Experience the peak whistle in select free-range hunting areas across southern England’s Dorchester County, site of the original Sika introductions, and easily the best genetic pockets in the UK, for a challenging yet memorable experience.
||3 Days, 4 nights, 1×1 fully guided.
||The peak roar/whistle occurs in October. Late-season winter hunts may also be possible.
||Wild, Free-ranging, Introduced
Here’s another 100% wild and free-ranging hunt for one of the world’s most shy and elusive deer species – the Japanese Sika! Introduced to the shores of Southern England’s coastal tidal marshes over a century ago, they have now firmly established populations across select regions of the countryside, multiple generations wild-born and free-ranging.
A challenging and rewarding deer species to hunt, these Sika are best targeted during the October rut or whistle and can be heard screaming through the ivy-covered, woodlots they now call home. Southern England also boasts the best Jap Sika genetics of all the UK. Here medal-class 8-point stags are not uncommon.
Adding to this unique hunt is the opportunity to harvest Roe Deer, Muntjac, or even English Red stags, all with overlapping open hunting seasons. These additional species make a nice bonus to any hunt in Southern England, complimenting any hunt for these handsome Sika stags.
Further, England is a splendid destination to consider bringing a non-hunting observer, with so much to see and do. London is the destination city with literally endless tourism or sightseeing activities, but the quaint English countryside is literally bursting at the seams with history, dating back to hundreds to thousands of years. A must for any history buff.
Compliment the free-range hunting quality, diversity, and opportunity with history and sightseeing, but also, it’s an easy, hassle-free destination to get to. Heathrow international is a short drive from many of the best hunting areas, and various lovely accommodations can be custom-tailored to any group. Local culinary is always mouthwatering and hearty, adding to the rich cultural tapestry that makes England what it is. Having hunted here several times, I give it two thumbs way up. Great outfitting partners, unique and limited make it a special hunting adventure for a strikingly handsome, and elusive deer species.
Typical Day & Tactics
Hunters generally arrive to Heathrow International airport in London and are greeted by the outfitter or a shuttle driver, delivering hunters to the quaint hotel or cottage accommodations for the hunt. Arrive in time to prep hunting gear and enjoy a nice dinner before bed.
The following morning will start off in the pre-dawn arriving at the hunting area slightly before sunrise. Sika are notoriously nocturnal, and the rut is certainly the best time to both confirm their presence by the piercing sound of their whistle-like mating calls, and catch them off their guard as they filter from open to wooded country. Like most crepuscular deer species, early mornings and late evenings often produce the highest likelihood of an encounter with a mature stag. While populations are good, Sika are very cunning, shy, and elusive which makes for a challenging and rewarding hunt. So, calling, glassing, sitting in high-seats, or stalking in the early morning hours are the typical strategies.
Come mid to late morning, and hunters are usually brought back to the lodge for a hearty traditional brunch with all the English fixings. That is of course unless in hot pursuit of a vocal stag, throwing his survival savviness aside as they can during the rut. But typically, a midday nap and some R&R occurs until it’s time to resume the game of cat and mouse for the evening hunt. Typical but reverse tactics are now employed, as stags are either stalked through timber, waited on from a strategic high seat, or overlooking a feeding/rutting field waiting for the herds of Sika to begin emerging from the forests.
In the meantime, Roe deer are very plentiful in all the hunting areas, while Muntjac can also be hunted in various select regions. Free-range English Red Stags may also be available upon special request with a relocation further west if desired. Additional Sika stags may also be taken on a flat-rate trophy fee basis if successful early in the hunt. Certainly, something for everyone in jolly old England!
Landscape & Climate
Southern England is a patchwork of small, old hamlets, rich agricultural or pasture fields dotted with mature deciduous dominated woodlots, and the odd pine plantation. To this, add medieval castles, churches, and manor homes in the distance set amongst gently rolling hilltops. Huge gnarly English Oak, Elm, and Beech trees become covered in ivy scattered among the holly and rhododendron bushes. Medieval era rock walls and dense hedgerows compartmentalize the landscape. Some of the Sika hunting grounds occur along the English Channel and are coastal in nature, with the characteristic reed-filled tidal marshes that these deer are often associated with. Before long you find yourself in an ancient, picturesque, and very huntable landscape. Exploring it alone is worth the trip.
