Use recreational stalkers to manage deer populations, BASC tells Government

deerMore use should be made of recreational deer stalkers to control deer in the public forest estate, BASC has told government.

In its submission to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s Forestry in England inquiry, the association says its deer stalking schemes provide an excellent example of best practice management that should be adopted more widely.

Steve Bloomfield, BASC’s director England, said: “Our deer stalking schemes in Dorset and on the Norfolk / Suffolk border allow our members to gain practical experience and increase their knowledge under professional supervision while assisting with deer population management. Our members play a key role in managing deer populations, which is necessary to reduce damage to farming and forestry and also for nature conservation.”

John Thornley OBE, who is vice chairman of BASC Council, chairman of BASC’s deer stalking committee and a trustee of the Deer Initiative, said: “Deer population management is an essential part of conservation. Without it our countryside and our natural environment would suffer. “There are more than 100,000 people who go deer stalking each year and the vast majority do so on a recreational basis. Deer have no natural predators and if left alone, deer populations outgrow their available living space which inevitably leads to detrimental impacts on
important natural flora and loss of habitat not just for them but also for a host of other wildlife.”

In its submission, BASC also recommends that the Forestry Commission allows individuals to control grey squirrels in a coordinated way in the public forest estate.

The association’s submission says that shooting provides a key driver to the creation and management of woodlands and that grants to help create and manage woodlands need to be available to help make this happen.

It also says the current planting and management grants that have been available as part of the Common Agricultural Policy rural development funding programmes need to be maintained post-Brexit. These should be supported by effective advice to land owners and managers.

Full details of the BASC stalking schemes can be found here or by contacting the game and deer team direct on 01244 573019.

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