Capreolus Club respond to ill-informed Daily Star
- Monday, 24 February 2020
Some of our readers may be aware, that yesterday the ‘Daily Star Sunday’ newspaper printed an ill-informed front page headline referring to me as: “GUN COP IS SICK TROPHY HUNTER” and labelled the actions of the Capreolus Club "SHAMEFUL"…nice!
(At 'County Deer Stalking' we hope that for the sake of our environment the “Daily Star Sunday” become better informed before commenting further).
Needless to say, I wasn’t too surprised at the content of the article, which was front and centre in a newspaper who’s other articles of the day included: “BEAM ME UP POTTY” and “CHEEKY PECKERS IN BATTLE OVER SEX TOY” and unsurprisingly the article was littered with inaccuracies and untruths however, there were two things that struck me.
Firstly, the ‘Daily Star’s’ lack of reach and engagement with its readers on the subject. To be frank, I was expecting a catalogue of nuisance calls and emails. ‘Anti’s’ at our door and a splurge of hits to our websites and Youtube channel. There were almost none.
(Above/Left: 'Daily Star Sunday' deliberately misleads its readers with an image of a Rhino being treated by a Vet, wrongfully claiming it had been shot by hunters)
We received just three emails, one of which was from a charming gentleman who’s email address was: ‘only_good_hunter_is_a_dead_hunter@’ and who called me a “C***” ….hardly I would suggest, a ‘swing voter’ on the subject! Not a single telephone call, no demonstrable uplift on our Youtube viewings, or hits to our websites. Indeed, from the emails that I did receive, the vast majority were from individuals who wished to express their support. I was almost disappointed, but most certainly surprised!
I can only imagine that this demonstrates a readership who are clearly aware that the paper’s main aim is to shock rather than inform.
Indeed, this was the second thing that struck me, the complete lack of attempt to get any balance. The Daily Star’s Chief Reporter Isobel Dickinson, made no effort whatsoever to engage with me on the subject, or to gather any kind of well-informed or educated opinion and despite my service to wildlife, and indeed my service to the public through my work as a Police Officer, seemed intent on some bizarre personal vilification. She emailed me at 1523hrs on Saturday evening to say that the article would be running, declining to say that it was scheduled for the following day, asked me if I’d like to make comment and upon my prompt reply, then failed to print it!
Whilst I make light of this, there is a serious point and that is, that this type of ill-informed, completely one-sided comment, has the potential to harm the self-same animals that the paper purports to be trying to help. I am quite clear that by behaving in this way, some journalists are doing a huge disservice to wildlife and the environment, both of which, any reasonable person would agree, deserve more serious, sensible debate.
I spent 10 years as a Police Detective attempting to serve the public to the best of my ability, indeed I was commended for it and my service was exemplary. I have spent a further 15 years as a deer manager humanely managing deer, first and foremost, because I have a profound love and affection for the species. All of my actions as a wildlife manager both at home and abroad, have come from a motivation to help wildlife and our environment and ensure a lack of suffering. Yet some individuals feel that they are sufficiently well placed and morally superior, to label hunters like myself, who harvest wild, free range, sustainable animals from their natural environment, as “SICK” and our actions as ‘SHAMEFUL’.
Through its misinformation and extremist comment, the ‘Daily Star Sunday’ seems oblivious for example, to the decline in biodiversity, bird numbers and butterflies that are attributable to the highest deer population in 1000 years. Or to the damage to the environment that can be caused through the unconstrained increase in a population, that as a ‘prey species’ grows exponentially each year. Neither does the paper seem concerned at the inevitable sickness, disease, starvation and general decline that will result in a deer population if left unconstrained.
Through its ill-informed comment, the 'Daily Star Sunday' is recklessly endangering our wildlife and our countryside. Albeit thankfully only slightly so, because by all accounts, reader engagement with the article appears to have been very low.
Thankfully the reverse is true at ‘County Deer Stalking – Online Magazine’ where our reader engagement is very good and certainly better informed. So, as the ‘Daily Star Sunday’ urged its readers to get involved. I do likewise and invite our readership to speak out against extremist points of view, that left unchallenged, are set to damage both our wildlife and environment. I trust that our comment will be better informed and respectful of alternative opinions and will not label someone simply as: “SICK” because they do not share our view.
My only hope remains that for the sake of our environment, that the “Daily Star Sunday” engage and better inform themselves of the subject matter before commenting further.
In the meantime, as they say: “There is no such thing as bad publicity”, so folks look out for this month’s film “Hunting the Mythological White Hart”. Released today on Youtube Click here to watch the film: youtube.com/watch - That should put a ‘cat amongst the pigeons!’
Alternatively, if you'd like to Go-Stalking then simply follow this link for more details: go-stalking
(Peter Jones - Editor)