17 OCTOBER 1931, Page 17


[To the Editor of the SrEcrxrcut.1 should like to endorse Mr. Binstead's views as to stag hunting, and quite agree that the subject is better left alone. As a land agent of some years' experience I have had the care of two deer parks. In the first case the park was situated on the slope of a hill, so that the use of a rifle to thin down the herd was comparatively safe, but the trouble was to get expert shots as no one cared for the job.

The deer park now under my care is about 250 acres in extent and quite flat, with a fairly frequented road running round three sides of it and a footpath across the middle. The use of a rifle is quite out of the question, as the danger of a ricochet is quite as great as a direct shot. Therefore, an ordinary shot gun has to be used, with special buck shot cartridges. Here, again, it is very difficult to get anyone to do the shooting, as, although every care is used, accidents will occasionally happen.

During the gales of two years ago, we had a tree fall down across the fence, and during the night seven or eight deer got out. In a very short time letters began to arrive at my office complaining about the damage the deer had done to roots and hay ricks. A shoot was organized, but only one buck was secured, but soon after two more were shot by the keepers. A few months ago a doe was shot. I happened to be passing the slaughter-house when she was being dressed, and the keeper called my attention to the hide, which was covered all over with shot holes, presumably No. 6. She must have been shot at a dozen times at least ; what the poor beast suffered can well be imagined ; hence also her very poor condition.

Knowing Exmoor fairly well, I feel sure that this is what would happen to the deer there if stag-hunting was abolished, as the advent of the motor-car and the lie of the land prevent a rifle from being used. Many of your correspondents have referred to deer stalking in Scotland, but conditions are so totally different there that no comparison can be made.—I [Our correspondent rightly draws attention to the great difficulties of seeking to keep down the number of deer if stag-hunting were abolished. But as the Spectator has said on previous occasions, we would sooner that the deer on Exmoor were abolished and a certain number confined in a " National Park " than that the present cruelties should continue.—ED. Spectator.)