THE BRITISH DEER SOCIETY - 50 YEARS of COMMON EFFORT

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Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
Perhaps its just me but of late I note a certain desperation in debate worthy subject matter floating around SD so here is something to get us back on track. Popcorn optional:

The assertion that caught my eye is to be found in Richard Prior's 50-year overview of the BDS as set out in the most recent journal and on the face of it correctly draws our attention to the Society's great success in harnessing the effort of those who's only interest was/is deer welfare born of a concern for this grossly maltreated animal and those with an allied interest that is the sporting opportunity this beautiful creature affords.

So my question is just how successful has the BDS been in both managing and developing the "common effort" to the satisfaction of both sides that might otherwise be in conflict and is the balance all it could and should be?

K
:popcorn:
 
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NeilG

Well-Known Member
Perhaps its just me but of late I note a certain desperation in debate worthy subject matter floating around SD so here is something to get us back on track. Popcorn optional:

The assertion that caught my eye is to be found in Richard Prior's 50-year overview of the BDS as set out in the most recent journal and on the face of it correctly draws our attention to the Society's great success in harnessing the effort of those who's only interest was/is deer welfare born of a concern for this grossly maltreated animal and those with an allied interest that is the sporting opportunity this beautiful creature affords.

So my question is just how successful has the BDS been in both managing and developing the "common effort" to the satisfaction of both sides that might otherwise be in conflict and is the balance all it could and should be?

K
:popcorn:

OK... in for a penny !!!

My view, is that the intentions of the BDS are good, and the values of deer welfare & management are sound. However, despite all the stories of over population in the press, the endless complaints of damage by farmers, and the scientific reports generated by endless research from our more learned, and academic members of society, charities, and organisations, you try getting permission on even the most modest land holding / farm / forestry, without being held to financial ransom, H&S requirements, qualification requirements, which seem to increase disproportionately to the average / common man`s, or individuals ability to accrue them......

Looking through the glossy £6.00 per issue magazine, and the pictures of Sir this, Rt hon that etc, or established / veteran stalkers brigade, it does make you wonder whose benefit the BDS is run for. The deer, yes, without doubt, but working to a `common effort`, very doubtful - unless you are on the inner circle.

There are people on here no doubt, who have little trouble picking up permissions for nothing, cheap as chips, modest sums, but then it also begs the question of how 1 person, maybe 2 people if good friends can manage 20 / 30 / 40 thousand acres of land properly and those people are out there.

The `deer industry`, and it is exactly that, is thriving, but at whose expense / benefit ??? We hear stories that 750K of the national herd needs to be culled to stay at the same population, so either people are not managing deer on their permissions properly ( ie Does, Hinds etc, not just the medal heads ), and / or charging much moolah for the opportunity to cull them - which people cannot afford very often, the landowners are making a rod for their backs by not getting a qualified person in on their land because they are charging more than the average person can justify from their income, or the problem is not as bad as people are making out...... You cannot have it all ways.

So is the BDS worthwhile. For the deer yes, and long may we have people concerned enough to put deer on a pedestal - as long as the deer are not turned in to `cash cows` as is the trend these days.... If there was more access to affordable stalking ( rather than the occasional vendor ) then more people would take up the offers, reducing the deer herds, and still putting money in to peoples pockets..... over a longer more managed and sustainable period. Otherwise we just end up on the same merry go round and nothing will change - until the Government wades in, issues all sorts of crap licenses that will give the holder carte blanche to blat anything and everything in a herd, when it could be avoided so much more easily...

Well, my view anyway, and not sour grapes as I worked hard for my permissions, but it could be easier for all......

All the best.

Neil.
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that Neil!

Over the years I’ve tried very hard to avoid reference to the “Sir this, Rt hon that etc” target in my occasional dissatisfaction with the Society as it so easily gets misinterpreted as simply Class prejudice but there is no doubt it is something that exercises many. Of course the reality is not lost on me that until relatively recently who else would one expected to own great tracks of land, similarly proportioned county houses and deer parks!

