As well as running our cottages and farm on Dunalastair, as with many highland estates, we have deer stalking and a small game shoot during certain times of year.
From mid September to 20th October, deer stalking takes place where stags are culled to keep numbers down so that they do not cause destruction to habitat and also do not starve in winter from lack of food through too large a population. Stag stalking is carried out by paying clients with the keeper taking them out individually and ensuring it is safely and humanely carried out. Hind stalking takes place from 21st October to January and this is usually carried out by the keeper alone. Culls on low ground may happen at other times of year when necessary to protect crops and young trees.
In early spring when the weather is dry enough, you may see fires on the hillsides. This is muirburn, or controlled burning of the old heather to encourage young growth and provide food for the grouse and other wild moorland birds. Grouse eat young heather shoots and hide from predators in the long heather, hence heather is burnt in small strips leaving a pattern over the hillsides. The burning does not affect the peat as it is superficial and carefully supervised. This also benefits many moorland birds providing food and shelter from predators.
We have a small walked up shoot with pheasants and partridges.
For hill walkers, if you are going out to the hill during the stalking season it is advisable to stick to paths or, if you are at all unsure, please call us and we can advise on the best routes to take.
Notices are put in cottages when pheasant shoots are scheduled. The shoots are run by our qualified keeper. Please ask if this affects your booking.
You may hear the odd shot fired now and then for vermin control at lambing time and occasionally at other times, but it should not disturb you.
Cottages largely unaffected are Tuim Cottage, East Lodge and Bridge Cottage. Other cottages are rarely affected. If you are at all concerned please get in touch with us and we can give advice or put you in touch with our gamekeeper, Niall, who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
For dog walkers, you may during certain times of year see signs posted to keep your dogs on leads or at your heel. We ask that you kindly adhere to these signs and are grateful for your consideration.
Field sports provide employment in fragile rural communities and this in turn helps the viability of hotels, shops, schools and local groups, and deer culling and moorland management is an important part of responsible environmental management.
If you are interested in game shooting and stalking that can sometimes be available on Dunalastair, please contact Niall