By Tim Jones, Managing Editor
In Report 9432
subscriber W. L. Snow gives a hearty thumbs up to an October red stag hunt in Scotland
arranged for him by Michael Grosse of International Adventures Unlimited
(970-641-5369). "This was a spot-and-stalk 'estate hunt' that I upgraded from a hill stag hunt. The terrain was plenty challenging enough, and it was NOT a 'shoot 'em in the pen' hunt.
"This is an excellent trip for a hunter and a non-hunting spouse. The hunting is challenging enough without wearing you out and the overall experience is first class from start to finish. The basic hunt cost is $4,950 for a hill stag. Most folks, but not all, opt to upgrade this to an estate stag up to 12 points for an additional $2,500. I paid an additional $2,100 ($300 per point) in trophy fees for my 19-point stag. (Note: the upgrade is an additional trophy fee and does not include a hill stag AND an estate stag. It only includes an estate stag. The outfitter will completely clarify this, in advance, if there are any questions.)
"The estate stags are obviously much bigger than the hill stags and are somewhat easier to hunt than free-range hill stags, which can definitely be challenging. But the estate hunt can be as challenging as you want to make it. They can wear you out if you want. After your stag hunt is complete you can join the non-hunters for touring and sight-seeing or opt for additional free-range and estate hunting opportunities for a variety of additional animals.
"What makes this, I believe, a truly unique opportunity is the option to take a spouse along on a trip that is equally pleasing for both hunters and non-hunters. While I was out hunting, the ladies were out touring and seeing the sights of the Scottish Highlands with Danielle Grosse (Michael's wife). Danielle acts as the tour guide, and she knows her way around. This is not an ad hoc, "let's go see what we can see" outing. The day trips are well planned, interesting and structured outings. Transportation is provided in a large touring van, all admissions to castles, Old St. Andrew's Golf Club, and other venues are included, as well as all meals during the tours.
"Another impressive aspect of this trip is the extras included in the base price. The price given above includes airfare to Scotland, lodging at the Land of Loyals Estate/Hotel (first class), all meals (probably four star), and the usual trophy care and processing. Finally, in addition to the above services, Michael is a licensed importer and will import your trophies to the States for a fraction of normal import and shipping fees.
"Last, but not at all least, the information provided before the hunt and as you plan the hunt is by far the best we have ever experienced. Both Danielle and Michael will answer any and all questions and leave absolutely nothing to be guessed. They cover before and after the hunt logistics, firearms, trophy care, touring, food and beverage needs, insurance and everything in between. They have been doing this as a couple for 17 years and really do have it down pat. After hunting all over North America, South and Central America, and Africa, this was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable trips I have taken and definitely the best hunting trip I have ever taken my wife on. The only complaint we have is that we are now looking to do this same type of hunt in other countries and have had no success to date. We will keep looking." Postscript
: This is the 10th positive report we have on file for Grosse's Scottish operations, dating back to 2005, about evenly balanced between red and roe deer. We also have two on mule deer hunts he has organized. All of the reports are entirely positive. We talked to Grosse just before going to press, and he told us he recommends using their quality rifles with "moderators" rather than bringing your own. "The daily rental fee works out to about the cost of your ammunition."
Grosse also told us that his peak season is in September and October when the roar is on. "About 90 percent of my clients opt for a mixed-bag hunt and take a roe or fallow deer or both in addition to red stag." Because of a few changes in scheduling, he still has a few openings left for 2014, but is already booking into 2015 and 2016.