We’re thrilled to announce that Chris Dalton has been awarded the prestigious title of UK Pro Stalker of the year 2023, following a public nomination and voting process. The award was presented at the renowned British Shooting Show held at the NEC, Birmingham.
We’re proud to have Chris as a long-standing partner, having worked with him for several years now to rigorously test and develop our innovative hunting products. As an experienced stalker, Chris’s expertise and field knowledge have been invaluable in refining our product range to meet the demands of the modern hunter.
When you choose Napier Apex hunting products, you can rest assured that they have been rigorously tested and approved by Chris Dalton himself. His vast experience and hands-on approach ensure that every product meets the high standards required for success in the field. So, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, you can trust Napier’s Apex range to deliver the performance and reliability you need to achieve your goals.
It was my first time deer hunting, and I was nervous as Steve led me to our high seat. The morning was cold and icy, but the scenery was breathtaking. The dense woodland surrounded us on all sides, and in front of us, vast fields stretched out as far as the eye could see.
We sat in silence, waiting for something to happen. Then suddenly, a Muntjac appeared from the woods on the left and walked across to the center of the first field. It was about 80 yards away from us.
Steve handed me the gun, and my nerves kicked in. I had never used one other than on the range before, and I froze. The Muntjac started walking away, and I thought I had lost my chance. But Steve whistled, and it stopped in its tracks.
I pulled the trigger, and it was a clean heart shot. I felt an adrenaline rush like never before. It was an exhilarating experience, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
If you’re looking to take your hunting skills to the next level, I have just the thing for you. Since my first deer hunt with my father-in-law, Steve, CEO Napier of London, I have gained a lot of experience and worked with numerous professional hunters to perfect my craft. With their feedback and expertise, we have helped design the Apex range of professional hunting equipment. These products are designed to give you an edge in the field and help you hunt like a pro. So, if you’re ready to take advantage of some of the leading hunters’ secrets, check out the Apex range now and elevate your hunting game.
Over the past ten to fifteen years, my brother and I have been very lucky to have two good back country farms to shoot on. The farms boast deer and pigs among their bounty, which is a boost to have venison and pork on the menu.
Rabbits however are in very big numbers, there has been no problem in the past to shoot up to eight hundred in a day. That’s a good days shooting. On an average day however, we would shoot about four to five hundred between us. On a lesser day we would shoot between fifty to two hundred each.
The weather has a big part to play, as rabbits, like all animals, you get a night’s rain turning nice and fine come morning, with no wind, rabbits come out of their burrows to get the sun.
During spring time all the young ones are coming out of their holes five to six in groups and having not been shot at before, they are very easy to shoot. It’s possible to pick off the ones far from the burrow, and work back most times shooting the lot.
The rifle I use is a bolt action Brno model one, fitted with a clamp on suppressor.
I like the Remington subsonic 22 ammunition hollow point and also use three ten shot mags as required. Most rabbits are shot at ranges between thirty to eighty yds. Although it’s a bit of a job to load mags when the shooting gets hot.
Sunday 6th September 2020, just a morning shoot with my brother. He dropped me off at the start of the farm and I was to follow up to him to meet at midday. I was in the area the Sunday before, after deer and saw a lot of rabbits so went back.
The weather was not good, with a very strong north westerly wind, when I could get out of the wind my first twenty shots dropped twenty rabbits which I was pleased with. I followed up, shooting in sheltered places which was good. Some of the rabbits were calm and relaxed, sitting down at spots out of the wind I would pick off ten to fifteen at a time.
Most of the rabbits were fully grown, with the young ones not far off. As I approached the meet up point, I tried to pick up sheltered spots here and there, upon reaching my brother I had shot one hundred and fifty rabbits in total. I use a counter clicker for tally.
My brothers tally was one hundred and seventy so three twenty shot for the morning
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
Saturday 19th September 2020, Yes off again!
The weather was good, there were plenty of rabbits around until after lunch when the rain set in. My brother and I both went different ways, I followed the bush line where rabbits were coming out of the bush on to the new grass, mostly big ones with some small ones.
Not yet at my destination, however it didn’t take me long to shoot off one hundred rounds.
