According to a recent survey undertaken by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), deerstalking is more popular than ever and deer numbers are at an all-time high.

The Deer Stalker Today report concluded that more than 13,000 BASC members are deerstalkers ? an increase of more than 30 per cent in the past 20 years. Research has also shown that deer populations are at their highest levels since records began, which has led to stalkers, both professional and amateur, spending more time in the field in pursuit of their quarry.

Christopher Graffius, BASC?s director of communications, has been involved in the recent survey. He told ST: ?The survey gave us some interesting information, including the percentage of particular species culled and the locations of the deer shot, which gives us a great insight on the distribution map.” ?After making a survey such as this, BASC makes a point of sending all the results to ministers and policy makers, as the data can be hard to come by in Westminster. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is well aware of the importance of recreational stalking in deer management throughout the country.?

Roger Buss is a professional deerstalker and deer consultant from Hampshire. He manages deer herds and also works as a stalker for paying clients. He told ST: I?ve seen a lot more stalkers and growing populations of deer. In my view, not enough fallow deer are being shot, and there are many more road traffic accidents caused by them as a result. Many estates don?t allow deer culling, particularly during the pheasant shooting season. However, now the management of deer is generally good, and the health and quality of animals is mostly fantastic. I wouldn?t say that numbers have reached astronomic proportions, and more stalkers, higher training levels and healthy deer mean everything is under control.?

For more on deer and traffic accidents involving deer, see next week?s issue.