Can I lamp deer as I would foxes?

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Why am I not allowed to lamp deer on my land in the same way I would lamp a fox? Dom Holtam answers...

Q: Why can I lamp foxes on my ground but not deer? It would be much easier to achieve my cull if I could!

DOM HOLTAM replies: It is (theoretically) possible to get a licence to shoot deer at night if they are causing a serious amount of damage and you have tried every other alternative. If that is the case for you, contact Natural England.

It should not be just for your convenience, though. For many deer, darkness is their last opportunity for stress- and disturbance-free feeding, and research has proven that night shooting can seriously increase stress for the animals.

Also, on the welfare side, if you have to follow-up a wounded animal, will you be able to under cover of darkness? From a safety perspective, shooting the larger deer species at night also raises issues. Can you be sure of your backstop? These are tall animals and if you get a pass through, where is the bullet going to go? Foxes and rabbits are a lot closer to the ground and generally the bullet is heading into the earth.

Seasons and shooting restrictions are in place for the welfare of the deer as well as for reasons of safety – not specifically for the convenience of shooters. With proper planning and commitment you should have no problem culling deer within the limits of the law. If you have exceptional circumstances, there are other options to explore.

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