I stopped for cup of tea and a sandwich, sitting by a cut down tree which gave me a bit of cover. By the time I had drunk the tea and finished the sandwich I had shot sixty rabbits as they popped out on the grass. Down the rabbits went, some good long shots too!
My mate Steve gave me a primo shooting stick, which works very well. Walking up and down hills you get to be a bit out of puff with old age!
Heard my brother shooting so he was in to them.
Time for lunch, yes, I do stop for lunch I got into a good spot again shooting and loading up the ten shot mags as fast as I could go. The spot was on top of a ridge looking down on rabbit burrows as they came out, down went the rabbits.
The rain started to set in so I made my way back to the truck, shooting as I went. By the time I got to the truck it wasn’t long before my brother was back. The tally for the day was five hundred and fifty-six, good part day
One of things I have been involved in for the last 18 months is working with Public Health England on a deer serosurveillance study for tick-borne viruses. Essentially I collect deer serum and tick samples from each deer shot and then send those off along with some general information about deer species, general condition / location etc to the team at Porton Down. Whilst the study has thrown up some interesting results the tested deer serum samples that I have submitted, all have tested negative on the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and louping ill virus (LIV) antibody test (ELISA); detecting no presence of antibodies against TBEV or LIV, this indicates no evidence of infection of either of these viruses
Again my Apex predator roe sack has been invaluable in carrying amongst all of my normal stalking gear the test kits and associated tubes and paperwork. This roe was actually shot on a hill estate in Perthshire that I manage and had somehow managed to get the wrong side of a 300 hectare fenced and planted woodland creation scheme and so had to be removed.
Well strange times indeed for everyone in the world
including our staff and Fieldmasters contributors.
Napier MD Steve Rowe was supposed to be visiting Napier’s offices in NZ and working there for a few weeks back in March then just a few hours before departure the world and the rules changed, no one is going anywhere. Usually Steve manages to catch up with Jim Jackson and Bob Spain on these trips and was due to meet Gibbo in Australia on the way home too. But as we all know lockdown everywhere has prevented that, it was planned that we would record the outings planned in NZ and Australia for this Fieldmasters post. But to the rescue Jim has kindly recounted the last visit and although there is no photograph to attach, ( for reasons you will read) he has recalled that moment from his vivid and somewhat strange memory, by pen and paper, I hope you enjoy this read, we are all living off memories of past hunts for the moment.
So , having St Eve Rowe back over from the UK for another visit , a day goat
culling was called for . Being super hot and dry most forestry blocks were out
of bounds due to fire risk . After much wheedling , pleading and outright
grovelling to the then forestry manager of the pulp mill a permit was gained
for the goat infested Waipatiki block on the way to the popular surfing beach .
Great ! Guaranteed goats , can’t miss. What could go wrong?
Having followed the sound of bleating through dense pine on steep terrain for quite a while and no clear shot we decided to head for “goat gully”, this is a very deep ravine too steep to plant pine and so full of dense grass and weeds and a favourite grazing spot for the smelly target critters. Getting there means driving the trusty HiLux to the start of about a kilometre of forestry access road and walking quietly to the end before descending through pine forest to the edge of the gully itself with a panoramic view of any goats unfortunate enough to be munching on all the nice green stuff. Halfway down we could hear much bleating coming up from below .Great , can’t miss much slaughter will be done. Steve has the trusty old sport converted Lee Enfield so lines up on a very large nanny and starts shooting .Down goes the nanny, the biggest Billy we’ve seen in years gets two of the last three rounds as we only have the five shot mag, my first oversight -meant to bring the ten . Never mind , still plenty of targets whizzing about all over the place so Steve sticks his hand out for five more. He then sees me standing there wearing a sick grin and patting all my pockets in the manner of the smoker who is about to ask for a match. Second and biggest oversight – ammo box still in HiLux over a kilometre away!
