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Tried & Tested | By Vern Cotter

Ex-Scotland rugby coach, Vern Cotter puts A Hume’s top country clothing through its paces on the hill

 

Words: Vern Cotter | Image: John Paul | Article: Scottish Field

 

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Seasoned hunter and former Scotland rugby coach, Vern Cotter puts the Laksen Sporting range to the test.

The A Hume top brass were looking for an experienced hunter to road test our newly acquired Laksen Hunting range when we heard that Richard Bath, Scottish Field editor was taking Vern Cotter hind stalking in the Highlands (see the May issue of Scottish Field).

Hunting prolifically since boyhood in New Zealand, Vern’s visceral passion for hunting is renowned. During his tenure as Scotland rugby coach he hunted regularly in the Scottish Borders, where it came to our attention that his passion for hunting is matched by an equal enthusiasm for cutting edge hunting kit. A glance at his bespoke rifle with Swarovski Z3 scope, custom made by France’s best rifle maker Joel Dorleac, tells you all you need to know. Vern is a man thoroughly qualified to judge the merits of our high end Danish hunting kit.

We knew we could trust straight talking ‘Stern Vern’ to give honest feedback and the moment we asked, he generously agreed to gamble his chance to pursue his Highland stalking dreams in untested kit. He had no problem hitting the hills in a pair of unbroken Meindl boots. Brand new, straight out of the box.

The Test

Location: Glenshiel Estate, Wester Ross.

Conditions: a mid-January day, murky and damp, with low cloud and hills streaked with snow. A tough day’s stalking, involving steep climbs, crawling and a long haul back dragging the hinds.

Vern’s Kit

Laksen Kodiak Hunting Jacket (£319) and Trousers (£179)

A brushed micro-fibre men’s shooting jacket and trousers with CTX © membrane. Waterproof, windproof and breathable – both are considered suitable for all weather.

Laksen Kamchatka Jacket (£539)

A waterproof winter shooting jacket for extreme cold with a CTX © membrane and thinsulate padding designed for comfort to -30°C.

Laksen Lancaster Shirt (£109)

A cotton and wool blend of hardwearing natural fibres: 85% cotton and 15% wool.

Meindl Dovre Extreme GTX Boots (£289.95)

A calf high, wide fitting boot designed for hunting.

 

Vern’s Assessment

Laksen Kodiak Hunting Jacket and Trousers

“The jacket felt light and mobile, allowing me to move unrestricted over the rough terrain. The hood was great – not all are – the high collar kept my neck warm. I could move easily in the trousers too, plus the high cut at the back keeps out the cold when you’re on the move. The watertight cuffs were very effective at stopping water ingress up the arms and legs. I stayed warm and dry all day, even when crawling on damp ground.

“On the flip side, steep hills and dragging hinds is hot work. I’m pleased to say, both the trousers and jacket felt light and extremely comfortable. The CTX © membrane worked, ensuring the jacket stayed breathable even when I was working hard on the mountain. Crucially, the jacket and trousers were quiet when walking and crawling. No noisy rustling.

“Lastly, the pocket system worked well, the trousers have plenty of good sized pockets, including a zip pocket for valuables. The plastic ring at the waistband allows you to attach a knife, or a torch – very useful. I’ve never seen this before.”

The Verdict: extremely comfortable and quiet for stalking.

Laksen Kamchatka Jacket

“A magnificent jacket but the conditions weren’t cold enough to merit it. However, I think it’s the warmest jacket I’ve ever put on!”

The Verdict: ideal for standing during running boar shoots, or duck shooting in Europe.

Laksen Lancaster Shirt

“I appreciated the wool content in the mix – excellent quality. Normally I’d wear a shirt like this casually. For hunting I prefer a longer shirt that covers your back when bending over. Shooting in a shirt with chest pockets like this can be a problem, as the pockets potentially obstruct your rifle. Having said that, it’s a very comfortable well-made product and I like the earthy colour.”

The Verdict: great, high quality shirt for casualwear.

 

Meindl Dovre Extreme GTX Boots

“I’ve never worn high cut boots before, I put them on for the first time in the morning, then wore them for 12 hours; including six hours of stalking and walking, plus a heap of dragging over pretty, rugged terrain. Even after all this I had no blisters, or signs of rubbing.

“They were very supportive and I was a lot more confident on uneven terrain, especially when I was dragging the hind downhill. The heal design aided stability travelling downhill and the memory foam makes a big difference to the comfort and fit.”

The Verdict: I can definitely say they’re the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn.

Thank you to Richard Bath, at Scottish Field and Glenshiel Estate

See the full Laksen and Meindl range at www.ahume.co.uk

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