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Should there be more restrictions on deer hunting?

12:08 UK time, Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A giant red stag, thought to have been the biggest wild land animal in the UK, has been found shot dead. Send us your comments.

Red deer stags are the biggest indigenous land animal left in the UK. The Exmoor Emperor, who was given his nickname by photographer Richard Austin, was believed to have been the largest wild land animal in the country.

A licensed hunter rather than poacher is thought to have killed Emperor. While deer hunting is legal, some experts believe wild red stags should be protected during the mating season.

Should there be more restrictions on red deer stalking? How should wildlife be protected? Is the amount of reaction to the shooting justified?

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Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    We cannot avoid culling as a necessity, which should always be carried out under licence. Stag hunting as a social event should be banned and remain banned forever. I hold this view because of a childhood experience.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes there should - No hunting at all during rutting season - No general hunting only an approved agreed culling license.

    Those that hunt with guns for fun are somewhat sick - Culling is a useful operation to ensure a stable population in our decimated woodlands.

  • Comment number 4.

    "1. At 12:17pm on 26 Oct 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    I can't think why anyone would get a thrill out of hunting any animal, such people must be sick in the head, or, very hungry."

    ------------

    I could understand the thrill of a REAL hunt (ie hunting a lion with only weapons you can make in the wild). Unless done for food, shooting a herbivorous animal with a rifle from 100 yards is a cowardly excuse for 'hunting'.

  • Comment number 5.

    Because there are no natural predators, deer need to be culled to stop them consuming all the natural resources, leading to widespread starvation for the animals.

    That said, they do not need to be shot because some under-endowed 'sportsman' thinks that the head will look good on his wall, and particularly not out of the culling season.

    Personally I would never trust anybody who takes pleasure in taking life, and that includes certain members of our royal family.

  • Comment number 6.

    I hope that the Killer of this marvellous animal feels proud of what He/She has done !!

    You must be sick in the head, whoever you are !!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I just don't see the appeal of killing for sport but clearly staring down the barrel of a gun from a distance and pulling a trigger makes a certain type of person feel like a big man. Apparently this was the largest wild animal in the UK, the first thing to pop into my head when I heard about it wasn't "Awesome, I'm going to kill it".

    I read that there's a possibility this deer didn't get the chance to mate this season; passing on it's genes and ensuring it isn't the last of it's kind. So well done, whoever you are, you've quite possibly wiped out the first and last giant deer in the UK. Bravo, big man. I hope you're proud.

  • Comment number 9.

    This shooting was a disgusting waste. I'm not against hunting per say, as long as it's done in moderation, with care and properly licensed. The fact that this stag was just shot & left disgusts me. The least the shooter could have done is put the meat to good use & maybe used his head as a trophy.

  • Comment number 10.

    How very revealing. On the day the economy jumps by double what was expected (which regardless what happens over the coming months and whatever side of the political fence you sit, is good news), what topics does the BBC offer up for debate?

    You people really don't like good news, do you?

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    It is far better to shock tame herbivores in a confined space and then slit their throats so they bleed to death?

    Venison is organic, lean, renewable and a great asset to the countryside. Shooting an animal is usually a less traumatic and painless death than being shocked and stabbed while hung from your rear legs.

    I suspect those people commenting that deer hunting should be banned have never actually stepped foot into the countryside, do not understand what managing our heritage entails and have certainly never applied their small biggoted minds to where their food comes from.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Should there be more restrictions on deer hunting?"

    There should be a complete ban on hunting anything that's alive.

    Any animal that needs culling (for the good of herd by killing the weak and the sick etc) should be dealt with by professional gamekeepers who know what they are doing. And should be done in the most humane way possible.

  • Comment number 17.

    4. At 12:34pm on 26 Oct 2010, Khuli wrote:

    "1. At 12:17pm on 26 Oct 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    I can't think why anyone would get a thrill out of hunting any animal, such people must be sick in the head, or, very hungry."
    ------------

    I could understand the thrill of a REAL hunt (ie hunting a lion with only weapons you can make in the wild). Unless done for food, shooting a herbivorous animal with a rifle from 100 yards is a cowardly excuse for 'hunting'.

    = = = = = = ==

    Agreed - it is the reason why I was active in getting "hunting" with dogs banned. because neither fox hunting nor coursing was anything but killing for fun of the "onlookers".

    I have hunted for food - mainly rabbits.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its the same as catching and poaching salmon and trout etc nobody pays any notice or attention to any rules or regulations its the unruly society we are now living in ; Mr Clarke what happened to getting tough on crime what a joke

  • Comment number 19.

    As someone who does Shoot and Hunt, personaly do not agree with trophy hunting, while I have shot Deer, Game Birds etc these were for the Pot. I do eat meat.

    While most of the meat I eat is farmed I always get Free Range, a wild amaial is as free range as you can get.