Sent back in disgrace amid much mumbling about useless bloody amateurs etc ,
etc I trudge all the way back and stuff my pockets full of rounds . Getting to
the end of the access road and starting down through the trees , I smell goats
.I hear goats ! As I get near the edge of the trees I am treated to the sight
of Steve parked on his bum next to a stump right on the lip of the ravine
peering through his binoculars trying to spot more goats . He is completely
unaware that he is totally surrounded by a herd of about two dozen
curious goats all staring at him with the lead billy looking at him round a
stump not more than fifteen feet away. He has the rifle , I have the ammo and
all the goats are between the two of us. I went “Er….Steve”
illogically trying to ‘shout quietly’ and got the expected reaction of panic
from the goats and frustration from Steve who could only point the gun at point
blank range and shout “bang” at them . Despite a frantic reload , no
more goats were shot in the gully that day and I had to buy the beer!
One day , possibly, I will hear the end of this .Only wish I’d had the
camera with me . It was (ahem) still in the HiLux.
I haven’t got the most
glamorous job to do though it is essential.
I would love to be one
of those hunters you see pictures of with a big stag with huge sets of antlers.
But no, my job in the community is much less exciting and somewhat mundane. I
am a Profession Roo Shooter.
Kangaroo (Roo) numbers
in my part of Western Australia have boomed since European settlement. This is
because we clear the bush, improved the pasture and put in watering points for
our stock. The roos loved these improvement to a point where they become so
numerous that they eat all the feed for the stock and become inbred. Don’t
believe what you read about roos becoming endangered, this is far from the
Generally my culling is
done at night under spotlight as roos become more nocturnal with culling
pressure. An evening out culling starts at night fall, then we spend a few
hours culling an area. Taking anywhere from a dozen to 35 in an evening. They
are all tidied up for presentation to a chiller. They are processed for either
human consumption, pet food or canine baits. None are wasted.
An accurate rifle is essential as under the national code of Humane Shooting of Kangaroos all animals must be head shot. As you can see by the numbers of animals taken in an evening, barrels require cleaning regularly. Steve from Napier’s of London put me on the right track in this regard when he visited once and he has a great video on his web page. I use Ultra Clean for patches, these have a rough side and a fluffy side. They are great. Generally I just use Napier Gun Cleaner down the bore but every now and again when giving a good doing over use bore solvent. Just follow Steve’s video and you can’t go wrong. Napier products are top quality. That VP90 stuff is excellent.
Kangaroos are culled
under strict Government controlled guide lines and permits. All animals taken
are recorded for weight, sex and location. These figures are used to monitor
numbers taken and allocate future cull numbers as required.
As I started, not
glamorous but essential to keep numbers under control for the benefit of the
community and the agricultural sector. One day I might get to hunt a big stag.
The Western Rock Lobster off our Western
Australian coast can grow up to 5 kilograms though most harvested would usually
only average 750 grams. They are a member of the spiny lobster family and taste
fantastic. Though the large portion of the
available catch is taken commercially, us amateur fishers have ample
opportunity to catch our own. For $50 you can add the rock lobster catch permit
to your annual fishing license. Amateurs catch them by either using lobster
pots or diving. Divers can only use a snare or catch by hand.
As a young fella I
chased these on a regular basis. We would go down the beach and swim out to the
inshore reefs only few hundred meters from the shore and free dive to catch our
quarry. Using, in them day a simple gidgee to prise the young lobsters from
under the reefy ledges. During late spring and again later summer the younger
lobster come into these onshore reefs to moult their shells and we would take
great advantage of this. This was the christening for me on an annual pursuit
of these much sort after delicacies. In these early days my mother, though
cautious of me diving, loved me even more with every mouthful.
Lobsters are a real delicacy. They are exported worldwide to supply the
restaurants from China, USA and Europe. It is Western Australia’s biggest
export fishery. Western Australia’s Western Rock Lobster Fishery has received
international acknowledgement as one of the best managed and most sustainable
in the world.
As time has gone
by we have improved our method of catching and invested in diving gear. This
has increased our chances of catching our share. On a couple of occasions this
year, when the weather gods shine we have had the opportunity to chase a few.
These day a lot of our diving is done in the 20 to 35 meters range to increase
our chances and sizes of our target.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as we enjoyed our feeds.