One of the challenges that must be a constant thorn in the Society’s side is that allied to the mantra that the Society is not nor will it become a “stalking club” but against a backdrop of a membership comprising what percentage of stalkers to deer watchers?

K
 

timbrayford

Well-Known Member
So my question is just how successful has the BDS been in both managing and developing the "common effort" to the satisfaction of both sides that might otherwise be in conflict and is the balance all it could and should be?



K
:popcorn:
Ah yes, the very question that I have recently asked them in relation to wild deer on the Isle of Wight. atb Tim
 

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
And my two pennies worth is that the BDS does a good job promoting the study and welfare of deer and I imagine that is the thrust of the 'common effort' theme. The allied interest of sporting opportunity isn't their remit, other than promoting humane and effective management for the welfare of the deer. I imagine a stalker, syndicate or landed owner who holds extensive stalking rights or permissions, and doesn't manage the numbers humanely or effectively to the detriment of deer welfare, would be roundly condemned by the Society.
As for who the Society benefits, as far as I'm concerned, that would be me - and no, sad to say, I'm not a Knight, member of the Privy Council or the Lord Mayor of London. The latest glossy issue of Deer (free to members) has 60 pages and a further 11 pages replicating the very first issue of Deer News dated July 1963 - in itself an fascinating read. It has some interesting information on SBV in British Deer, a timely reminder of the dangers to our deer from Chronic Wasting Disease, a good article that puts the misquoted UEA research in clear context and entirely refutes the tosh reported about the need to cull 750,000 animals a year, another piece on genetic diversity in Roe.... Essentially, lots of info about deer.
As a measure of how stalking really doesn't predominate, in a magazine laden with excellent deer images there are precisely 18 images of dead deer,and of those 13 are in advertisements for chillers, rifles etc. One image is used to illustrate a piece on RTCs, one is in a picture of Edgar Barclay stalking in 1938, one illustrates a new gizmo to hang carcasses from a tail lift hatch, another shows a roe harness in use and finally one taken at a gralloch demo for Northern Ireland branch.
I don't see that the BDS has any interest in "both managing and developing the "common effort" to the satisfaction of both sides" as the Society simply isn't in the business of 'satisfying' stalking interests.

I don't like popcorn - is there a Kia-Ora smiley?
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
I used the term "sporting opportunity" as that, or something very close to it, was RP's terminology in the context of the Society's inception. Clearly that has since morphed into "humane and effective (deer) management" but to suggest "the Society simply isn't in the business of 'satisfying' stalking interests" implies the two are wholly separate which is a debate in its own right if you mean other than facilitating stalking opportunity?

K
 

csl

Administrator
Site Staff
:evil: the only stalking interest they have is looking after the inner circle.

Personally I think this lets the whole thread down. It's been pleasantly objective until now. Hopefully people can see the difference between an opinion with a well thought out argument.... and negative unsubstantiated statements designed to turn a thread sour.

Alex - ordinary BDS member, not 'inner circle' :rolleyes:
 

Virbius

Well-Known Member
Where the BDS is unfortunately falling short is its ability to engage its members in some regional areas, to the point of members not renewing their membership due to the lack of activity. This is not from member apathy or through want to engage by the local membership, but simply due to apathy and poor organisation from the volunteer committee in that region.
 

NeilG

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that Neil!

Over the years I’ve tried very hard to avoid reference to the “Sir this, Rt hon that etc” target in my occasional dissatisfaction with the Society as it so easily gets misinterpreted as simply Class prejudice but there is no doubt it is something that exercises many. Of course the reality is not lost on me that until relatively recently who else would one expected to own great tracks of land, similarly proportioned county houses and deer parks!

One of the challenges that must be a constant thorn in the Society’s side is that allied to the mantra that the Society is not nor will it become a “stalking club” but against a backdrop of a membership comprising what percentage of stalkers to deer watchers?

K

Hello Klenchblaize.