    There will be alot of anti huting groups who say this is crule and wrong. For my part a wild amininal shot is better than intensive farming always.

  • Comment number 20.

    Interesting:
    first we have major rallies against legislation which prohibited this sort of sport - hunting for play.

    then we have prostests when a wild creature is killed in the same kind of recreational activity.

    And only last month there was an article proposing a deer cull in Scotland.

    Hunting game has always been a rich mans sport.
    trophies on the wall have always been the rich mans perogative.
    there is nothing un-traditional in what has happened - Hyde Park was the King's private hunting ground.

    Hunting deer for food, fine.
    hunting any wild creature for sport, no thanks

  • Comment number 21.

    Wow, there are certainly a lot of vegetarians commenting so far. At least, they must be vegetarians if they are so disgusted by animals being killed. I have no issue with hunting (although it's not for me), as long as it is done under license and within the specified season, so as not to adversely effect the population.

  • Comment number 22.

    All hunting should be restricted during mating season, other than that I can't think of any other restrictions that should be placed on hunters other than those that are already in force.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can't understand anyone who gets pleasure from destroying something as magnificent as this creature.
    A seemingly senseless act, providing a somewhat sick wall decoration and a quick thrill for someone who presumably has some form of inadequacy problem.

  • Comment number 24.

    [I suspect those people commenting that deer hunting should be banned have never actually stepped foot into the countryside, do not understand what managing our heritage entails and have certainly never applied their small biggoted minds to where their food comes from.]

    Ah yes, the usual line trotted out in an attempt to justify the unnecessary butchering of an animal for fun. I live in the country, and I am perfectly aware of where my food comes from. And I still despise so-called 'hunters' who get some kind of cheap thrill from killing a defenceless animal. That's not sport - it's a form of mental illness!

  • Comment number 25.

    Deer Hunting is legal and any Male Deer is a target during the hunting season.

    However that said, all animals killed must be for meat and not simply to hang a trophy on some lame rich dude's wall

    How that is enforced I have no idea.

  • Comment number 26.

    "steve butler wrote:
    How very revealing. On the day the economy jumps by double what was expected (which regardless what happens over the coming months and whatever side of the political fence you sit, is good news), what topics does the BBC offer up for debate? You people really don't like good news, do you?"

    Eh? What are you talking about - The economy recovery news is headline on the BBC website!

    Maybe some people - like me - want to read another topic as well. If you are not interested then just leave the thread. It's not hard.

    My view on this: It's depressing. I agree with a previous comment - the first thing in my head when I see an animal like this is not: "I want to kill that". Fine to kill animals for food, but not for some pointless "trophy".

  • Comment number 27.

    14. At 12:44pm on 26 Oct 2010, Where_is_my_soapbox wrote:
    It is far better to shock tame herbivores in a confined space and then slit their throats so they bleed to death?

    Venison is organic, lean, renewable and a great asset to the countryside. Shooting an animal is usually a less traumatic and painless death than being shocked and stabbed while hung from your rear legs.

    I suspect those people commenting that deer hunting should be banned have never actually stepped foot into the countryside, do not understand what managing our heritage entails and have certainly never applied their small biggoted minds to where their food comes from.

    -----
    I've lived in the countryside all my life mate, and i'll tell you 2 things.

    Firstly a deer like this one which was obviously thriving would be very unlikely to be considered in the average cull.

    Secondly, if you really are trying to manage the herd, you don't shoot your alpha males in the middle of the breeding season - those are the genes you want to be passed on to future generations.

    And by the way, the huntin' , shootin' and fishin' set don't own the countryside or have sole rights to it.

    I'd say by far the vast majority of us living in our rural idylls manage to go our entire lives without feeling the need to kill anything.

  • Comment number 28.

    At 12:44pm on 26 Oct 2010, Where_is_my_soapbox wrote:
    It is far better to shock tame herbivores in a confined space and then slit their throats so they bleed to death?

    Venison is organic, lean, renewable and a great asset to the countryside. Shooting an animal is usually a less traumatic and painless death than being shocked and stabbed while hung from your rear legs.

    I suspect those people commenting that deer hunting should be banned have never actually stepped foot into the countryside, do not understand what managing our heritage entails and have certainly never applied their small biggoted minds to where their food comes from.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    I think the point is that a magnificant animal was shot for sport. Killing animals for sport should be made illegal.

    Yes, we kill animals to eat and this should be done in as humane a way as possible.

  • Comment number 29.

    Animals of this nature should be protected in the same way sea fish are protected from recreational (but sadly not necessarily commercial) fishing.

    It should be banned during the breeding period.

  • Comment number 30.

    No.

    This thread is full of the usual animal nutters. Far more wildlife is destroyed every year by people having their front gardens paved or tarmac'ed over, yet no-one sees that as wrong.