Sparsholt College’s 450-acre countryside campus has officially added a state-of-the-art new 100 metre Outdoor Rifle Range to its comprehensive list of student facilities.
This is a fantastic new addition to the college and Sparsholt is the only land-based college in the UK to have a resource of this size on their campus, approved for use by the National Rifle Association. The new Range complements Sparsholt’s 25m Indoor .22 Range and provides another great resource for students to build confidence, discipline and accuracy.
Ten years in the planning, Sparsholt College has been fortunate to be able to complete the range with its imposing 11.5m high stop butt created from 30,000 tonnes of clean white chalk, moved by TJ Transport from a recent local housing development in Winchester.
Guest of honour at the event was Great Britain’s Olympic medallist, Steve Scott, winner of the Bronze Medal in the men’s Olympic double trap shooting event in Rio where he notched up a perfect score of 30. Steve spoke at the opening event and unveiled the commemorative plaque. Steve then joined a shooting demonstration by Sparsholt’s Land and Wildlife Management students to celebrate the official opening of the range.
Steve Scott commented: “It’s been fantastic to officially declare the Fullbore Outdoor Rifle Range open for Sparsholt students to use as part of their extensive training. It was great to try the range out for myself and it’s brilliant to see this new facility in place to support students in developing their skills and confidence for their future careers.”
Guests attended the event from the many organisations and businesses that support the work of the college including BASC, Natural England, National Trust, Napier of London and Zeiss Optics. The College Vice President, the Earl of Malmesbury and Chair of Governors, Neil Hopkins OBE were also in attendance, joined by other members of the Board of Governors to welcome Steve Scott.
Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College Principal said: “I’m delighted to have welcomed Olympic Champion, Steve Scott to the official commissioning ceremony of our new Outdoor Rifle Range. We are so appreciative to have the support of our partner organisations and employers within the Game and Wildlife Management industry that have been involved with this exciting student facility and are looking forward to seeing our students’ skills excel with its use.”
Rod Greenwood, Land and Wildlife Management Senior Lecturer added: ‘The new Fullbore Range is a great resource that has been in the planning for some years. We put a huge amount of emphasis on safety, and our students are all very skilful. It’s a learning resource that can be used by students on a wide range of courses offered here at Sparsholt and will be a key tool in increasing learners’ confidence, discipline, attention to detail as well as their accuracy.’
Sparsholt College’s next open day will be held on Saturday 16 November between 10am-2pm. Register online at www.sparsholt.ac.uk/opendays or simply turn up on the day.
Distance is always a problem for our pursuits here in Western Australia. Isolation an inconvenience. To help with the control of camels on Cattle Stations on the fringe of the Never Never (arid uninhabited dessert regions) you need to be prepared. Prepared in the sense that you will need to carry all essentials required for the trip, fuel, water, food, communications and emergency supplies. Planning is essential. So after packing extra water and food, first aid kit, satellite phone and 120 litres of extra fuel, off we go. 14 hours later and we arrive at the cattle station and get the run down and good old chat.
Over the next 7 days we will travel around the Cattle Station and adjoining properties to locate and cull all the camels encountered. Camels are very nomadic beasts and travel huge distance to find feed and water water water. Conditions have been very bad in these semi-arid areas with no significant rain events for the previous two years. Things were dry and feed was sparse. The camels have to search far and wide for their survival. All the camels encountered were in a very poor state. Hence needing to come into the Stations from their usual desert habitat to find water. All the Stations have bores and or windmills to water their cattle and the camels invade these watering points in huge numbers. Water is a rare commodity in this environment so the Cattle men can ill afford to be sharing it with these brutes. A large bull camel can consume up to 200 litres of water in one drink. Camels because of their size also do damage to these watering points by breaking pipes, floats and infrastructure causing expensive repairs and putting the cattle at risk of dying from thirst.
