Letter: No justification for deer hunt

I Can hardly believe now that 40 years ago I was a committed member of the New Forest Buckhounds, chasing deer enthusiastically across woodland and heath. The other day out walking my dog in the same area, I was overtaken by a large buck in the last stages of exhaustion. His head was hanging down, his tongue hanging out, his eyes bulging, his breath coming in gasps. There was no sign yet of the hunt but he knew they were gaining on him. It was an unforgettably horrible sight.

By then I had talked to members of the Forestry Commission. I had seen the wooden towers from which marksmen keep count of the numbers, ages, and state of health of the deer, shooting the old and the hopelessly infirm. They are guided by an intimate knowledge both of the animals and the environment which supports them. I was told they take no notice of the insignificant number destroyed by the hunt. There is no justification for this cruel sport.

I welcome the decision of the National Trust to ban hunting in the areas they control ("Farmer who is glad to see the last of the hunt", 13 April).

Leslie Allison

Fordingbridge, Hampshire

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