    Britains amphibians are becoming rare and our insects and reptiles aren't far behind. However, as these animals aren't cuddly no-one cares about them.

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't know a lot of the details, and I'm sure that there is plenty to say that the control of deer numbers that comes from hunting is important and perhaps even necessary, but I think that allowing hunting during the rutting season leaves their numbers very vulnerable if there is a big surge in hunting, which some people are suggesting. It seems that there is some justification for saying that each year their should be a restriction on hunting during the deer's breeding season... to ensure that the numbers peak again before hunting happens again

  • Comment number 32.

    "15. At 12:44pm on 26 Oct 2010, ziggyboy wrote:

    The killing of this magnificent beast is a crime and I hope whoever they are they are brought to justice quickly."

    Except that it doesn't look as though it was.

    "A licensed hunter rather than poacher is thought to have killed Emperor." - BBC report.

  • Comment number 33.

    It should be banned, it's disgusting that people are allowed to get their kicks in this way. Medievil!

  • Comment number 34.

    The simple fact this item becomes a HYS item suggests we have our priorities all wrong.

    Nature is being devastated every day in agricultural methods designed for the quick, cheap return, not the preservation of our wildlife. We pay huge subsidies for people to do nothing, or to grow a crop that will never find a buyer. We tamper with balances and harm the very creatures we depend on, like the honey bee.

    I feel nothing for the person who shot this animal because there is nothing to feel. Human beings behave in a variety of ways most of which do no good to the reputation of our species. Another person with a gun is no news, it is just another story added to the huge catalogue we already have.

    We really need to get a sense of perspective about news. What next? A woman dumping a cat in a wheelie bin..... was she having her say about the cat?

  • Comment number 35.

    Four hundred and fifty thousand people are about to be put out of work by this tory government,and we are worried about a dead stag?

  • Comment number 36.

    Why does there have to be a debate about this? A beautiful, rare and precious wild animal was shot by someone with a gun. I believe it to have been deliberate - you don't accidentally slaughter such a huge animal.
    It is only the wealthy, landowning UK establishment which a) has the land (or their chums have) to wander freely around "culling" as they see fit. and b) are actually allowed onto that land.
    It is in fact only these parasites who want to hunt, ride to hounds, and so on.
    We need to get rid of them and their prehistoric attitudes. Scum does not only appear on council estates.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    I accept it may be necessary to cull deer, but any culling should only be directed at old, sick or weak animals - the ones which natural predators would take out (if we hadn't destroyed them that is).

    There's a problem in Scotland with the goons shooting too many stags for trophies and not culling hinds, so hinds are found dead from starvation after periods of bad weather. Let's hope Exmoor doesn't go the same way. You've got to be a bit sick to want to kill an animal for a trophy anyway.

    And come on Steve Butler (post number 10) -there may be some good news on the economic front but it doesn't mean we should abandon debate on true moral issues.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why!!
    Just because you can I suppose, so it begs the question...
    Why are people with so little regard for the sanctity of life
    and the beauty of this creature allowed to own fire arms at all.

  • Comment number 41.

    A big round of applause for the man with the big gun and the small appendage.

    sickening - truly sickening!

  • Comment number 42.

    I am not sentimental about animals and have even eaten venison. But to shoot the alpha males before they have had a chance to breed seems stupidly short sighted wildlife stewardship. For one thing it means fewer and less impressive animals to hunt in the future.

    There should be at a ban on hunting in the mating season at least – surely hunters will be willing to forgo their sport for a few weeks if means better hunting and trophies in the future.

  • Comment number 43.

    My opinion - hunting should be banned completely. These animals were here before humans appeared on the scene, and managed quite well then. Why should some idiot with a gun (presumably he or she does have a licence for the weapon?) be allowed to terminate this animal's life just to satisfy his or her craving for a mounted head? Assuming that is the case, of course - it would be interesting to know if a hotel or restaurant suddenly had a surfeit of venison....

  • Comment number 44.

    As long as we accept that it's OK to kill animals for trophies, how can we apply the term "should" to anything? We SHOULD be civilised enough not to feel that we must compensate for our inadequacies by killing large, magnificent animals. Particularly when it is done in such a way that the hunter is never, for a moment, in the slightest danger. The stag represented everything to which the hunter could never aspire: Power, strength, beauty, courage and magnificence. Consequently, it had to be destroyed and its remains demeaned as a "trophy" to adorn the walls of some sad individual with nothing in his or her life but money. It's interesting that we apply the term "inhuman" to the kind of shameful behaviour that is exclusively human.

  • Comment number 45.

