I’ve been wanting to write this article for many years now. It’s about a subject many people just don’t think about and there’s no easy or sensitive way to approach it. it’s never been written about before to my knowledge, probably for good reason..

In the countryside there are no toilets. None.

For people stalking in the afternoon/evening, its not so much of an issue I guess – but for deer stalkers setting out to hunt at the crack of dawn (no pun intended) or are stalking most of the day, what you eat the night before can soon become a major issue – and I’ve seen this ‘issue’ happen countless times to my stalking clients over the years.

Animals, of course, naturally do it all the time and a are quite comfortable about it. But this is an experience not many humans in the modern age, ever consider a possibility, let alone prepare for.

Let me spell it out.

Deer stalking at dawn in the summer months for example, with sunrise times of 04:40 or so in June, means a start of 03:40. Then add the time between getting up and travelling to the stalk location. If you’re lucky, the stalk location may be nearby, but that still means getting up at roughly 02:30 in the morning or it could be earlier if your further away from the stalk venue.

In short, this means that your body clock is out of sync and whilst some people seem to have a cast iron constitution, many of us (particularly if we are starting to age in years) do not. It is therefore important to consider what you eat the night before hunting to ensure (as best you can) that you don’t need to ‘use the facilities’ during your stalk session.

Here’s my top 7 tips to avoid the embarrassment of being ‘caught short’ during your deer stalking session – or if you do need to, how to be prepared.

  1. Don’t eat anything that you know that may irritate your system. For most people this means avoiding spicy meals such as hot curries, chilli con carne etc.
  2. Eat something that you know will ‘bung you up’ a bit. For me, I’ve learned its rice and sausages – it reliably does the trick.
  3. Don’t drink alcohol the night before a shoot. Not only does this change your constitution, but it may not be out of your system before the early start, which is not acceptable for anyone driving, let alone those carrying firearms.
  4. Make a point of using the toilet before leaving for your stalk and get rid of anything loitering in the system.
  5. If you do eat something in the morning before stalking, ensure its light and something your body is used to. For me I eat a brioche in the car on the way over (its important your tummy doesn’t start rumbling on the stalk!!)
  6. Carry something in your kit bag in case the worst happens. In deer stalking books of yesteryear, authors suggested you carry a toilet roll and peg pieces of white toilet paper to the ground to mark the blood trail of a deer that had run when shot. This had a secondary purpose if you get ‘caught short’ (although they never conveyed that to my knowledge). I would suggest that readily available anti-bacterial wipes used for cleaning knives in the field is a better option and would adequately do the job if the worst came to the worst..
  7. Remember: SAFETY FIRST. If you do need to ‘use the toilet’ at any time during your stalk, always unload your weapon and make it safe before…

There I’ve said it. I did tell you at the beginning of this article there was no easy way of approaching this subject!! Hopefully though, you are now fully prepared for an enjoyable deer stalking session, without any unwanted or embarrassing ‘issues’ arising…

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