DEER STALKING – FROM FOREST TO FORK
Once thought of as exclusive to the Scottish highlands, deer stalking is now an activity which is firmly established in the English countryside – and that includes Suffolk.
So reports Suffolk CLA vice-chairman, Graham Downing, who has just published 'Practical Woodland Stalking' which will be launched at The CLA Game Fair* at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire on Friday (July 23).
"Virtually all species of deer found in Britain are on the increase," reports Graham, an acknowledged expert on wild deer. "We long ago eliminated their natural predators like the wolf and the lynx, so where deer need managing to prevent damage to crops or woodlands or to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents, then it's our responsibility to control their numbers.
"East Anglian deer populations are growing significantly, and the increased levels of browsing are having an impact on some of our ancient woodlands as well as resulting in crop damage. In Thetford Forest we also have some of the highest levels of deer-related road traffic accidents in the country. All of this means that numbers have to be managed."
The new book draws on Graham's personal experience of deer management to provide detailed guidance on stalking deer on foot, the use of high seats and using trained dogs for locating carcasses, a skill which is well-understood in continental Europe but which remains in its infancy in Britain.
"Recent changes to the law have made it much easier for individual hunters and sporting estates to market the game and venison which they produce, but it's important to understand the regulations which govern meat hygiene," says Graham,. His book offers tips on setting up a deer larder in which to process carcasses and explains the new European regulations on venison sales.
With venison growing fast in popularity as a delicious and exceptionally healthy meat, Graham, who sells wild venison from his Suffolk farm, also explains how to convert deer into high quality food, and reveals the secret of producing delicious home-smoked haunches and succulent venison sausages.
"Every part of the carcass can be turned into fantastic fare which is good at any time of the year. Smoked venison, thinly carved off the joint and served cold with fresh salad and chilled white wine, is perfect for a hot summer's day - venison is not all about rich winter casseroles," says Graham.
Practical Woodland Stalking, by Graham Downing, is published by Quiller Publishing, price £25. Visit http://www.countrybooksdirect.com/product.php/655/15/practical-woodland-stalking for details or online sales.
*Note to editors:
Held in association with The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph The CLA Game Fair takes place from Friday 23 – Sunday 25 July at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire. Full details www.gamefair.co.uk
For further information
Graham Downing, vice-chairman Suffolk CLA 01986 873688 OR 07775 507737
Sally Smith, CLA PR 01553 764422 OR 07729 448046
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Nicola has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Farm Management from the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) and seven years experience as a Tenant Farmer, building up a pedigree dairy herd from scratch. She has also spent time in professional practice in Estate and Farm Management. This background has provided Nicola with a useful grounding to work for the interests of the CLA East region’s farming and rural businesses.
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