    I think there should be a ban on hunting, but especially whilst the mating season is on because there is lowered chance for the natural processes and future to be assured. If the hunters/poachers shoot indiscriminantly as in this case, they are very short sighted - the Exmoor Emporer had very strong genes so would have transferred this to his young, time and again. I was also very upset with this shooting of a healthy strong animal, and if there is anything to be done I hope it can be. Please!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Pete Morley wrote:
    I read that there's a possibility this deer didn't get the chance to mate this season; passing on it's genes and ensuring it isn't the last of it's kind. So well done, whoever you are, you've quite possibly wiped out the first and last giant deer in the UK. Bravo, big man. I hope you're proud.


    This animal was 10-12 years old and would therefore have been sexually active for at least 6 years, given that it was one of the largest Deer in Exmoor there is a very good chance that it would have mated with at least a dozen females each year for the last three or four years (at the very least) and therefore its genes have already been passed on to the next generation.

    Incidentally; the Giant Deer or Megaloceros giganteus has been extinct for thousands of years, this animal was not a Giant Deer it was just a large Red Deer Stag.

    Extinct Giant Deer:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1006_041006_giant_deer.html

  • Comment number 47.

    No there shouldn't be more restrictions on hunting...

    ...there are enough already!

    Farmers should be free to hunt vermin that is destroying their land and periodically culling of other animals is required to prevent disease and death due to a lack of food for ever increasing herds.

    Provided the animals are killed instantly or quickly rather than being maimed and its done on private land or with the requisite permission on local authority land I don't have a problem.

    As someone else has pointed out if you don't like hunting per se because of the death of animals then unless you're a vegetarian or vegan you should really be complaining about how much of the meat killed for human consumption is done to satisfy halal with its attendant suffering. Now thats an inhumane method of dispatch...

    People will eat meat. Therefore kill cleanly and humanely.

  • Comment number 48.

    As much as hunting for pleasure personally appalls me, is this not a matter for David Cameron's 'Big Society', where local people decide whether hunting in their area is legal or not?

  • Comment number 49.

    If culling needs to be done, why don't we create a system where the hunters pay to do the culling under supervision. This way it's controlled and the funds generated can be reinvested in forestry and veterinary care.

  • Comment number 50.

    It makes one genuinely ashamed to belong to the same species as this so called 'hunter'. So very sad.

    Oh, and I live in the countrside. The authorities that grant hunting on our moors for 'culling' purposes must take their share of resposibiility for not being prescriptive and in avoiding accountability. Or is it just the money?

  • Comment number 51.

    Humans farming and humanely killing for meat, with all the regulations, is one thing - but killing a wild and harmless creature, purely for sport and trophy is something very different.

    I emphasise sport - because culling is a different subject entirely.

  • Comment number 52.

    as a former professional deer stalker the comments made so far just show ignorance

    none of the tv/radio comments have given any evidence regarding this kill

    give me 10 seconds with the carcass and i could tell you the 'round' etc used - where is the 'head' (antlers to you lot) was it gralloched (ie guts removed and bled?)

    nobody leaves say 300lb of venison as reported - its sold!


    so a total non story

    as regards culling - its essential in all deer populations - there is no apex predator so deer populations 'explode'

    man by the use of the rifle fulfills the role of apex predator - its all legal and scientifically supported

    unfortunately because of the low fiscal value of venison the required 'cull' numbers of red deer in the scottish highlands fall well short of the target

    the result - too many deer with not enough food to sustain the population

    so after a hard winter like last year you go 'on the hill' and find dead carcasses of deer who have starved to death - FACT from dfra/ea/sepa etc etc

  • Comment number 53.

    I think the comment I am just about to make is that same reflection and thought of so many others:

    I don't know how anyone could possibly shoot any creature without feeling sadness. I often wonder what goes on in these people's minds who hunt for thrills. I'm sure there is an imbalance present in their minds, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if these same people wouldn't feel any remorse or emotion if they pointed a gun towards a human being and pulled the trigger.

    It's so sad that we are forced to live on this planet with such ill people. I don't suppose there is anything we can do about it.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ooh, where_is_my_soapbox, looking at your previous posts you really are an angry individual aren't you? Perhaps you need tharapy to help you think more clearly.

    I'm sick of reading rants by people like you stating city dwellers 'don't understand the countryside'. What a lot of claptrap - that's just an excuse for you to carry on with your selfish and cruel 'sporting' activities that the rest of us find upsetting and unnecessary. This kill was clearly nothing to do with sourcing venison. It was carried out by some twisted individual who got a kick out of killing a beautiful and harmless animal. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 55.

    First, if the location of this majestic animal had not been reported perhaps he would still be alive. Second, what sort of person is Where_is_my_soapbox? To shoot an animal in this way, for some sick kind of "sport" is despicable. The mere fact that this animal was killed during the rutting season shows that he/she has no idea of the protocols surrounding a legitimate cull. So to bang on about not knowing anything of the countryside ways is rubbish. This was cold-blooded murder for the sake of the thrill. No doubt the culprit has also recorded their moment on a mobile phone which will appear on YouTube very soon. Sicko!

