Deer Stalking in the UK - December Almanac
- Monday, 25 November 2019
December is a perfect time to be stalking the smaller species of deer and a great time to secure yourself some venison for Christmas dinner.
Amidst potential increases in legislation and growing public pressure, it is quite natural that we should, at times, feel under threat. Christmas provides us with the perfect opportunity to take back some of the moral high ground. I speak of course of venison.
The current agenda is one in which we are being encouraged to steer a course away from intensively- farmed meat, to a more climate focused and environmentally focused lifestyle - and rightly so.
For deer stalkers this poses no problem. For years we have been harvesting wild, free-range, sustainable meat from its natural environment, a meat that is lower in calories and cholesterol than almost any other cut of red meat and one which is rich in B12, B6 & B3. The fact that we do so should not be hidden, it should be shouted from the ‘roof tops!’
When everyone else is upping their carbon footprint over Christmas and tucking into their intensively-farmed Turkey or slab of beef, through eating venison, we are simultaneously improving our health, lowering our carbon footprint and reducing the damage to the environment caused by an otherwise unrestrained deer population.
As I say, there is an opportunity here to turn the tables and point to environmental benefits and sustainability of deer stalking. What is more, the perceived seasonality of venison affords the perfect medium through which we can do so.
At this time of year, the question is: What sort of venison? Well fortuitously Christmas coincides perfectly with one of the finest times of year to be hunting the smaller deer species. Species that are sufficiently small to be able to process in our own kitchens. This is because the Chinese Water Deer are rutting and the Muntjac have become more visible in the diminishing understorey.
Roe are also more visible in family groups however, when hunting Roe at this time of year, great caution should be applied. The bucks have ‘cast’ and so do not assume a deer devoid of antler is necessarily a female. Look carefully for the tell-tale, ‘anal-tush’ associated with the doe, it is the only sure-fire way to make sure that you do not accidentally shoot a Roebuck out of season.
The smaller species of deer; Roe, CWD and Muntjac, are widely considered to be the most delicately flavoured and tasty forms of venison. Added to which it is unlikely that they are well represented in your local supermarket, so perhaps you can convert a few anti’s this Christmas!
Finally, whilst writing, I am delighted to reveal that the Capreolus Club has now launched it’s exciting new 2020 diary. If you are wondering how to get the most from your deer stalking next year, then perhaps the Capreolus Club could provide the answer: 2020-events
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)