To Phil Taylor – our brand ambassador from the UK – hunting is a way of life, taking up most of his spare time. Practising for years, he gained a fair share of experience, insights, and knowledge. It only seemed natural for us to invite him to join our Hunter’s favourites series. And now, we’re pleased to share more about his favourite aspects of hunting – from preferred game to most-trusted gear.
My favourite thing about hunting really depends on the time of year and what I’m hunting, but hunting gives you time to relax away from your normal day-to-day job. Being out in the field, whether day or night, gives you time to think or just switch off.
Type of hunt: I think the ultimate hunt is going out for a red stag on the open hill in Scotland. You could end up walking up and down the hills for hours trying to find the right stag to take. You may spot some stags and hinds from the roadside with your binoculars or thermal, but then you need to work out which way you’re going to get to them without them knowing you’re there first. The wind direction can change very quickly and give your position away. Then you have to come up with a plan B which may mean going back over your steps and coming back in from another angle.
Scotland is by far my favourite place to stalk. It’s a good test for any hunter: you have to be fit enough to climb the hills and if you’re lucky enough to get your stag, the extraction of the animal can always be a challenge because of the terrain. Even if it’s only a short drag to get it to where a vehicle can extract it from, it’s always challenging.
Time of the year: The red stag rut in Scotland is normally around very late September but more likely it kicks off just into October. This is a lovely time to be in Scotland as it’s not too warm and the midges are normally a little better by this time, but when you hear the stags roaring, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I’ve only been lucky enough to have hit the rut right once, but what an experience it was.
Gear to use: The gear I use really depends on what I’m shooting or hunting. If I was going up to Scotland for a stag or maybe hunting a fallow buck in England, I would use my Weatherby MeatEater in 6.5 PRC. This is a great round as it is quite a flat flying one but has good stopping power. I’ve been using Barnes Copper Bullets in this as it’s sounding more and more like we’re going to have to move over to non-toxic bullets in the future. If I’m out foxing on farms for pest control near home, I have 2 choices of rifle: either my semi-custom 204 topped with my trusty Digex C50, or my Fierce CT Rival in 243; this is topped with a Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO. I tend to use this if I’m going to be more mobile and on foot as, having a carbon stock and a titanium action, it’s a light rifle. If I’m out stalking, I would take my trusty GPO binoculars & my Helion 2 XP50 PRO, out foxing I would carry my Merger LRF XP50 as these are phenomenal thermal binoculars.
Animal to hunt: As I’ve said above, I think the red stags on the open hills in Scotland is the ultimate hunt and stalk. And if you are lucky enough to be on an estate where they extract your stag on a hill pony, I think that is the pinnacle of tradition. Although there are not many estates that still use the ponies to extract deer these days.
Game to eat: Venison is a beautiful meat to eat, my favourite would have to be either muntjac or Chinese water deer. We sometimes make a haunch of venison on a Sunday afternoon. We cook it slowly in the oven with some port in the bottom of the roasting tin, a little bit of a red currant jelly on the top of the haunch, and a sprig of rosemary for good measure. The smell and the taste are beautiful. I’m also a keen eater of pheasant and partridge. Game meat is very good and a true favourite in our house.
Thing about being a Pulsar ambassador: I’m in a very fortunate position of being an ambassador for Pulsar as we get to try all the latest products before they come to market and are given the opportunity to feed anything back that can be corrected before they go on sale. Being a part of the team is like being a part of a large family. We have hunters from all backgrounds; whether they are contract shooters or air rifle hunters, everyone fits into the family. I think the team is going to go from strength to strength as there is some great stuff planned for the future of the team and the Pulsar brand itself. The future is looking very bright with new stuff that’s coming.
Way to practice: Every shooter and hunter has some form of practice whether it is on a shooting range or just sticking a board up on a premise you shoot on. I’m very fortunate that I have a range 20 minutes from home which has a 100 yards zero facility. It is perfect for checking your rifles. Also, on our deer syndicate, we have various ranges from 100 yards out to 1000 yards which we can shoot whenever we choose to. So, after an early morning stalk, you can go to the shooting benches and have a practice afterwards.
Social media has been both a friend and an enemy to the shooting world. There are lots of good things posted on social media, but that also leaves things open to interpretation from the snowflakes to view them as well. One company that I think has done an enormous amount of good for the shooting world is The Fieldsports Channel. David Wright & Charlie Jacoby have both got a background in journalism and they’re not scared to tackle the hot topics with a very balanced approach. They air a programme every Wednesday evening at 7pm BST on their YouTube channel and it’s certainly worth a watch. The programme contains not only news from around the world but also some short films – like following our own Tom Davies stalking red deer in Devon or foxing in Lincolnshire. They also sometimes film abroad – there is wild boar hunting or looking for capercaillie in Sweden. It really is a very well-balanced programme and extremely informative and they certainly back the cause for the hunting and shooting industry.
Way to describe what hunting means to you: Hunting for me is a way of life. I’ve hunted in some form since I was a young boy, not as much as I do now though. As hunters, we do it because we enjoy it. It provides good quality meat on the table for my family when stalking or rough / driven hunting. On the other side, fox control is not only pest control for farmers and gamekeepers, but it also helps the ground-nesting birds. It’s proven that where pest control takes place, the ground-nesting birds are flourishing.
If I’m out foxing on farms for pest control near home, I have 2 choices of rifle: either my semi-custom 204 topped with my trusty Digex C50, or my Fierce CT Rival in 243; this is topped with a Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO.
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