  • Comment number 56.

    As with the Cat bin woman, this person needs to be traced and held accountable for this outrage.

  • Comment number 57.

    Shooting game is a right of the ruling classes (Cameron and his mates - bankers, royalty, private sector CEOs who get out of paying millions in owed taxes, etc. It's a crime for the rest of you plebs! So no matter what your thoughts are on this - you're wrong. The rich love killing things and will continue to do so! They make the laws, so go away and work until you drop!

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    I would never contemplate killing an animal for fun - but I am a meat eater and have made the link between bambi and the steak on my plate......

    In an ideal world, I would totally ban "sport" hunters and issue permits to gamekeepers to manage animal stocks. But, the reality is that sport hunters are a major source of revenue for many of the big estates which would otherwise be heavily loss-making. Without those customers, the estates would have to cut back their staff and the whole rural way of life would be damaged.


  • Comment number 60.

    @DeejayQuest Yep, I am. Although I dndn't want to mention being a vegetarian in my post as it has nothing to do with the sensless kiling of an animal for sport. Each to their own when it comes to food.

    This isn't about killing for food though. The animals body was found by the side of a road.

  • Comment number 61.

    Do we still call this 'hunting'? Shooting an animal from a distance is hardly a test of one's hunting prowess, tracking maybe, but any chump can point a gun at an animal & fire.

    I'm all for a ban on during rutting season.

  • Comment number 62.

    7. At 12:40pm on 26 Oct 2010, ian cheese wrote:
    Time human beings are culled.

    ------------------------------------

    Putting yourself on the top of the list then?

  • Comment number 63.

    What a world full of petty lame brains. If the hunter had needed the beast to eat no problem, but to (I imagine cut off its head?) to stick on the mantle piece what sort of intellect do these people have?
    Handsome animal, it did its killer no harm. Was distracted by the rut and he/she had a big gun. Big ego. I suppose they now think big success.....Gzzzzzzz I really cant rationalise it.

  • Comment number 64.

    'Culling is needed' is an arguement I hear a lot for stag hunting, fox hunting, seal hunting... it is NOT needed. For billions of years nature has very successfully managed populations of all animals, in fact with far better success than the over confident but under intelligent human race. The ONLY animal nature has messed up with is the human race.

  • Comment number 65.

    37. At 1:04pm on 26 Oct 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    17 - "it is the reason why I was active in getting "hunting" with dogs banned."

    I'm not sure how much time, effort and money you spent getting fox-hunting with hounds banned but wouldn't the time, effort and money have been better spent saving human lives in poverty stricken parts of the world?

    Odd to think that there might be a couple of foxes running around the countryside because of what you did but a couple of unnecessary children's graves in Somalia.

    ---

    You do realise that people can be against and have opinions on more than one subject dont you? Or is there only room in your head for one thought at a time?

    On second thoughts, don't answer that. I'd hate for you to forget where your house keys were while you forumate a reply.

  • Comment number 66.

    14. At 12:44pm on 26 Oct 2010, Where_is_my_soapbox wrote:

    It is far better to shock tame herbivores in a confined space and then slit their throats so they bleed to death?

    Venison is organic, lean, renewable and a great asset to the countryside. Shooting an animal is usually a less traumatic and painless death than being shocked and stabbed while hung from your rear legs.

    I suspect those people commenting that deer hunting should be banned have never actually stepped foot into the countryside, do not understand what managing our heritage entails and have certainly never applied their small biggoted minds to where their food comes from.

    = = = = = = = = =

    Sorry - Wrong

    I had a small farm in Northern Ireland - I farmed a few chickens - pigs - sheep and a cow and assisted in their deaths (Before the EU made local slaughtering effectively illegal) . I've visited an abattoir -

    I would certainly prefer animals to be slaughtered by stunning and then slitting their throats. Than Halal killing where there is NO stunning first. Even Kosher killing allows stunning. The French normally hang their animals on hooks BEFORE stunning.

    They are effectively unconscious or brain-dead BEFORE slitting their throats to allow the blood to drain - making the meat somewhat tastier.

    Now I work IN the country-side surrounded by farms. I oppose the killing of animals and fish for sport - not for food.

    Shooting is nowhere near as painless as slaughtering. Remember it will take minutes for a shot animal to die in pain unless it was by a 'lucky shot' and a stag being shot for it's antlers will not be a quick shot in the head.

    Culled venison tastes as good as Hunted venison - This magnificent animal's body was left to rot - it was hunted for it's antlers not meat.

    Purely for the record - I've culled animals but only for environmental reasons NEVER for fun - or for something to hang on the wall.

  • Comment number 67.

    I believe even those of us too common to ever afford such huge sums of cash involved in these matters have the right to air our views on the hunting and culling of wild animals.

