Peter Jones reveals details of changes to FSA guidelines in the issuing of Large Game Meat Hygiene Certificates and applauds the recent announcment by the Scottish Game Keepers Association. 

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Never in my career as a professional deer stalker have, I experienced such a period of flux. I am not speaking of the seasonal transition in deer behaviour, which like the changing seasons themselves are predictable, but of the whimsical decision making of politicians and working groups to whom the deer fall victim.

No thanks to Scottish politicians, there is no longer any respite for male deer in Scotland where they may now be hunted relentlessly 365 days a year. This is in my opinion, a scandalous decision based on highly questionable logic, that leaves iconic species such as the native Red and Roe deer being pursued without respite.

Worryingly, it is a decision that I feel is likely to be compounded in England & Wales when Defra finally announce the outcome of their own consultation. There is still a slim possibility that common sense will prevail, albeit I am not optimistic.

I am not naturally a pessimistic or rebellious individual; indeed, I am a former law enforcer. But I must admire and support the position taken by the ‘Scottish Game Keepers Association’ who have made the following announcement on the matter:

“The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has this week informed Ministers Lorna Slater and Mairi Gougeon, and all MSPs, that it will not put its name to a Scottish Government consultation on new deer proposals because of ‘fundamental and collective opposition’. 

Not only does the SGA have significant concerns with proposed new measures, the most recent Government consultation on major changes, including the historic removal of male deer seasons, was widely regarded as a fait accompli, with practitioners (who almost unilaterally disagreed) being ignored”.

Meanwhile, in relation to other impending changes, albeit this time, changes which are based on some sense. The ‘Food Standards Agency’ (FSA) during a recent ‘stake holders’ meeting, to which ‘County Deer Stalking’ was party, have stated their clear intention that for a Large Game Meat Hygiene Certificate to be awarded, providers of LGMH courses, must ensure that candidates have completed a physical examination of a carcass, before an award can be made.

Large Game Meat Food Hygiene Certificate for Deer StalkersWhy do I raise this? Well, as a leading provider of a LGMH Course, we wish to give fair warning, that candidates have until 01st May 2024 to complete the CDS LGMH course, without the requirement of a physical inspection of a shot carcass.

For all of those that have or intend to complete a Large Game Meat Hygiene Certificate prior to this date, the FSA have sensibly stated that they will respect ‘ Acquired Rights' of all certificate holders who have obtained a LGMHC prior to this requirement becoming mandatory. That is to say, all certificates issued by County Deer Stalking via the 'Shooting & Hunting Academy' prior to this date will remain legitimate.

Sorry, to be the bearer of bad tidings. If you have seen my previous posts on the increasing tide of legislation and bureaucracy, you will know that I am no advocate. However, regrettably if you are not a ‘Trained Hunter’ this is another incentive to get qualified.

If you feel so inclined, you may complete a LGMHC for free, as part of the PDS1 which is accessible via the ‘Shooting & Hunting Academy’. Click here to enrol and get started: deer-stalking-course

As for the deer themselves this spring? Well, they are a lot more predictable and increasingly less time consuming than the politics. Who’d have guessed that a career in deer stalking would become so political!

At any rate, thanks for reading and please check out below the details of the statutory closed/open seasons across the UK this April.

Peter Jones 150IN Season in England & Wales:  Fallow Buck, Roebuck, Sika Stag, Red Stag, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.

Off Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe.

In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Roebuck, Sika Stag, Red Stag.

Off Season in Scotland: Red Hind, Sika Hind, Roe Doe & Fallow Doe. 

(Editor Peter Jones) 




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