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What you need to know about the gralloch when stalking

How quickly should you gralloch a deer and how should you dispose of it?

gralloching a stag

Gralloching a stag

The gralloch is the entrails or offal of a dead deer and needs removing.

How soon should the gralloch be taken out?

If the animal has fallen to a clean heart/lung shot, then you don’t have to remove the gralloch immediately, as long as the deer is properly bled out. On the other hand, if the bullet has blown the contents of the gut into the body cavity, then the sooner the animal is gralloched, the better to prevent contamination.

Most stalkers would agree that bleeding out the animal as soon as possible is best.

I always carry out the gralloch on a deer in the field as soon after death as possible. Remember if you spot any signs of TB in the gralloch then this must be reported, as TB is a public health risk.

What should you do with the gralloch?

The gralloch is, of course, a most valuable source of food for all sorts of wildlife, particularly in winter when food may be short, so it is best left in the woods or on the hillside – provided it is not near footpaths or places the public are likely to walk.

Animals and birds from wrens and blue tits to hedgehogs, badgers and wild boar will eat some part of the gralloch. Birds, beasts and insects all derive vital nutrients from it.

Current Government advice is as follows.

For healthy deer, it is recommended that gralloch should be:
• covered with soil, rocks or wood to prevent access by scavengers
• at least 250 metres from any well, spring or borehole used as a source of drinking water
• at least 30m from any other spring or watercourse and at least 10m from any drain
• have at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of the burial pit, allowing a hole deep enough for at least 1m of soil to cover the carcass
• be free of water at the bottom of the hole, when first dug.

Those are recommendations rather than law so you must decide under your own circumstances exactly how to dispose of healthy gralloch to prevent any risk of offending members of the public.