When I started out in stalking, 18 - 20 years ago, I had real trouble getting the information needed to put myself in contact with people from whom to decide whether stalking was for me - and it was a real struggle to become involved. For me BDS was the organisation I contacted, and thankfully, there were some good people to talk to who put me on the path, which allowed contact with stalkers, the odd outing, and then L1 / L2 / and BDS DM qualifications over the subsequent years. Even that relatively short time ago, stalking was a closed shop, unless you had the contacts.... Much has changed with regards to stalking access, related information access - ie S/D, Best Practise guides, internet etc, and the sheer number of people involved in stalking these days. However, what I find amazing, is that with ( don`t hold me to these !!!! ) approx 20000+ L1 holders, 4000 - 6000+ L2 holders, and 750 - 1000+ DM holders, nationwide, and plenty of people who stalk but do not hold the paperwork, there is a significant number of people willing and able to get out and shoot / cull / manage deer + boar. Considering wild deer belong to no-one, other than the landowner whose ground they end up on when shot dead, many people are making significant sums out of something they have not bred / purchased ( like stock ). Yes, some work is done to `manage` the herd - but for what purpose, to generate further income from shooting deer........ If we end up in a national position where there are too many deer, then I can only say that there has been much research over a long time to validate this, but the flip side is that research is nothing without a goal / end result / QED moment, as to what that research is to be used to for.

K - don`t get me wrong, I am a staunch supporter of the BDS when I can be, as all my training, insurance, membership is / has been purchased via BDS over many years, but take a look at the advert in this latest edition of Deer, for the Niggeloh Ultra Blood tracking collar.... trialled by Graham Downing ( I presume ).... Nice piece of kit, but at £38.95 for the collar, and £52.95 for the 12M tracking lead, but when compared to Stalkers UK for the same kit - £32.95 for the collar, and £38.95 for the tracking lead.... a saving of £20.00... Which may not be much, but these days to `the average stalker` that saving could be put towards paying for a stalk / DMQ qualification / BDS Insurance / ammunition etc.....

If BDS is working for the `common effort` then it is annoying little things like this that need to be consistent with market value, otherwise the image persists of BDS being an organisation run for the benefit of the people who have no idea what `average` may mean. I would love to buy the above items via BDS for my GWP to be purchased soon, however, Stalkers UK will probably end up with the money due to simple economics..... When put like this deer management as a whole becomes very simple..... IF there is a `problem` with deer numbers, which lots of expensive research indicates, then the way forward is to encourage vendors to drop prices ( understanding that they have a `living` to make ), engage more people, and the numbers will fall in to place for everybody, stalker, deer manager, deer, research.

Good thread, and very thought provoking, but I apologise if I am not as eloquent as some.....

All the best.

Neil.
 

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
+1 and in hindsight something I could have made far more of in the early 80’s had I not been less than ideally located, of limited disposable income and above all distracted by the fairer s-x. :oops: Testimony to this are the letters I retain from various South East Branch members including one with a part completed St. Hubert’s Club Membership Form with the promise to second my application.

For those that truly believe there is an “inner circle” as distinct from a committed and active small group of Branch members, and genuinely feel excluded I say to them at least make the effort to become part of it as perception and reality so often prove to be very different. Clearly there will always be an element of any membership that proves a hard nut to crack so be not surprised by a certain reserve as genuine interest and enthusiasm usually softens the most cantankerous old stalker! And remember there is a clear if subtle difference between deference and subservience.;)

K


Hello Klenchblaize.