    Organised and systematic culling by game wardens would be a good start.

    Putting a rifle in the hands of a blood thirsty hunter doing it for 'trophies sake' isn't going to be hunting the old or the sick - he's (forgive the assumption) going to be hunting the biggest and most magnificent - probably in a vain attempt to compensate for what he is lacking in other areas...bet they drive 4x4's too!

    Another natural phenomenon lost to the spiteful who can't let the wonders of nature be. Nice one neanderthal.

  • Comment number 68.

    You British always make me laugh as you have such double standards. A lady is taken to court and fined for putting a cat in a wheelie bin (who despite everything survived unharmed) but kill a beautiful animal and get away with it.

  • Comment number 69.

    While hunting for sport seems to disgust a lot of people on this thread there are a few reasons why it must go ahead. We are morally bound to control the deer population (off the top of my head this equates to one fifth of the red deer population needing culled each year to maintain the population, with around 400,000 in Scotland alone,) as we have removed their major predators and cannot allow their populations to explode. (Anyone who has seen a deer starving to death on an under-nourished hillside can attest to that.)

    To have people in the locations and employed in deer control, you need an economic reason for them to be there, and but for the money brought in by stalking, the cost of this would have to be met by the taxpayer.

    Also in this particular case, studies on the Isle of Rum have indicated that stags struggle to mate successfully after about 10 or 12 years of age so, despite this particular stag still looking in top condition, he will have already had many a good years rutting.

    Hunting in any form is one of the ways (alongside eco-tourism,) in which the animals themselves can provide an economic benefit to the local community and mean that having a healthy population of said animal allows the habitat to be kept for that animal rather than being farmed. (This is especially so in areas of Africa where some species would be extinct was it not for their value as a target quarry.)

    The UK already has some of the tightest hunting laws in the developed world which restrict the killing of wild game to weapons that are capable of instantaneous death with minimal suffering.

  • Comment number 70.

    You may not be able to reconcile this, but I am a vegetarian who is saying, "So What!"

    Deer are becoming a nuisance because there just too many. This is due to the extinction of wolves in this country. We have upset the balance so it is our responsibility to protect trees by keeping down the deer population. Even urban trees have to be protected nowadays with trunk guards preventing hungry deer from gnawing away at the bark of saplings.

    I am not a sentimental vegetarian, only a pragmatic one. If I were to eat meat, venison is one I would eat. It is healthy for you, unlike most farmed meat and the species is not endangered. By all means hunt and cull deer for the sake of the environment just as long as you have a license.

  • Comment number 71.

    I thought the idea of culling was to weed out the weak...I hope he is proud of his brave act of killing this magnificent beast through the most cowardly means available.This law needs changing.Can anyone tell me who benefits from the money on the price of this animal's head?

  • Comment number 72.

    Why do people get so worked up about an animal that has been running around in the wild, leading a natural life and not showing more concern for the millions of animals that are slaughtered every year having had virtually no life at all!!

  • Comment number 73.

    As a young boy, I was apprenticed to a head gamekeeper on a very larghe estate, so I've seen almost all the trials and tribulations for wildlife.
    Hunting should be banned (but you won't stop poaching, or the necessary culls...)

    This so-called "hunter" has no guts. He killed for enjoyment, anonymous notoriety (private self-aggrandisement) and left that poor (yes, poor) creature without life and the potential to produce more magnificent animals for us to marvel at.
    End the hunting, certainly. There's no real reason other than to satisfy a sick outlook on life, with accompanying excuses " man was born to hunt.. (Man was born to think!) but as I said, this could happen anyway. Legislation might help, but it isn't idiot -proof.

    Turn in your gun; stag killer; if there must be so-called sportsmen and women, let them bide by the Rules; written and unwritten. Not butchery.

  • Comment number 74.

    Ban hunting altogether. Beware the Tories; one of their priorities is to re-introduce fox hunting (http://www.backtheban.com/%29

  • Comment number 75.

    i am sickened by the report of the stag that was shot .how can anyone have shot him as sport, at the time we are trying to help wildlife, i hope they find out who did this or maybe the coward will come forward .and if you can get done by the rspca for putting a cat in a wheelie bin, then they should get done for shooting a stag at rutting time,

  • Comment number 76.

    As long as hunting is regulated well then I dont see a problem with it. I have never been hunting but I do enjoy shooting which is a very good sport. I have met a few people with small minds claiming that shooting should be banned but then there are many things they do without thinking about it that I disagree with.

