HomePressMedia CorrespondenceShooting Times 2.8.03 Hunting/Stalking Facts (added 8.4.05)

Shooting Times 2.8.03 Hunting/Stalking Facts (added 8.4.05)



The Editor
Shooting Times
Room 2025 - IPC Media
King's Reach Tower
Stamford Hill
London SE1 9LS

2nd Aug 2003.

Dear Sir,

Hunting/Stalking Facts

Colin McKelvie's stalking facts (22nd July) require comment in support of David Denny. Professor Bateson's report imposed the political need for fair comparisons in the critical deer hunting/stalking debate.

1. I witnessed the collusion at the Animal Welfare session of the Burns Inquiry, when Bateson and the Burns team were misled on wounding rates and follow up issues. Dominating the top table, the shooting lobby also demonstrated that they knew little, and cared less, about the many irreplaceable deer management roles carried out by the deer hunts.

2. Over their lives, red deer in hunted areas become familiar with scent hounds, well before they are carefully selected for culling. Their instinctive, relaxed, resourceful and playful behaviour for most of the hunt, can only be appreciated by close observational experience. Proof of the humanness of being brought to bay and dispatched instantaneously, is delivered by the highly prized glycogen depleted venison, low in stress hormones.

3. Batchelor 1993 showed stalking to be a noxious stimulant, detrimental to deer welfare. Hunted deer are given a sporting chance, choose what to do, where to go, and when to stop. At 5% walking wounded rates (Bateson Report), when the duration of suffering between the two culling methods is properly compared, hunting is proven more humane by a factor of at least 10. When the scent hound casualty service roles are properly considered, together with the degree of suffering, there should be no further argument against hunting.

4. Suggesting the stress level undergone by the wounded deer is comparable to the hunted deer is to misunderstand the relationship between scent hounds and deer. The deer may have several opportunities to run their antlers through the hounds, but they don't. We know that best practice is not the same as common practice or average practice, on which scientific and political decisions should be made.

5. Research papers on wounding and the abundance of casualty deer should be noted by stalkers. Urquhart and McKendrick (2003) showed in a sample of 943 rifle shot wild red deer, reaching a game dealer, a surprisingly small percentage of wound tracks in the general area of the heart, let alone the nexus of large blood vessels between heart and lungs. Instantaneous death was achieved in less than 50% of the deer (analysis by Thomas and Allen 2003). This research suggests a 15% walking wounded rate more likely than 5%. Colin McKelvie in the Shooting Times 6 May 1999 demonstrated the skill required in shooting into and through deer. Peter Green in Stalking Magazine Nov. 1992 illustrated the potential for consciousness and pain in all body shot deer.

6. Many specialists close to the debate do not believe that stalking stands up to scrutiny as a stand alone deer management system in most parts of the country. Publicity given by Shooting Times to my submission to DEFRA attracted criticism from those who have not read it, and support from those who have. The intent was to demonstrate that together we can deliver a superb product to the nation, and turn the tide, so that all wildlife management functions are properly promoted as such, and that the master craftsmen, be they huntsman, stalker, gamekeeper, dog handler or game shot, gain their rightful place in the wider community.

Yours sincerely,

Edmund Marriage - British Wildlife Management.

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