LETTER: Deer management

Sir: Patrick J Ellis (Letter, 19 October) seems to believe that the management of deer numbers in west Somerset and north Devon needs to be handled differently from all those other areas where deer of various species proliferate, such as fallow in Cannock Chase and in the New Forest, red in parts of the Lake District and Thetford Forest - not to mention the huge numbers in Scotland.

If those who hunt with hounds would be prepared to co-operate with the introduction of a management system that relied entirely on well-trained marksmen, frequently retested for their efficiency, instead of taking it upon themselves to shoot the deer, often using the wrong weapons, there would be fewer injured deer to follow up. Most stalkers have an expensively trained single gun-dog to follow up on any occasion where deer are inadvertently injured and it is the cardinal rule of such stalkers that no quarry should be left injured.

As for Sir Richard Acland's wishes, it should also be remembered that the National Trust holds its land in trust for the nation, a nation which has consistently recorded a 75-per-cent desire to see an end to deer-hunting with hounds. Memoranda of Wishes of donors are simply that - wishes. But if a donor views a matter as of sufficient importance they can enter into a covenant with the Trust that would be binding upon it.


Totnes, Devon