/ Deer culling
The gamekeepers are up in arms. They say that thousands of jobs will be lost, including stalkers jobs, if there are thousands fewer deer. That may or may not be so but if there are fewer deer then they are going to be harder to find and so the stalkers fees will rise. Money will be saved as less deer will mean less of the problems they cause.
There will be an influx of venison into the meat market, but wild hill deer are not always in the best condition as opposed to farmed deer so their meat is inferior. Where will that end up? Pet food, ready made meals,
I forgot to add that the stalkers will be employed to cull the deer, which will take a few years so they don't seem to be so badly done to.
I know gamekeepers who support a cull.
It is worth noting that gamekeepers/stalkers/beaters (ie the people on the ground as opposed to Factors and Estate managers who pop in the press representing themselves as gamekeepers) are not in a particularly strong position to publically take a position that conflicts with the interests of their employer/landlord.
Somehow the recommendations of a 50% cull seem to have been interpreted (by the media?) as applying to all deer species over the whole country. I don't think it is quite as simple as it is made out.
But yes, deer do need serious culling all the time, but jumping to the conclusion of a major cull of everything over the whole UK is over simplistic.
Highest population since the ice age apparently. Causing havoc across the country, using up resources, upsetting the food chain. No natural predators I guess.
There again, presumably, the same could be said of people?
Look at how much stalkers & keepers charge for deer stalking; methinks that in the current climate, there's going to be quite a limited market for such a 'luxury' side to the sport anyway (the same reason the big driven pheasant shoots put prices up last season).
As far as lowland & non-Scottish deer are concerned, there's a definite need for a cull. There's no predation for them, so no real controls over their numbers apart from culling. They are contributing to the destruction of woodland through over-grazing, leading to reduced habitats for other animals. Plus if they carry on eating everything, there'll be reduced food for large herds of deer, and I'd much rather a few hundred thousand get shot each year rather than seeing all of them die from starvation & disease.
I'm all for it, especially as it'll mean more good & very tasty meat being available, hopefully at lower prices, and from animals that have lived a free & healthy life and were killed very quickly without even realising it. Much better than factory-farmed meat or Romanian horse mince.
Now waits for the 'awww, it's cute, we can't eat it!' brigade....
Banning winter feeding would probably be much more effective.
Huge need for a huge cull in the Highlands. Far too many of the buggers and devastation to the environment as a result, particularly the trees. Look at places like Loch Cuaich, Loch Monar, massive areas of the Highlands where no trees can grow despite them being in "deer forests".
Indeed. I fully understand the need for the sporting estates to keep stalking profitable and support the rural economy, but at the same time, if that is negatively impacting on the environment as it is, then maybe they need to be circumvented and the deer population reduced regardless.
Now, hand me my rifle...
I don't disagree with you about there being too many deer but this didn't happen in the Highlands by accident. Deer on many estates are now fed during the winter. I'm certain that's a fairly new development. Years ago when one saw deer it was impossible to get within 100 yeards of them they were so timid. Nowadays on more than one occasion I've been able to stop my car in a passing place, wind down the window and hold out my hand as if there's food in it and the deer will come up to the car.
I presume the increase in numbers is to make the hunting more appealing. These days I believe that estates have to compete with shooting in the likes of Poland to attract customers.
By the way, have you read Isolation Shepherd? If so you'll recall that they used to keep cattle around Loch Monar. I imagine that cows have a pretty significant impact on the ecology as well.
Sorry, trying to drag the Lurcher off the sofa and inspire his prey drive.
I didn't suggest it happened by accident. It's the land management practices that are the problem.
I've read Isolation Shepherd many times and it is without doubt, in my view, the best and most grounded book about the Scottish hills. Check out an upload I made here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQV_Z7ZxQU8
Cattle are actually very good for keeping the bracken down and they dont destroy trees.
>> Good article. It brings up a more basic problem with the hills. Originally they were covered with trees. They were cut down for fuel, building ships etc and never replaced. A perfect example is Henry the 8'th
He had many oak trees cut down in England but didn't think to replace them with saplings. Then came the clearing of people in Scotland. That meant that sheep and deer stopped any saplings growing. So the hills were bare of cover so the rain washed the soil off the hills. Now there isn't enough soil to put the trees back. When there were trees there was very little bracken, now if you remove the deer and sheep only bracken will grow, not trees.
I've just depressed myself.
Tastes a lot better than horse meat. Especially roe venison. Where's my gun.
So no influx of venison.
> So no influx of venison.
What a Waste. Starving People all over the world would happily eat horse or deer, if they could.
> So no influx of venison.
To put venison (and other wild game) into the public food chain, you need to have passed the Wild Game meat hygene course - which isn't a bad thing. But not everyone has taken the course, so very possibly the estate is using stalkers who have not taken the course (and not everyone has) and therefore cannot put the venison through registered game dealers for sale. There may also be issues with carcase extraction from remote areas, which have to meet the hygene laws?
Just a thought this may be a reason, but I agree it is an unforgiveable waste of meat.
> So no influx of venison.
If that is true (which I doubt) then that'd be an exception rather than the rule, I have bought a couple of deer carcasses to butcher myself that were shot as part of the annual cull in the New Forest. Also, as someone who shoots, I have never heard of culled deer being left to rot, they are always sold or kept for consumption on the estate/farm.
I'd be suprised if large estates don't employ someone (even seasonally during the cull) who is qualified to inspect carcasses, it doesn't need to be inspected by the person that shot the animal, just by someone that is qualified to certify it as fit to enter the food chain.
....they do however impact massively on rejuvenation of what remains.
I read that 500 years ago 75% of the UK was covered in ancient native woodland. Now we have less than 10% woodland, little of it native or ancient.
> If that is true (which I doubt) then that'd be an exception rather than the rule, I have bought a couple of deer carcasses to butcher myself that were shot as part of the annual cull in the New Forest.
I presume you bought them off a licensed game dealer rather than the stalker? Section 10 of the Deer Act is pretty strict on those lines and many can fall foul of it by mistake.
> I presume you bought them off a licensed game dealer rather than the stalker? Section 10 of the Deer Act is pretty strict on those lines and many can fall foul of it by mistake.
Yes all was above board, the carcasses were shot, inspected and tagged by an employee of one of the charities that manages a lot of land there, also the money went into the charities income.
> Yes all was above board, the carcasses were shot, inspected and tagged by an employee of one of the charities that manages a lot of land there, also the money went into the charities income.
That sounds an excellent way of doing things, wish I could get hold of a carcass where I live, but unfortunately no deer locally. Used to have plenty in the old days when I lived down in the South.
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