I have never taken such a shot and have had no need to sell venison to dealers but I now have more stalking and may need to do so. Am I going to be penalised for taking the traditional and recommended heart / lung shot?

Stalking

GEORGE WALLACE says:

I am sick and tired of so-called experts – who are in fact simply boastful clever-dicks – recommending head or neck shots.

There may be a case for it when both deer and shooter are rock steady AND the deer cannot escape if something goes wrong, for example within a deer park, but head shots are very rarely acceptable under any other circumstances.

The shooter may be absolutely confident of his steadiness but the same can rarely be said for the deer.

A deer’s head is incredibly mobile and may move, perhaps at some slight sound, just as the trigger is squeezed.

The result may be a miss, but just as likely is a jawbone smashed or a piece of scalp or top of the neck blown away, resulting in a wound which cannot be licked clean… and a lingering death for the animal.

If you have been stalking for very long it is likely you have been tempted by head shots on occasion and equally likely that you have taken them successfully.

However, if you do it very often you will inevitably come unstuck sooner or later and it is a sickening feeling. It happened to me in the Highlands many years ago. I took an easy shot at the head of a stag sticking above the rocks.

My rifle was a very accurate Ruger No.1 in .338-06 and the range was barely 30 yards. However, unknown to me, previous shots had caused the scope’s recoil lug to sheer off and the rifle’s zero was all over the place.

I blew the lower jaw off that poor animal and the sight still haunts me even after all these years.

Never again! Except in the Park.

There’s just too much room for error.

Experience ought to teach us something but, as I’ve said before, to some people ‘ethics’ just sounds like a county to the north-east of London.