    Shooting is fun, relaxing and also teaches a lot of basic skills (which some adults could do with learning). Most importantly shooters are taught to respect tools as most objects in this world can be dangerous when used in the wrong way.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm originally from a part of the US where hunting seasons carry an almost religious significance to people. Thousands of people eagerly anticipate the opening of "deer season" in the States. I never really understood the appeal myself, and I guarantee that most of those hunters, if regulations were nonexistent, would hunt any day of the year.
    That said, even with the enormous amount of hunters, deer populations are still rampant. I use the word "rampant" for a reason. Nearly daily, someone driving will hit a deer trying to cross a main highway. Not intentionally, mind you, but it still happens. Most of these people decrying the evil of hunting would think differently if Exmoor Emperor met the windshield of their car, especially if you see the damage an animal 1/3 his size could do.

  • Comment number 78.

    52. At 1:17pm on 26 Oct 2010, locust wrote:

    as a former professional deer stalker the comments made so far just show ignorance

    none of the tv/radio comments have given any evidence regarding this kill

    give me 10 seconds with the carcass and i could tell you the 'round' etc used - where is the 'head' (antlers to you lot) was it gralloched (ie guts removed and bled?)

    nobody leaves say 300lb of venison as reported - its sold!


    so a total non story

    = = = = = = =

    Sorry - If the deer had been sold - It wouldn't have been LEFT to be identified so explicitly. It then wouldn't have made the news


    People after a "fine spread" are not interested in culling - but stuffing said fine spread on the wall -
    Everybody agrees culling is required - but culling is NOT killing a magnificent animal in the middle of the rutting season.

    I find such action despicable

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    UKcerberus wrote:
    Why does there have to be a debate about this? A beautiful, rare and precious wild animal was shot by someone with a gun.


    Red Deer are not rare, they are not even close to being rare and are in fact one of the most abundant species of deer to be found anywhere in the world.


    UKcerberus wrote:
    It is only the wealthy, landowning UK establishment which a) has the land (or their chums have) to wander freely around "culling" as they see fit. and b) are actually allowed onto that land.


    Absolute rubbish !

    I've been hunting for food for my entire adult life and in my experience it is the working classes who make up the majority of the hunting fraternity. Go to any country show and you'll find that there is a wide variety of people from many different backgrounds there and that hunting is enjoyed by all classes of people.

  • Comment number 81.

    Lot of meat going to waste, why don't we all go out and bag a deer for Xmas, think of the poor turkeys it would save. Besides it would get people off the couch and into the country. Why should only the rich landowners claim the right to eat venison (not that it tastes all that good anyway) , lets all have venison for lunch this weekend even if we have to knock it off ourselves.

  • Comment number 82.

    Why can't they sterilize them to reduce their population?

  • Comment number 83.

    Should there be more restrictions on deer hunting?
    No, but their should be restrictions on HYS pointless and boring topics.

  • Comment number 84.

    When I was a young boy I was apprenticed to the head gamekeeper (there were seven gamekeepers in all)and I saw a great deal of the trials and tribulatyions for wildlife as well as those designated "game" animals.

    This hunter of that poor (yes, poor) creature has no guts. He (or she)hid identity because what was done was wrong.
    Hunting should be banned because our habitats and flora and fauna are too few to waste, and in any case, the fundamental reasons for hunting would keep a psychiatrist in work for years.
    Legislation might ban hunting but won't stop poaching, or probably culling for better health of deer popultaions...
    Anyway, hand in your gun, whoever you were: you deprived a creature of producing offspring as magnificent as he was, for us to marvel at. But you never knew that.

  • Comment number 85.

    61. At 1:29pm on 26 Oct 2010, geezershoong wrote:

    Do we still call this 'hunting'? Shooting an animal from a distance is hardly a test of one's hunting prowess, tracking maybe, but any chump can point a gun at an animal & fire.

    I'm all for a ban on during rutting season.

    -------------------------

    I agree with the ban during rutting season if it is needed, but to claim there is little skill involved with shooting shows your lack of knowledge.

    I love shooting but I am nowhere near the skill level of these hunters. I love taking my gear to the range and shooting some targets but I wouldn't hunt because of the huge difference in skill. Getting anything other than a 1 shot kill is frowned upon and all care is taken to achieve this. Hunters often have a greater regard for life than non-hunters because they do not wish to see an animal suffer.

    When stupid kids buy air rifles to shoot swans and dogs people blame the guns. Yet if these kids were shown how to shoot properly and handle/respect guns then they probably wouldnt have done it. Education is the way forward. If you dont like guns I recommend you go to your local gun club and see the reality of what its all about.

    Maybe you will learn something you didnt expect

  • Comment number 86.

    I fully accept the right of those who do not eat meat to criticise the shooting of a deer, but the ignorance of the subject shown by both the journalist who wrote the article and the majority of comments is staggering. The inital article on the BBC site suggested that the deer had been shot and left to rot and spoke of the body being found lying next to a road. This has now at least been corrected. The body was not left where it lay and Emperor is now a lot of tasty Venison.

    Old Deer are selectively culled. This includes large, healthy old deer, even ones that have been given names. Waiting for them to begin to lose condition is not sensible if you intend to eat the animal.

