BASC South East held a Young Shots “Deer Management Day” on October 30th 2012. The venue for this event was the New Forest by kind invitation of the Forestry Commission, and their Keepers/Rangers.

Twelve children between the ages of eight and 14 attended the day and assembled for 10:00am within the historic Verderers Court, which adjoins the Queens House in the village of Lyndhurst. The day started with a talk by long serving New Forest keeper, Graham Wilson. Graham spoke to the children about the origins of the forest and the deer, as well as giving a history of the Verderers Court itself.

After a short drive everyone arrived at a remote part of the forest in the hope of viewing some deer. Before the walk started New Forest Keeper, Martin Ledeboer spoke with the children about the five species of deer that are found in the New Forest. Martin bought along a selection of antlers and furs for the children to identify, as well as talking about why the deer numbers had to be controlled. Following a talk on various deer signs, it wasn’t long before the first deer slots were spotted. Shortly after this, a large Fallow buck was viewed by all lying amongst some bracken.

In the afternoon the children were transported to the Forestry Commission rifle range and were introduced to Head Keeper, Andy Page. Andy bought along one of the forestry commission rifles used for culling deer and the children were shown the various stationary targets that are used to test the accuracy of the keepers before the culling season starts.

Following the range visit, everyone then headed to the modern ‘State of the Art’ deer larder where the deer were taken once culled. Here the children learned about how the deer were prepared in readiness for the game dealer, as well hearing about the various data that was recorded prior to the animals being collected.

The day finally finished at around 3.30pm with everyone returning back to the Verderers Court. Our sincere thanks must go to the Forestry Commission for providing such a historic venue for the event; whilst our particular appreciation has to go to Martin Ledeboer, Andy Page and Graham Wilson for giving up their day.

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