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Letter: Deer hunting

Sir: Due to pressure from a voluble minority, however sizeable, deer hunting has been banned on National Trust land. We were warned that this might lead to the reduction of deer numbers by other methods, notably shooting ("Bloody revenge for stag hunt ban", 25 November). We were even told why, but we chose to ignore the facts.

Grass feeds sheep and cattle, which are a cash crop; this business is called farming and provides an income, usually small, for a number of hard-working people in rural areas. These farmers nurture their grass through the spring, summer and autumn to provide feed for their animals during the winter. The deer eat this grass.

The culling of half the stag population in the Quantock Hills at this time of year is not a slaughter, it is a wise precaution to reduce the number of deer next year. This was not indiscriminate slaughter of hinds and young deer; their chance of reproducing, however, has been lessened. By removing the stags before the breeding season starts (next spring), and before the sheep and cattle have to be brought down from the uplands to their winter grazing areas, there will be more food for all the animals.

This act is not revenge, it is economics. Deer may be pretty and feature as red-nosed darlings on Christmas cards but they can have a serious impact on the rural economy on a localised scale, something that has been largely ignored in favour of more emotive issues.


London NW10