Home Population Hunters will be allowed to shoot deer at night as population hits two million

Hunters will be allowed to shoot deer at night as population hits two million

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Hunters will be allowed to shoot deer at night as population hits two million

  • The number of deer living in the UK has reached its highest level for 1,000 years
  • Rules on shooting wild deer will be relaxed to stop their spread as numbers grow
  • A new rule will allow male deer to be shot at any time of the year by land managers

Wild deer hunting rules will be relaxed to control their growing numbers and protect trees.

The country’s deer population has risen from 450,000 in the 1970s to two million today – its highest level in 1,000 years.

In light of soaring numbers, ministers are proposing to allow land managers to ‘cull male deer at any time of the year’. It will also allow you to shoot deer at night. Previously, male deer were protected during a “closed season” to allow their antlers to grow. Female deer will always be protected when caring for their young.

Ministers also said they were concerned about the spread of muntjac deer, which eat “plants of conservation importance”. But the RSPCA said: “Deer ‘management’ is largely a euphemism for culling.”

A new rule change will allow male deer to be hunted at any time of the year and at night, as the deer population has reached two million

Ministers also said they were concerned about the spread of muntjac deer (pictured), which eat

Ministers also said they were concerned about the spread of muntjac deer (pictured), which eat ‘conservation important plants’

In a consultation document published today, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the rule changes “would also allow the shooting of deer at night, as equipment for High-quality night vision makes night shooting safer and more accurate”.

He added that in some publicly accessible areas deer have become nocturnal, making night shooting “particularly important”.

The government also said it wanted to encourage the consumption of wild venison, which would result from the slaughter of more animals, and provide small grants to help businesses supply venison.

There are six species of wild deer in England. Red deer and roe deer are native; fallow deer, sika, muntjac and Chinese water deer are introduced species. Some areas have up to five species of deer.

The newspaper says government plans to increase tree cover in the UK would “aggravate the spread” of non-native deer species, which would hamper tree growth.

Following the publication of the Deer Management Strategy for England, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s Deer Management Officer, Martin Edwards, said: “The Government’s commitment to tackling the growing population of deer in the UK is commendable. However, he will only be successful if he has the support of every deer handler, the majority of whom handle deer on a voluntary basis.