Wondered what members thought of the recent DCS proposals to change aspects of Scottish deer legislation, mainly with regard to red deer?
The one which has upset a lot of professional stalkers, myself included, is the proposal to abolish the stag season altogether. My main gripe is that in a female biased population, why turn management into a free for all on stags? Granted stags are perhaps more likely to cause damage on agricultural ground/in forestry,but it seems to me like they are being made a scapegoat as they are an easy target. If there is a change of legislation due to these proposals it will mean that most of these stags will be shot just beyond the current season, and in the spring when they are seeking any fresh grass coming through. Stags are vulnerable at this time because physically they are at their lowest ebb, having lost a great proportion of their weight during the rut and having to start growing new antlers in the spring. The thought of shooting Knackered,smelly,black stags at that time of year while they are desperately trying to recoup some body condition absolutely disgusts me.
People have worked hard to promote venison and get it known(rightly) as the superb natural food that it is, what are the dealers going to do with the tainted meat they will receive at that time of year? I dont know anybody who manages deer who would eat a stag killed then. Great PR for venison.
The pro tree and anti estate lobby have for years tried to give people the impression that there is an inexhaustable supply of deer out there and given deer the status of vermin(sometimes only for political reasons too).Public opinion is turning against deer because of this.
Public meetings have been held to discuss the ''problem'' of deer on the road-generally called for by people who have moved into more rural areas to enjoy the ''good life''-the countryside,scenery and wildlife-and then decide that on their convenience trips/commute back to town that these animals that have to cross the road that have been there for hundreds of years are actually an inconvenience. (its also got nothing to do with the fact that roads and cars have got so much faster over the last ten years-is this the fault of the deer?) Also no mention of the thousands of acres of tradational wintering ground that deer have been fenced out of over the last 20 years in the name of native woodland regeneration(which I'm all for), again though, no fault of the deer.
Red deer in scotland are an iconic species,a national asset and source of employment, they are also a key part of the biodiversity and environment that so many people would have them eradicated from to ''protect''. Surely they should be managed as such.
Look forward to hearing everybody's ideas.