Royal Watch News
Deer stalker Kate Middleton
Jan 26, 2009, 11:00 GMT
Kate Middleton is taking up deer stalking.
The 27-year-old girlfriend of Britain's Prince William - who is regular at pheasant shoots at the Queen's Norfolk estate Sandringham - is reportedly eagerly awaiting her first deer hunt.
A source said: "Kate happily accompanies beaters while the princes shoot pheasants, but this season she has been more keen to stand at the pegs with the guns.
"Now she's looking forward to bagging her first set of Royal antlers."
Kate has even booked target practice lessons to improve her aim in time for the summer deer stalking season at Balmoral, the royal residence in Scotland.
She has also been having private shooting lessons with William's father Prince Charles and royal gamekeepers.
The source told Britain's The Daily Mail newspaper: "This is another transition into the Royal fold. You can't marry one of the boys without loving their lifestyle and hobbies."
William is encouraging Kate's newfound interest, buying her a Swarovski-encrusted hunting sight for her 27th birthday earlier this month.
A source said: "She's used estate rifles and kit and she's got a good eye considering she'd never done this sort of thing before.
"If they're serious about shooting, most people like to own their own equipment. Sights are set up for each person's eyesight. It can be like wearing someone else's glasses."
But Kate's new hobby has angered animal rights activists.
League Against Cruel Sports spokesman Barry Hugill said: "It's sad William is introducing his girlfriend to such a barbaric, unacceptable pastime.
"It seems necessary she must kill animals to be an acceptable member of the Royal Family."