During the October rut, the leaves are still generally green with fall colors just commencing. Mornings are generally dewy, but frost is uncommon. While visibility in the woods is somewhat hampered by the foliage, the tradeoff is more exposed soil and quieter stalking conditions allowing hunters to sneak more silently through the timber. Rain is always possible in southern England but generally not a wet time of year. In fact, the weather is quite lovely during the fall season which makes for pleasant outings with cooler mornings and evenings and warmer middays. For detailed weather data, Wikipedia is an excellent resource for historic weather trends found in the “Climate” section available for any city worldwide.
Meals & Accommodations
Stay in either a beautiful heritage castle or manor home, now converted to a rural hotel, often complete with a bar and restaurant. Or a quaint rural cottage on the outfitters homestead located directly in the hunting area, with commuting times often only mere minutes. Enjoy traditional, local, homecooked meals if at the outfitter’s home. If staying at one of the hotel accommodations, enjoy private rooms with all amenities. There may be a local pub on the grounds or a short walk away that makes for a nice after-hours treat.
Meals from the hotel restaurant are already included in every package with a list of traditional English fare. Breakfasts are typically light, with a hearty home-cooked or buffet-style brunch upon returning from the morning hunt. A midday pub-stop for lunch may also occur, depending on the hunting area. Order what you like off the menu for dinner. Fish & chips, bangers & mash, gourmet burgers, local seafood platters, curries, pizzas, and pastas are just some of the great items to choose from each night.
Key Equipment Suggestions
This hunt only requires basic equipment. A day pack, 10x binoculars, rangefinder, headlamp, comfortable walking boots, earth-tone or olive drab layered hunting clothing, rain gear, and a camera cover the essentials.
3 days/4 nights – 1×1 fully guided – x1 Japanese Sika – October – $4750
*NOTE – All hunts are free-range with flat-rate pricing. No size restrictions or sliding scale trophy fees.
- Round trip airport pick-up and drop-off services
- All meals and accommodations during the hunt
- All permits, licenses, and trophy fees for x1 free-range Japanese Sika with no size restrictions
- 1×1 professional guiding with an experienced local stalker
- Rifle rental for the duration of the hunt & ammunition
- All ground transportation while hunting
- Basic trophy skull & hide preparations, and delivery to the taxidermist
- Travel to the destination city of London, England
- Any pre and post-hunt meals and hotel accommodations
- Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
- Gratuities to guides and staff
- Taxidermy and trophy export
- Personal side ventures, sightseeing or tourism
- purchases of a personal nature, alcohol, souvenirs etc.
- Extra hunting days: $500/day
- Non-hunting observer days: $150/day
Trophy fees for additional game species (no size restrictions);
- Additional free-range Japanese Sika – $2500
- Free-range Roe Deer – $750
- Free-range Muntjac (if available) – $750
- Free-range English Red Stag (if available) – $3500
Hunters are asked to arrive to Heathrow International Airport in London, England, where they will be greeted by the outfitter or a driver. The various hunting areas are scattered 1-3 hours’ drive south or west of London.
London is easily reached, often with direct flights and no connections from many major airports. Fares are well priced, flights are quick & easy and lots of bonus travel or sightseeing options are available.
Round-trip airport shuttles and all ground transportation between the hunting areas is already included with every package.
Passports are required for all international travel. Vaccination or Covid testing may also be required, with requirements subject to change.
Josh D. – North Carolina, USA.
I have booked several hunts with TIAGA and so far, Adrian has always delivered a great experience. Romania Fallow, Ukraine Manchurian Sika, Texas Axis, New Caledonia Rusa, and Florida Alligator to name a few…
Growing up hunting Sika in coastal Maryland with my father makes this species a nostalgic one for me. So, when I heard Adrian was heading to Southern England to pursue BIG Japanese Sika & bonus Roe deer, I of course jumped at the opportunity to join him – and I’m glad I did!
We went in October and timed our hunt with the rut perfectly. The stalkers over there know their quarry and wasted no time putting me in front of a beautiful Sika stag on the evening of the hunt day, and I was bewildered to walk up to this glorious silver medal class Jap Sika stag!! What may have taken a lifetime in Maryland’s Delmarva peninsula took just a single day in England! But it didn’t stop there. The next evening Adrian was up to bat and I watched him take a perfect shot at a lovely bronze medal stag! Just when you think the hunt is done, we changed gears, turning our attention to Roe deer, a first for me. We each of us made out with beautiful medal class bucks, and still had time to spare.
The outfitter and organization were very professional, equipment was top-notch, and the area was game-rich and well scouted. I loved it so much I returned a month later and connected with a huge gold medal Chinese Water Deer! England is a new favorite hunting destination, and I’ll be back for Muntjac one day, I want to thank Adrian and TAIGA for making this hunt possible. I highly recommend it. You won’t leave disappointed!