The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) in Northern Ireland is calling on DARD’s Forest Service to recognise the strategic importance of sporting shooting for forestry recreational use and management.

BASC has responded to Forest Service’s consultation – A Strategy to Develop the Recreational and Social Use of Forest Service Forests – to raise concerns that shooting and in particular deer stalking has not even been mentioned.

BASC director for Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen, said: “The Forest Service currently engages with the shooting community through the issuing of permits for game shooting and vermin control, so the absence of any mention of shooting or deerstalking in this consultation is surprising.”

“Given the annual £10 million conservation commitment of the shooting community, along with its £45 million economic turnover in the Province, active engagement with this sector could provide a real opportunity to gain extra public value. This could play a key part in helping to meet the Service’s aspirations in regard to economic, environmental and social benefits, as well as improved biodiversity and timber production.”