Camel meat is a very good to the palate, being similar in texture and flavour to beef. So any of the young culled animals in reasonable conditions had their backstraps removed. The skin on a camel is not that tough, but it is fully impregnated with sand and vegetable matter tangle and entwined in the thick woolly hair so is dynamite on knives. The Apex 46 knife came to the fore. This knife surprised me. Camels are large animals with bulls standing 2 metres tall and weighing 1000 kilograms. The Apex 46 is a weighty sturdy knife but still a size that can be used articulately. I removed the backstraps from numerous animals and only used a steel to touch up between each. Kept its edge, certainly did. A permanent addition to my kit. This here knife is a bloody beauty.
Well what a week. We culled 122 camels. This should keep the Station owners happy though this is an ongoing issue for them. They pray for rain for their cattle but also for the Never Never country so the camel move back out into the desert.
It was Monday 8th of April and I was heading up MAKAHU road
to hot springs PUKETITIRI, the weather had set in to heavy rain. I Parked the
vehicle in scrub and with a heavy pack crossed a very low MOHAKA river.
No sign of anyone else, I think the weather had put most hunters off but as my old mate John would say “good to travel in bad weather, get to camp and be ready when weather turns good”. A couple of hours later I reached an old bivouac shelter (Improvised camp) which John and I had made years ago. The rain was still coming down hard and the bush was very wet. It was late in the day and I was in pack gear, so I changed into some good dry clothes which made me feel better, then gave my old 1949 BRNO 21 7MM a good dry down and oil up. I used my Napier of London deluxe rifle cleaning kit compete with rod patches oil and best of all a spray can of gun cleaner lubricant for lasting rust protection. Great stuff best things since sliced bread. I had an early night as weather still raining hoping for a better day tomorrow.
The rain had stopped, it was a good clear, fine morning and we had heard a few sika roars during the night. Best of all there was no wind. Filling the thermos and with tea made, a big sandwich and full day bag I put a dry patch through the rifle barrel and I was off.
The bush was very wet but I wasn’t going very far. Being
careful not to leave Human sent around I reached one of my good clearings which
I have shot good eight pointers off before. Well if you could call it a
clearing! It is a great spot for roaring stags.
Open in places with MANUKA and pepper woods thick in places
I like to sit in one place sometimes all day let the stags come to you, there
had been a few roars close, very close at times. After having a cup of tea and
sandwich I sat for about six hours. Then I heard sticks breaking I gave the
MANUKA bush close to me a good shake then rubbed a piece of wood up and down it,
boy that got him worked up. He let out a roar and came straight for me within 40
meters I could see eight good points and great length so I waited for a good
clear shoulder shot and fired. He spun around and took off I knew he would not
go far as he was hard hit by the blood trail 20 meters. There he was caught up
between two MANUKAS.
And what a surprise when I pulled him out of the bushes, he
had fallen on and old sika pile of bones which must have been shot wounded and
lost or died of old age.
The stag I shot had a great head skin, so I had the job of
taking the cape off and seeing to the meat. Then it was back to camp in dark.
The head I shot length 33 DOUGLAS SCORE 190
Head found length 31 DOUGLAS SCORE 181
A great day again, fine with no wind so out for hunt again,
this time in a different place. A place where a good mate of mine shot his
first eight pointer. It was DOUGLAS SCORE 205 and not bad for a first, he got a
bit restless with my way of hunting but it worked for him.
After sitting there for the day we did see two good stags
one eight and one seven pointer. We managed to get them on film so not all lost
and the odd hind which the stags were following.
Had a great day so back to camp, good feed and into bed.
Up early to find a great day again, we went out early in the
dark this time as I wanted to check out a small gully which holds a few deer
most of the time and always plenty of rut pads, although it is hard to hunt
there after the last big storm a couple of years ago. There’s plenty of
windfalls so found a good spot to sit.
I heard the odd single call, but it was a bit on the quite
side, still you never know, time will tell. We did see the odd hind also a four
pointer following them as normal. After sitting there for some time having a
cuppa, a deer started to whistle at me. Then I felt a breeze on the back of my
I gave it a bit of time but things got worse coming from the
north, no good for bush hunting so I got back to camp had an early tea then hit
the sack for an early start in the morning home
It had been a good few days in bush and I decided to hunt my
way out. No rush, I had all day and took a very slow trip out reaching MOHAKA
river, got across safely and back to Trusty old Subaru.
A great few days in the bush.
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