If I could wave a magic wand of the Management of Deer it would be to remove the money element.
A friend and I were discussing money and stalking we both were of the same opinion that too many times when commercialism has walked in the door ethics and deer welfare has gone out the window.
In an Ideal world deer stalking would be let on the quality of the management plan and its effective execution not on the depth of the pockets.
Alternatively to remove the antlers and tusks from male deer and this would probably negate that first wish as people would not pay silly money to shoot deer without getting trophy.
How many times do you read about stalkers agonising over whether or not to shot a good stag or buck, how long do they consider whether or not to shoot a doe or a hind, I would suggest about as long as it takes to get the safety off.
A very interesting thread. Personally I would like to see more done to protect the land the deer inhabit. It seems that everywhere you look fields and woodlands are being riped out and replaced with 'Yuppee mansions and private villages' or massive warehouse complexs'.
Real simple this one!
Adopt the Italian/New Zealand style of hunting.
If you can get to it then you can shoot it!
In Italy they have a simple solution, you can only walk on someones ground if you are carrying a gun,otherwise you are a trespasser.The only time you cannot shoot is when the land is owned by the government or the landowner puts up "vietato caccia", (no hunting)signs, but this then also precludes the landowner himself from shooting!
I would also change the way democracy works!
64 million people in the UK, if there is legislation that affects our rights then the we should expect that there are 64 million NO votes and only by the majority 32 million + votes would laws get changed.Lets face it if its important to the majority then let the majority vote, and lets not have a "he who shouts loudest" democracy...
This is not, in my opinion, as straightforward as it seems. I think that there are two distinct areas involved in the stalking, the private and the Government sectors.
The private sector ranges from huge estates where your every wish is catered for, if you can afford it, to a small farm where some lucky person gets to cull the deer for free. So we have prices that vary from the astronomical to the free. Nothing wrong in that landowners have to have a return on their money, whether that is just keeping the deer damage down on their small farm or for paying the wages of stalkers etc on the big estates. I have no problem with this. If you can afford it and you enjoy it, go for it.
Then we have the FC and the like, here they put the leases out for tender and guess what, the big money wins every time. Not only are some of these syndicates that win entirely unsuitable as stalkers, they never even go to the ground. This means that the FC and Co have to put their own stalkers in to cull the deer, and then charge the syndicate for doing it. It is a win, win situation for the Fc and Co, the syndicates don't really care and the poor bloody genuine stalker can't get a look in.
Then there is the "must have" qualifications which are a lot of money for your average man. This is after all a hobby for a lot of people and comes a long way behind, the mortgage, food, clothes etc all essentials to put before a hobby.
I think that there should be some sort of system in place that would relate to public land whereby a stalk or whatever could be purchased at a sensible price, or tenders put out to genuine stalking syndicates, who are capable and live close enough to do the job. I think that level 1 should be the minimum qualification necessary to allow any such stalking. I cannot understand how achieving a qualification that clearly states you have demonstrated a knowledge of skills in, Deer ecology, the law, stalking techniques, firearms safety, consistent accurate shooting, and meat hygiene etc, is alright but not good enough. I know that some of you will say that the level one is interesting but not really comprehensive enough ,but it is better than nothing. Also as good as level 2 may be how long before that is considered not enough. Training is a good thing but not if it is beyond the reach of the majority, trainig combined with experience is the thing that is needed, as in all aspects of life, so lets give the average stalker a chance without the poor bugger having to jump through more hoops than a circus dog.
Yes, there is public land jagare, but this is managed by the Forestry Commission, this is a government body.
They have ther own rangers that shoot the deer all year round, depending on whether it is in England or Scotland. In quite a lot of circumstances they let ground out to deer syndicates, this is now becoming more frequent as the Forestry Commission are having to reduce the number of rangers they employ have due to financing.
This is what Jayb was on about when they charge stupid amounts of money for leases. Very annoying as this land is owned by the people.
In all the years i lived in England i never gave it a thought that FC land was public land. I don't ever see that the powers that be will go along with the idea of public hunting ground as mentioned on this thread.
We have public hunting up on the fjells in the north of Sweden. Most is small game hunting, Ptarmigan, hares. There has been a lot of bad feeling with hunters from Norway coming over and shooting more than there fair share. After one incident the law was changed so hunters from abroad were not allowed to hunt for the first two weeks of the season. also they had to have guides. This was taken up with the EU who said that foreign hunters from the EU have the same right as Swedish hunters. So if you open up English public land you will still have foriegn hunters with the same rights as the English.
To have a system on Public Lands like they have in the US, France and elsewhere where the average stalker can buy a tag to shoot a beast for home consumption.
Tag is very specific to:
a) the block of land
b) the type of animal - eg - stag up to six points or whatever.
c) dates between which tag can be used.
Once beast is shot it is taken to ranger station to confirm tag is used.
Before being allowed to purchase tag, hunter has to show level of competance - DSC 1 Certificate.
You could also put in private estates as well that wanted to have deer controlled, but don't want cost of full time rangers.
Extraction of shot beast is up to the stalker and each block would have different methods and allowable methods for use - eg some may allow the use of the stalkers own vehicle, others will require use of estate vehicle, others may require dragging / back pack extraction etc.
Cost of tag would vary according to facilities available (in particualr vehicles), quality of stalking, what is allowed on the tag - eg a Royal would have a high price point and the level of cull required.
Number of stalkers on any one block of land would be determined by number of tags sold.
If you needed to show that stalker was stalking within the block of land this is very easily done via a GPS and a track log from the GPS. A GPS is a cheap (£69 for a Garmin 12) piece of Kit.
Would mean that you would then have a system by which:
a) the deer population within an area can be controlled
b) affordable stalking is available to the average stalker at reasonable price
Jeesus lets not give these barstewards any more ideas on controlling us
there never will be a perfect system, although apart from the 1080 poison drops New Zealand is bloody close, so close I am seriously thinking of going to live there as soon as I finish my present obligations and wave this place bye bye 8)
Indirectly linked to our sport, but I would like to see children being taught at primary education level that the meat that they eat started out as either a farm animal reared specifically for food, or a wild animal. Understanding of the meat production cycle, and visit to a livestock farm a compulsory part of the curriculum.
That way, future generations wishing to continue our sport may not suffer from the increasing level of anti's who seem to believe that the pre-packed shoulder of lamb on the shelf at Tesco that they buy for Suinday lunch was never a live animal. Seemingly, like most other convenience foods, it was 'assembled' in a factory somewhere (probably in the far east as we don't have a manufacturing industry any longer in the uk!) - it never walked around on 4 legs!