The 2011 CIC Reviews mark a milestone in the history of the CIC (the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation) with the announcement that Richard Prior, a founder member of the UK Trophy Commission, and its driving force for more than 40 years, is to retire from active measurement. This decision has been arrived at after a lengthy deliberation and, despite regret, has been accepted by the head of the Commission, Tom Troubridge, and the other members of the measuring team.
Richard began measuring trophies in the early 1970s, following the occasional publication of deer reviews in Shooting Times since 1959. When the CIC authorised the formation of national trophy commissions in 1997, Richard moved to recruit more measurers and to bring the Commission into line with the international norms that apply today. His gentle manner and willingness to impart his experience to all those who sought it will be much missed, as will his encyclopaedic knowledge of deer.
Richard has accepted a role as honorary fellow of the Commission, where he will continue to offer his knowledge and advice both to the UK Commission and the wider CIC, through the UK delegation.
In the meantime Iain Watson has been appointed senior measurer.
This year, English roe heads have continued to hold their own in terms of their quality. Recent German and Hungarian records show little that can compete consistently with UK roe, and a recently published record of European roe trophies shows 17 UK heads in the top 100 and, of those, five are in the top seven.
The concern of both professional and amateur stalkers was voiced over the potential impact of the harsh weather experienced in late 2010 and early 2011, particularly on the development of young bucks, but also about the perception that there were fewer sets of twins about, even in those areas where their survival over winter is the norm. Once the countryside had ?greened up? in the spring, the numbers reported appear not to have been hit as hard as feared, though 2011?s cohort of twins might be down on the average. The quality of heads being presented did, however, seem to suffer somewhat.
Altogether, 282 heads were presented for assessment, with 199 of those achieving medal status. This is a further increase in measurement over last year, but reflects a small drop in quality ? down 12 per cent on 2010, despite that figure matching prior years. Of those medal heads, 45 were gold (down nearly a third), 78 were silver and 76 were bronze. For the first time, we recorded a medal head from Wales ? an excellent silver medal at 120.52 CIC points.
Two counties stand out in terms of the quality of the heads presented. Somerset produced 39 heads, of which 12 were gold medals, and Wiltshire produced 36 heads, of which 14 were gold. Of particular note were, from Wiltshire, M. Brind?s head at 159.7 CIC points, and from Somerset, Joachim Kleidon?s 156.7 CIC-point head, Nadim Marrow?s 154.65 CIC-point head and John Meaker?s 154.4 CIC point head.
Dorset and Hampshire both produced relatively little this year, with 16 heads apiece, but only two and one gold medal heads respectively. Gloucestershire produced only eight heads for assessment compared with double that in 2010, but, of those, 50 per cent were good-quality gold medals. We also recorded the longest roe head measured in the UK with an average length of 33.15cm ? R. Mann?s Gloucestershire head exceeding the previous longest average beam by 1.25cm.
Two other general points were also encouraging. The first was the number of heads from both Yorkshire (12 heads, with two golds) and Northumberland (7 heads, with one gold), as there is increasing interest in roe in these counties, and the intent to manage them well is inherent in those we meet from that part of the country.
The second point was the number of those who are new to stalking and who take an interest in trophies in order to manage better the deer they look after. Many of the non-medal heads that we measure come from this section of the stalking community, who are, by and large, as keen to know what to leave as what to cull.
Outside the norm
Interest in things other than what might be considered the norm continues. This year we were asked to measure a head that had been found dead in 2007. It had previously been provisionally measured and included in the 2007 Review at 289.3 CIC points, but not assessed by a jury of measurers, which would be required for such a large head. Eventually, P. Howard?s head proved to be slightly porous and, therefore, not recordable, but the jury?s deliberations, at 240.53 CIC points, might otherwise have had it contending for a place in the top heads worldwide.
Work at international level to update the CIC Red Book is nearing completion, with an international team working hard to achieve publication within the next few months. Changes are likely to be minimal, but international and national legal protection for the CIC?s intellectual property rights have been registered, and a licensing process agreed with those nations for whom the CIC system is embedded within the national management structure for hunting and conservation. While this will have no effect on those who wish to use the CIC system and the Red Book for personal use, it does help to protect against those organisations that would seek to make profit from others? ideas.
In the meantime, the CIC UK Trophy Commission has welcomed two new members to its team. Gary Tatterton from West Yorkshire and Chris Rogers from Suffolk provide important cover for the north and east of England and are operating fully now. The full list of measurers, with contact details, is available to view at www.cictrophy.com.
In 2012, members of the team will be in attendance at the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace, in Perthshire (29 June to 1 July); at The CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle (20-22 July), Leicestershire; at the Moy Field Sports Fair (3-5 August), Inverness-shire; and the Midland Game Fair at Weston Park, Shropshire (15-16 September).
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English Bronze Roe results
English Silver Roe results