When I started out in stalking, 18 - 20 years ago, I had real trouble getting the information needed to put myself in contact with people from whom to decide whether stalking was for me - and it was a real struggle to become involved. For me BDS was the organisation I contacted, and thankfully, there were some good people to talk to who put me on the path, which allowed contact with stalkers, the odd outing, and then L1 / L2 / and BDS DM qualifications over the subsequent years. Even that relatively short time ago, stalking was a closed shop, unless you had the contacts.... Much has changed with regards to stalking access, related information access - ie S/D, Best Practise guides, internet etc, and the sheer number of people involved in stalking these days. However, what I find amazing, is that with ( don`t hold me to these !!!! ) approx 20000+ L1 holders, 4000 - 6000+ L2 holders, and 750 - 1000+ DM holders, nationwide, and plenty of people who stalk but do not hold the paperwork, there is a significant number of people willing and able to get out and shoot / cull / manage deer + boar. Considering wild deer belong to no-one, other than the landowner whose ground they end up on when shot dead, many people are making significant sums out of something they have not bred / purchased ( like stock ). Yes, some work is done to `manage` the herd - but for what purpose, to generate further income from shooting deer........ If we end up in a national position where there are too many deer, then I can only say that there has been much research over a long time to validate this, but the flip side is that research is nothing without a goal / end result / QED moment, as to what that research is to be used to for.

K - don`t get me wrong, I am a staunch supporter of the BDS when I can be, as all my training, insurance, membership is / has been purchased via BDS over many years, but take a look at the advert in this latest edition of Deer, for the Niggeloh Ultra Blood tracking collar.... trialled by Graham Downing ( I presume ).... Nice piece of kit, but at £38.95 for the collar, and £52.95 for the 12M tracking lead, but when compared to Stalkers UK for the same kit - £32.95 for the collar, and £38.95 for the tracking lead.... a saving of £20.00... Which may not be much, but these days to `the average stalker` that saving could be put towards paying for a stalk / DMQ qualification / BDS Insurance / ammunition etc.....

If BDS is working for the `common effort` then it is annoying little things like this that need to be consistent with market value, otherwise the image persists of BDS being an organisation run for the benefit of the people who have no idea what `average` may mean. I would love to buy the above items via BDS for my GWP to be purchased soon, however, Stalkers UK will probably end up with the money due to simple economics..... When put like this deer management as a whole becomes very simple..... IF there is a `problem` with deer numbers, which lots of expensive research indicates, then the way forward is to encourage vendors to drop prices ( understanding that they have a `living` to make ), engage more people, and the numbers will fall in to place for everybody, stalker, deer manager, deer, research.

Good thread, and very thought provoking, but I apologise if I am not as eloquent as some.....

All the best.

Neil.
 

The deer man

Well-Known Member
This post has been interesting for me as I have over the last year or so been considering cancelling my membership of the BDS, I am a longstanding BASC member as well. I think my reasoning to cancel is primarily that the BDS do not appear pro-active enough in the defence of our shooting sports in comparison to BASC.

I might be being a little unfair but my last year of BDS magazines might have been copied from the previous years but 'dressed up in different clothing'. According to the magazine I was alerted to the EU Firearms consultation through Deer Bytes e-newsletter however I wasn't and I know for a fact they have my email address (or certainly did). Again Reports from English Branches / East Anglia, mentions a lot about what has been which I've never heard about and nothing for the future.

Now you could say I should be making all the effort to find out about news and events however a group email to members keeping them in the BDS local picture costs nothing and I believe I am the one parting with my membership fee to them not the other way around.

I think I would prefer to pay a little more to BASC and see them with a bigger deer department having amalgamated with the BDS?

​But then we are 'a nation of shopkeepers' with small voices, maybe it's about time we woke up and realised we need a large, robust organisation with a loud voice. We won't though, the little outposts of different shooting interests will be picked off by antis and the EU until there is nothing left. It's not too late though!
 

JabaliHunter

Well-Known Member
This post has been interesting for me as I have over the last year or so been considering cancelling my membership of the BDS, I am a longstanding BASC member as well. I think my reasoning to cancel is primarily that the BDS do not appear pro-active enough in the defence of our shooting sports in comparison to BASC.
That is probably because the BDS is a charity set up to research and promote deer welfare whereas BASC is a member organisation set up to promote and protect sporting shooting.
 

bogtrotter

Well-Known Member
Exactley as Jabalihunter says BDS is a charity to research and promote deer welfare it welcomes members with an interest in deer whether they be stalkers, scientists , those interested in deer welfare or even those that just like to watch them, what they are adamant its not nor never will be is a stalking club, I personally think that is no bad thing, I like the fact that there is input from people with different views on deer, not just from those that wish to shoot them.

