Deer Stalkers Almanac - December 2020
- Thursday, 26 November 2020
Through the selective, sustainable shooting of these much loved but essentially invasive species, Christmas is our chance as hunters to claim the moral high ground.
I am one of the most ancient deer species known to man, dating back around 30 million years, I have no discernible antlers, long tusks and stand just 50cm at the shoulder.
I speak of course of Chinese Water Deer and December is one of the finest months of the year to be hunting this durable little beast, not least because December marks the rut, a period when the bucks aggressively defend territories through the marking of scrapes and hollows in the ground.
For recreational stalkers, December is also one of the best months to be hunting other small species of deer, not just because with the diminishing understorey they become more visible, but also because the extraction and processing of the carcass can be carried out easily and simply at home.
For those that wish to present their families with a haunch of venison at Christmas, and in my view this is something we should all be doing, breaking down a small CWD, Muntjac or even Roe carcass, is a relatively simple task that, for the ‘dab-hand’, can be achieved in just a couple of hours. Red, Fallow and Sika, are a very different matter and require some infrastructure to have been put in place, something which for those who live in towns or with small kitchens, is simply impracticable.
Hence the reason why, here at County Deer Stalking the demand amongst our clients at this time of year for Roe and Muntjac increases dramatically. My advice is to therefore, get in early.
My own personal signature dish at Christmas? Well this year it’s a starter of seared tenderloin of Muntjac Carpaccio, accompanied by fresh figs, rocket and parmesan shavings. Followed by slow cooked haunch or yearling Roe, cooked in a little port and red wine, onions garlic & herbs.
Clearly, I should not write an almanac when hungry!
However, you chose to prepare your own venison at Christmas, you should be loud and proud about it. How many other families up and down the country can claim that at Christmas, they will be lowering their carbon footprint and improving the biodiversity of the countryside, by tucking into a healthy, wild, sustainable, non-intensively farmed meat, that has been harvested from its natural environment? Not many I suspect. Through the selective, sustainable shooting of these much loved but essentially invasive species, Christmas is our chance as hunters to claim the moral high ground.
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe & Fallow Buck, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Red Stag & Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
OFF Season in England & Wales: Roebuck.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Fallow Doe, Roe Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag, Sika Stag & Roebuck
(Peter Jones - Editor)