The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), is calling on the government to utilise the resources and experience of recreational deer stalkers within its newly actioned deer management strategy.
The deer management strategy was announced as part of the England Trees Action Plan in a suite of announcements made by the Environment Secretary, George Eustice MP, this week. The Action Plan is offering £500 million in grant funding to meet the government’s target of trebling tree planting rates by 2024 to 30,000 hectares a year.
The UK’s deer population is believed to be at its highest level for 1,000 years, with some two million deer roaming the British countryside. There are believed to be 100,000 recreational deer stalkers in the UK, helping to cull 350,000 deer annually.
Martin Edwards, head of deer management at BASC, said: “The government is correct to tackle the tricky topic of deer management head-on. Success will be seen in early engagement with recreational deer stalkers, and the provision of support and appreciation to undertake the required job.
“Failure to work with recreational deer stalkers and recognise the importance of deer management will see the England Trees Action Plan suffer and the government’s ambitious plans fail.
“From the imperious red deer to the invasive muntjac, each species of deer requires its own strategy. Recreational stalkers have the expertise and knowledge on how to best tackle localised problems. BASC will work to ensure the government acknowledges this national asset.”
Notes to Editors:
The England Trees Action Plan 2021-2024 can be read here
Statistics on deer
- Deer management provides 2,500 jobs
- The sale of venison is worth £170 million to the UK economy
- There are an estimated 74,000 deer vehicle collisions annually in the UK