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Chris Packham reaffirms support for deerstalking

The television presenter cited expanding deer populations and the need to regenerate forests as reasons for culling in Scotland.

Presenter Chris Packham reaffirmed his support for shooting deer while presenting new wildlife show 8 out of 10 Bats live from the Highlands last week. 

Mr Packham and Megan McCubbin hosted a week of autumn shows aired from the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre near Loch Ness. Following a segment on deer management on the Abernethy Estate carried out by Cairngorms Connect, Mr Packham, who has previously vehemently campaigned against numerous forms of shooting, reiterated his support for the management of deer via culling in Scotland. 

Mr Packham, who has worked with a number of anti-shooting organisations, said: “Killing for conservation is essentially an oxymoron… but here we’ve got to think of the bigger picture. I know it may look like a wilderness, but this [the Highlands] is a manscape, every square metre of this environment has been impacted by us.” 

Mr Packham continued: “The deer population has grown enormously, and it has severely impacted these forests, they are not regenerating. If we want a broad mosaic, a richness of life, then we need those large predators, that or we have to take matters into our own hands.” 

Mr Packham concluded by extolling the benefits of the reintroduction of northern lynx to Scotland in order to affect an ecology of fear and change the browsing behaviour of deer. “We all love deer,” he said, “but we’ve messed up the world and we’ve got to fix it.” 

Florence Hole, a trainee stalker for Cairngorms Connect, told ST: “We do need to reduce deer numbers to allow our forests to regenerate. Whatever your views on Mr Packham, it’s great to see deerstalking and deer management getting good media coverage and the support of TV personalities.” 

Ayrshire-based stalker Chris Dalton commented: “It’s completely ludicrous and simplistic to suggest that planting trees, killing deer and releasing lynx across the landscape will solve these issues. I wonder how he [Packham] will feel when the lynx start to munch their way through the hen harrier chicks?”