Police ‘failing to tackle illegal deer hunting’

Police ‘failing to tackle illegal deer hunting’

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A wildlife group has said it has “zero confidence” in the police taking action against illegal after a mature stag was shot and killed.

The deer, known as an imperial due to the number of its antler points, was shot at Bicknoller Quarry on Thursday.

Bobbie Armstrong from Somerset said: “Sadly, the police in Somerset seem to be inclined to see us as the problem.”

Avon and Somerset Police says it takes wildlife crime allegations seriously.

Rural Affairs Unit Sgt Andy Murphy said: “We’re listening to the concerns raised by wildlife organisations and can categorically reassure them that we’ll always police without fear or favour.

“The Rural Affairs Unit and our neighbourhood policing teams work closely with rural and wildlife stakeholders across the Avon and Somerset area.”

He said the complaint about the shooting had been received and was being investigated.

But Somerset Wildlife Crime claimed police officers have a “poor knowledge” of the law, and are biased in favour of hunt groups.

Ms Armstrong says officers have previously told her they “had more important things to do”.

“Stags are regularly and consistently being hunted and killed on the Quantock Hills, we will say illegally because we don’t see them [] adhering to any exemptions,” added Ms Armstrong.

The exemptions include an animal to alleviate suffering.

‘Pistols and shotguns’

Ms Armstrong also said she had safety concerns.

“The Quantock Staghounds… carry pistols, they carry short-barrel shotguns, they are shooting on open public access land.

“It’s quite simple. Take it seriously before there is a major incident, before somebody is hurt.”

She added that as many of the shoots on the Quantock Hills were on National Trust land, the charity was failing to enforce its rights as a landowner.

A National Trust spokeswoman said: “We don’t believe the [shooting] incident happened on our land. Therefore it is not up to us to investigate.

“We were saddened to hear about the alleged incident which happened last week. Hunting deer and stags with packs of dogs has been illegal since 2004.”

The charity has asked anyone who sees illegal hunting activity to report it to the police.

Wildlife campaigners say three healthy stags have been killed on the Quantocks since the hunting season began in August.

The BBC has approached the Quantock Staghounds for comment.

This article was first published by BBC News on 23 October 2020. Lead Image: Wildlife campaigners are concerned healthy stags are being shot and killed – Image: EPA.


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Irene Leggett
Irene Leggett

Corruption and bribery speaks volumes in this….got to keep the ‘above the law of the land’ smug, smirking, heartless, gutless, soul-less hunting brigade happy. after all the majority of the stinking rich brigade thinks this ‘sport’ is fun and entertaining. And don’t forget that the National Trust and the RSPB are quite happy for these gut-wrenchingly vile ‘hunters’ to allow the dogs to rip foxes, deer and rabbits to pieces on their land. They also want to keep the ‘hunting’ brigades happy and want the foxes eliminated because the foxes can catch and eat some of the 57 MILLION NON-NATIVE,… Read more »

Colum Muccio
Colum Muccio

Be nice to know what country/area you’re talking about…

Arlene Steinberg
Arlene Steinberg

I agree – I wish they would post the country somewhere prominently in the heading, but usually, you can find a clue somewhere in the article. In this case, they mention the BBC, so it is likely to be the UK.

Diane
Diane

Isn’t it about time the police did their job properly when it comes to the illegal hunting of deer and foxes (with or without dogs). Have they not yet taken on board the fact that the large majority of the population is against hunting in all forms. Policing in this country is by consent, so let us hope that their turning a blind eye to the hunting minority doesn’t make the consenting majority decide that they no longer consent with the way that the police single out a minority for favour and stop co-operating??!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

I will forever fail to comprehend how anyone can find pleasure in taking an innocent life.