pockets – and on top of that it’s backed up by a five-year warranty.
Deerhunter – 07766 323683
Schmidt & Bender Stratos
The 1.5-8×42 Stratos is a designed to be a universal scope, suitable for every conceivable application in the field.
An ultra-illuminated ret in the first focal plane, combined with a 42mm objective, makes for top performance even as the light starts to fail, while keeping the scope easy to carry over long distances.
And thanks to the large exit pupil, target acquisition has never been easier in the crucial moments.
Schmidt & Bender
Casström Safari Mini Hunter with Kydex sheath
This is a small but effective knife designed by renowned English knife maker Alan Wood. With a 6cm stainless steel blade with a deep hollow grind and a full‐tang construction, it’s agile enough for skinning jobs and cuts extremely well.
The tapered tang and shape of the handle makes the knife balanced and comfortable. The black G10 glass fibre laminate handle is tough, waterproof and maintenance-free.
Casstrom – 01628 330330
More stalking kit round-ups from Sporting Rifle
- Stalking kit: eight of the best technical options
- All the kit you need for foxing
- 48 essential items for mountain hunting
- Best stalking scopes 2020: Our top 8 picks
- Best scopes for rimfire rifles 2020
- Red stag season – all the kit you’ll need