I admit it; I cull Does through March!! For many this is an emotive subject and one of much debate. My arguments are simple.

Deer spend their whole lives either with their young or being pregnant, it seems nonsense to me to declare that the size of the foetus should have some bearing on the morality of the cull.

Does it seriously matter if the foetus is 3 inch or 5inches? Or if the doe is two months pregnant or three? The deer certainly won't mind!

At what arbitrary gestation time does one action become moral and the other immoral? Indeed we are even encouraged to shoot heavily pregnant Muntjac, are they any different to the other species? This for me is not the issue.

Perhaps the more valid argument for me is the 'Sporting' argument, i.e not wishing to shoot animals which are too easily obtained. Well I can respect this argument no one wants to stroll up to a deer and roll it over. We are sportsmen and women, and this sporting principle is one that should apply all year round to all our shooting practices.

That said many of us are also Deer Managers and are trying to achieve a cull. There is no doubt that during March the lack of browse in the woods means that deer become more visible as they are pressured into feeding more readily in the fields.

However in my view this should provide us with an excellent opportunity to size up what we have on our grounds and in doing so allow us a real opportunity to selectively cull the animals that we require.

After all one has to remember why this legislation was brought in? Put simply there was a need to extend the season to insure sufficient numbers of deer are culled.

If we choose to ignore this principle future generations may find more unpalatable legislation may be brought in to achieve the same effect and we will all be wishing we had dealt a little more ruthlessly with the issue.

The job may become more distasteful as March develops however Does and Hinds do need culling and it is my view that this should be done so in a robust manner.

If I can be so bold as to quote the great man himself Richard Prior on his thoughts on culling Roe Does: "Think of the old-fashioned school master walloping away at some unfortunate pupil, saying as he does so 'I am only doing this for your own good!'. ('Roe Deer Management & Stalking' Swan Hill Press 2000).



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