Deer close seasons and shooting regulations seem set to change if the proposals of DEFRA biodiversity minister Barry Gardiner become law. Currently no rifle below .240 can be used to shoot deer in England and Wales; in Scotland, nothing below a .222 can be used for shooting roe deer and nothing below .243 for red deer.
A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers? Organisation (NGO) told ST: ?It is important that stalkers and gamekeepers understand the law has not changed yet, but we hope by this time next year that the new rules for improved deer management will be in place.?
Hugh Rose, of the British Deer Society (BDS), welcomed the proposals on the whole, but said a number were difficult to understand he told ?ST?: ?The BDS believes the key to successful legislation is to get the infrastructure of deer management right. The deer season should be as long as possible without incurring humane and inane penalties.
Robert Gray, campaigns director for the Countryside Alliance (CA), told ST: ?The CA set out recommendations for new deer legislation two years ago, when DEFRA first consulted on this issue;, the Government is actually trying to speed up the legislative process by alleviating the need for primary legislation, for which we should be grateful. The CA supports the extension of the season for does and hinds, and agrees that licensed culling within the close season is sometimes necessary.?
To take part in the consultation, visit www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/deer-management
The proposals are as follows: