Not for the faint of heart - Bambi Sumatra Keyring Chainsmoker
Righto, think I've got a lot to be getting on with!
Haven't posted in a while, so I'm going to try and cover everything briefly. If you're interested in any aspect in particular, please leave comments in the section below, or on my Facebook page!
As I mentioned last week, I went out with the Wildlife Rangers Tuesday and Wednesday. Wildlife Ranger is really a posh name for 'deer stalker' - but they do a lot more than that which is why I suppose they have the fancy name. They also watch out for poachers, control rabbits and hares and also grey squirrels. In short, they are trying to play the role of predators and make sure all the cute mammals which like eating our trees and rare plants stay at an acceptable level. It's quite hard.
The Wildlife Rangers here are highly trained professionals who cull deer humanely, quickly, and with the utmost respect. However, if you find the idea of shooting a 'Bambi' horrible, then please don't read on.
Here is "Mr. D" trying to stalk a Muntjac.
Rangers start early in the morning, to try and catch the deer when they're less aware and also avoid members of the public. When we started on Tuesday, there was a thin layer of snow with a crust on top, so stalking was not an option as it would be too noisy. We got 2 muntjac spotted while driving in the pickup.
He's just asleep, I promise.
The deer are 'grallocked' or gutted in the woods, as soon as they have been shot usually, while hanging from a tree. This is to prevent bacteria living naturally in the gut contaminating the meat once the animal is dead. I should mention that they will always aim for a heart shot, which will kill instantly, and not take it if they're not 100% satisfied. However, sometimes a miss happens, this is what happened when a branch got in between the bullet and the quarry:
Luckily, the bullet deflected upward and missed the deer, but there is always the chance of it wounding. In that scenario, the ranger would use his dog to help track the deer and finish it off.
After our fairly successful morning, we took the gutted deer back to the larder to be hung, weighed and tagged up ready to be sent to the game dealer. It's all part of making the meat traceable, EU standards and all that, very professionally done.
For the rest of the day, we set up a load of high seats from which the rangers can shoot for one of their team shoots. This is when they get all of the rangers in one wood on one day to hit the deer really hard, and try and make a significant impact. Again, they are not trying to eradicate deer, just keep them at a controllable level.
As a bonus, we got to see a tawny owl flying around in broad daylight. He didn't really want to talk to us though, so he flew off... and I think I've run out of room on this post, so will show pics in the next one!
Off to bed now, many more stories to tell tomorrow.
Listening to: Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed - Little Noise Session on spotify