We finished the hind stalking season today. Our total for the season was 65 Red Hinds, 19 Red Calves and 8 Sika Hinds. The total number of red hinds was significantly higher than in previous years because of the need to reduce the growing number of hinds coming down to the sheep parks around our house. It is nice to have deer in sight from the house but what was a small number of deer a few years ago has built up to a significant herd and we felt it necessary to reduce it. That has been our main focus this month.
Large scale culling of hinds does not quite match the romantic ideal of a day on the hill after a suitable stag. But it is a necessary part of deer management and by concentrating the main activity against this particular herd over a short period of time we have now given them time to settle again with the hope that they will soon become familiar visitors again around the house.
The cull in the rest of the estate has also been quite loaded towards the end of the season. The key reason for this is that the protracted wet weather in the first half of the winter did have a detrimental effect on the deer, and the weaker animals did start to fall badly out of condition. We were therefore able to reach our target numbers in most parts of the estate simply by shooting animals that were clearly already struggling to make it through to the spring.
So, that’s it for deer management for a few months. Now it is time to get ready for calving and lambing which will be on us before we know it.