As to an inner circle well yes there may be among the higher echelons of the society, but that is no real surprise as a good number of the top posts are held for lack of a better term by"The Landed Gentry" which again is no surprise as these landowners still hold the largest % of the UKs deer.

Nor is it that much different from many of the other sporting organisations.

However I cannot say the same applies at branch level, a lot of ordinary working class lads at branch level.

There seems to be quite a difference from branch to branch in the amount and type of activity at branch level
but branch activity is member led ,so if you are not happy go along and get the ball rolling if there is something you would like to see happening.

I have been a BDS member for thirty years and I think it may be a little less stalker orientated than it was then
as I type this I am looking at my membership card from 1987 I was listed as a professional member there were special membership rates at that time for those in the trade.

The other thing that comes to mind is the society says that as a charity they cant include insurance in the membership so whats changed,

From the rear of my 1987 membership card.
quote> THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the holder of this card is covered
for legal liability for bodily injury and damage to
property up to £1,000,000 resulting from shooting and
conservation activities falling within the guidelines of the
Society and during the period of valid membership

Exclusive of any form of personal business activities.

This card cannot be used to obtain stalking
 

The deer man

Well-Known Member
That is probably because the BDS is a charity set up to research and promote deer welfare whereas BASC is a member organisation set up to promote and protect sporting shooting.

Well JabaliHunter and bogtrotter, fair points made however is that how they sell their membership to people these days, as a charity? I joined the BDS as a Stalker relatively recently, eight years ago, and it was very definitely in my mind geared towards not just deer welfare but campaigning, stalking, shooting deer and equipment and nothing wrong with that. It would be interesting to hear from newer members what they thought they were joining and expect from the BDS when they were sold their membership.

I'm sure BASC could take on this role and promote deer welfare, but don't they do this already as part of their conservation approach. Then there is The Deer Initiative as well.

I'm still undecided and my membership may well roll over into another year, we'll see, but I still believe we need all aspects of shooting sports which includes conservation covering deer welfare under a larger and stronger umbrella.
 

roedeerred

Well-Known Member
Interesting thread
The BDS is as has been said is about the study and welfare of deer
one thing I have always believed is that it must educate as many people as possible about deer,
stalking must be humane that is why BDS training is an important part of the sociaty.
having been a keen stalker for many years I joined and worked on branch stand at game fairs for the past 10+ years given up many hundreds of hours talking to people about deer/stalking /both with camera and rifle. trying to promote anti poaching etc etc.
unfortunatly there are a few members in BDS for there own agenda Not that of the sociaty either to find stalking or promote themselves.
Comments like" My commitee will do as I say"
It will not and cannot be done
personal opinions being passed off as commitee desicions

dont get me wrong there are many good people in BDS but untill the "in crowd" and commitee Chairs and secetaries realise they vaulenteer to take on the roles to reflect the members wishes not to promote their own agenda or themselves the BDS will not expand. I have already made these points directly to BDS.
The insults made to me for being unable to attend one show last year and refusing to sponser somone to be an AW Made me decide to terminate my membership.
 

Muntiacus

Well-Known Member
Hi All
Very interesting thread, as some of you may know I have recently joined the BDS Board, this is after a number of years being on the East Anglia Branch committee most recently as Chairman. As the newby I no doubt have plenty to learn about the upper workings of the society, however I do understand a lot of the problems from the Branch point of view. If any members on here are BDS members and have not had any communications from HQ or Branch then please PM me your details and I'll try to rectify this for you, likewise I would love to hear from anyone who has any views on the BDS so please do contact me.
I want to see the society go from strength to strength, so will always do my best to deal with all messages, but I have a very busy life and need to keep the mortgage paid, so give me time.

Nick Rout
Hoping I don't need a tin helmet!
 
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