by Countryside Alliance

In the Winter issue of 'My Countryside' magazine, we asked Countryside Alliance staff what they’d like to see in their stockings this Christmas. This is what they said...

Deer stalking
Deer stalking through the summer months is often the cream of the sport. The roe buck rut is at its height, and long evening sunsets spent waiting for a deer to appear are a delight. But there is one major frustration: ticks. Ticks have grown in number over the last few years and apart from being irritating, pose a serious health risk.  As a result, I’m hoping that my stocking will contain a pair of anti-tick stalking trousers, such as the Trail trousers from Harkila. Excellent trousers in their own right, they are treated with Tanatex insect repellent which keeps these pesky parasites at bay.

- Sam Carlisle

Wildfowling
The finest wigeon whistle, bar none, is a little brass trumpet. Suck air through its thin tube and it produces a resonant whistle, which nearly exactly replicates the call of the cock wigeon. Practise a bit and you can nail the ‘wee-ooo’ of perhaps our most wonderful estuarine duck and there are few more exciting experiences in sport than a pack of wigeon responding to a call and fixing their wings on the final approach into your decoys. The only weakness of the whistle is a small welded ring designed to connect it to a lanyard, which fails fairly regularly. As a result my last one lies somewhere in the mud of an Essex estuary and, disastrously, the brass wigeon whistle has disappeared from every supplier. I am currently relying on an inferior plastic whistle, but the hunt for a brass whistle goes on.

- Tim Bonner

Shooting
I am hoping Father Christmas has deep pockets for my main stocking filler this year, not to mention an equally large sock to put it in. Hints have been subtly dropped, and I have been leaving my Le Chameau leather-lined Chasseur wellies in really irritating places. No one can possibly fail to see that after what must be 18 years, I could really do with a new pair! They are simply the best, and I cannot be without them. If, however, it is a case of being in penury, then I suppose another acme 210½ dog whistle would do. 

- Adrian Blackmore

Fly fishing
Fishing for Schools has done so well and I think that you might just pop into Famous Fishing and ask William Daniel for a day on the lyrically lovely Bourne Rivulet as my present. A river of sharp-eyed, wild trout – big ones! A place of rising fish and wavering weed in crystal flows and a pebble mosaic bottom, I would love that. May I, cheekily, ask for a Scott G Series 8ft 8”  #3 fly rod to fish there, too. I really would be so happy. 

- Charles Jardine

Hunting
Getting cramp when removing your hunting boots after a long day has to be one of the worst feelings ever, even the fear of it can make you put off the moment for as long as possible. I’m hoping that will be a thing of the past though if a wonderfully designed Horace Batten cast iron boot jack is wrapped up under the tree for me this year. With “his and hers” foot slots, it’s a gift that all can use and even if boots are caked in mud, the mud simply drops down beneath the boot jack so you don’t then step into it barefoot. Admittedly it’s rather extravagant and oversized for a stocking filler but it would make a wonderful and practical gift. 

- Polly Portwin

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