September - Almanac for Deer Stalkers

In addition to a brief look at the month ahead, Peter Jones comments on the recent deplorable events in Zimbabwe. 

Cecil the Lion

With the cooler weather and shorter days comes a shift in the mind set of many hunters. Autumn, after all, is the time when things once again, start gathering pace.

However before I begin with our usual look at the month ahead, I feel obliged to pen a couple of paragraphs about the recent contemptible events on the boarders of Hwange National Park.

To my mind Theo Bronkhorst, the Professional Hunter involved in baiting the now world famous Lion, clearly demonstrated the ‘actus reus’ and ‘mens rea’ of a guilty man. Two inescapable facts are all one needs to know. Firstly, the Lion was wearing a collar, which the PH attempted to destroy, (‘the guilty mind’) and secondly, the Lion was baited and shot on a concession that had no quota for Lion, (‘the guilty act’). Not only do his actions appear to be criminal, but the repercussions of his deeds have resulted in a regrettable, worldwide backlash, that has caused a substantial set back to the argument for hunting as a viable and important aspect of conservation. 

With that condemnation clearly spelt out, what also struck me about the remarks made during the ensuing outcry, was the hypocrisy with which many social media commentators are prepared to have countless; ‘Lilly the Lamb’s’ or ‘Daisy the Cow’s’ slaughtered for their own dinner tables, and yet be prepared to camp out in protest at the killing of Cecil the Lion.

Once again to be clear, I am not mitigating the actions of Bronkhorst, and I fully appreciate the differences between a vulnerable species killed as a trophy and a domesticated one killed for food. However, I feel it is worth turning a mirror on the hypocrisy of some commentators, who are prepared to reduce many animal species to fodder whilst anthropomorphising others.

What is equally unhelpful, is the anthropomorphic tone that much of the main stream press seem unable to resist when reporting such matters. Rather than acknowledging this incident as the criminal and deplorable actions of an individual, the tone evokes an emotive response to hunting as a whole. This in turn makes it difficult to proceed to more considered sensible debate, the loss of which is ironically detrimental to animal welfare, the same such cause that these individuals profess to be supporting.   

On another more personal note, what also struck me here at ‘County Deer Stalking’ was the complete lack of vilification that we received. With over 25,000 pages viewed and numerous emails received since the incident, we did not receive so much as a single abusive remark. Can it be that Deer Management is now widely acknowledged in the minds of the public as an integral and crucial aspect of proper conservation?

If this is so, then it is testament to the professional manner in which deer managers in the UK carry out their duties up and down the country each day. The incident should however, serve to punctuate the emotive industry in which we work and precarious road that we tread. Knowing what we do about reporting, it might also serve to remind us how the actions of one, can so easily tarnish the reputation of an entire industry.

Briefly on to September and a change in mood and season. Whilst summer Roe Buck stalking is for some the epitome of deer stalking, the majority, it seems, still associate ‘deer stalking proper’, with the start of autumn.

Perhaps rightly so, with the summer holidays now passed and the weather cooling, the stalking hots up and minds turn to fresh intoxication. The drama of the Red and Sika Rut is now upon us, and the Fallow Rut just a few short weeks away, there will surely be some stirring autumn days to come!

With Fallow in mind, in this month’s film we visit the boarders of Ashdown Forest in search of early season Fallow Buck and try out some new equipment in the process. (Follow this link for more: short-films) I’d also like to take the opportunity to present another short film that gives an insight into our hugely popular ‘Proficient Deer Stalker’ training courses. If you’d like to learn more we’ll be delighted to hear from you. (training-films)

Editorpic150IN Season in England & Wales:  Roe Buck, Fallow Buck, Red & Sika Stags, Muntjac Bucks & Muntjac Does.

OFF Season in England & Wales: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds, CWD Bucks & CWD Does. 

IN Season in Scotland: Roe Buck, Red Stags, Sika Stags, Fallow Buck.

OFF Season in Scotland: Roe Does, Fallow Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds.

(Peter Jones - Editor) 

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