  • Comment number 87.

    I feel totally disgusted by all of this, The so called "hunter" must be named and shamed.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    to me deer are food animals.i see nothing wrong with hunting deer.if the trophy hunter dose not want all that lovely venison he can give it all to me as im poor and hungry

  • Comment number 90.

    One wonders what individul did this. Probably a small man with a big gun making him feel powerful.
    If he gets a kick out of shooting such a large target, he should be ashamed.

    There should be a prize for the first newspaper to track him down and have a photo shoot! That's the nearest thing unfortunately we will get to 'an eye for an eye'.

  • Comment number 91.

    re this comment from a supposed 'professional'...
    "as regards culling - its essential in all deer populations - there is no apex predator so deer populations 'explode'

    man by the use of the rifle fulfills the role of apex predator - its all legal and scientifically supported

    unfortunately because of the low fiscal value of venison the required 'cull' numbers of red deer in the scottish highlands fall well short of the target

    the result - too many deer with not enough food to sustain the population

    so after a hard winter like last year you go 'on the hill' and find dead carcasses of deer who have starved to death - FACT from dfra/ea/sepa etc etc"

    Just because there exists no 'apex predator' does not mean that populations need culling. As you later point out nature will through the restriction of food apply its own cull, that cull will automatically remove the weakest from the population.
    The exploits of the stupid a*** with the gun was to remove one of the strongest individuals, thus weakening the gene pool and inflicting long term damage on the whole population.

    It is fortunate for deer that their value is currently low (though I have to say it does taste nice) because otherwise we would have a pile of people like you killing all the strong animals for their meat and leaving the population seriously restricted in numbers and strength. A bit like the over fishing of the oceans - the result will be a drastic decline in population probably followed by extinction (as in the dodo).

  • Comment number 92.

    64. At 1:33pm on 26 Oct 2010, anotherfakename wrote:

    'Culling is needed' is an arguement I hear a lot for stag hunting, fox hunting, seal hunting... it is NOT needed. For billions of years nature has very successfully managed populations of all animals, in fact with far better success than the over confident but under intelligent human race. The ONLY animal nature has messed up with is the human race

    = = = = = = =

    Sorry - Culling IS needed - because of the inroads that man has already made on the country-side.

    It is far better to kill some than to allow over-population of that species to cause starvation and disease.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    86. At 1:58pm on 26 Oct 2010, SRoe wrote:

    I fully accept the right of those who do not eat meat to criticise the shooting of a deer, but the ignorance of the subject shown by both the journalist who wrote the article and the majority of comments is staggering. The inital article on the BBC site suggested that the deer had been shot and left to rot and spoke of the body being found lying next to a road. This has now at least been corrected. The body was not left where it lay and Emperor is now a lot of tasty Venison.

    Old Deer are selectively culled. This includes large, healthy old deer, even ones that have been given names. Waiting for them to begin to lose condition is not sensible if you intend to eat the animal.

    -----------------------------

    The vast misrepresentation of hunters and gun owners irritates me to no end. Why should people be villified for such a hobby which performs a lot of good for the country. I do feel that most people are becoming too disassociated with where food comes from. Most probably couldnt cope with a slaughter house but will eat the food.

    In a few years I wouldnt be surprised if such people couldnt cope with the concept of death at all.

  • Comment number 95.

    "
    87. At 2:00pm on 26 Oct 2010, yorkshire News wrote:

    I feel totally disgusted by all of this, The so called "hunter" must be named and shamed.
    "

    The only good Hunter, was Norman Hunter ;-)

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    87. At 2:00pm on 26 Oct 2010, yorkshire News wrote:

    I feel totally disgusted by all of this, The so called "hunter" must be named and shamed.

    -----------------------

    With a huge picture of him and his trophey. Something he can put on his wall and be proud of.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    "37. At 1:04pm on 26 Oct 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    17 - "it is the reason why I was active in getting "hunting" with dogs banned."

    I'm not sure how much time, effort and money you spent getting fox-hunting with hounds banned but wouldn't the time, effort and money have been better spent saving human lives in poverty stricken parts of the world?

    Odd to think that there might be a couple of foxes running around the countryside because of what you did but a couple of unnecessary children's graves in Somalia.
    "

    ----------------
    Interesting if somewhat fatuous arguement - so, how many children's lives in Somalia were saved by those who take part in fox hunting ? Do I hear any advance on zero ?

    Odd to think that time, energy and money could be expended to just kill one fox - think how many lives could have been saved...

  • Comment number 100.

    It's not the deer that need culling - or to be less PC, slaughtering. It's the human race, that has infested the world, that needs culling - nature manages perfectly well - or would had not the human race "evolved" and rapidly destroyed, wrecked, taken and wasted everything the species could lay its hands on!

 

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