I recently read an article by Jan Andrews concerning the extension of the female deer season to the end of March in England and Wales. Although the majority of deer groups lobbied DEFRA hard to introduce these changes, I think that Jan and the rest of us, have every reason to be concerned about the impact they will have on deer welfare.
Milder winters are leading to more winter feed which increases the land's holding capacity, and it is also likely to result in earlier Roe birth dates.[/i]
She points out that in the south of England, Roe deer are already giving birth at the end of March and that on land she leases in Hampshire, a Sika hind was seen giving birth in the second week of March this year. I also hear similar stories from other stalkers, although I must confess that I didn't see any early arrivals on the land I manage here in the Cotswolds (clearly I need to get out more).
In order to prevent culling deer with dependant young, perhaps we should all be aiming to fill up the highseats with friends (and colleagues you meet through sites like this one) and get the cull numbers racked up before we go too far into March. Then the landowner's happy, you're happy and deer welfare won't have been compromised.