I spent good couple of hours at the AGM of Lowland Deer Network Scotland last Sunday. Many more members turned up this year and the meeting room was nearly full. After short introduction Richard Cooke (LDNS Chairman) and Dick Playfair (LDNS Secretary) reported how the organization did in 2013. The Jamie Hammond (Scottish Natural Heritage) talked about continued support for the LDNS in 2014. Then we got to more interesting point and Richard announced three separate presentations.
First was Ben Harrower (FCS). He talked about deer management in Scottish Lowlands Forest District. How the FC rangers go about dealing with poachers, antisocial behavior and culling deer in peri-urban areas. He also talked about larch and ash dieback diseases.
What I found most interesting was how the FC carry on census and cull planning. Ben showed very good slide showing a map of a forestry block where deer numbers were estimated by dung counting. Basically in this particular forestry block there were parts deer frequently used and parts they did not like at all with little or no signs. This kind of ties in with my own observations. There are parts of the forestry I stalk that deer avoid for no apparent reason and only after several years in the syndicate I was able to figure this out. However, if one is in a new area and wrong part of the lease that deer do not like one will not be terribly successful :roll:.. Over the years I saw people joining a syndicate and pulling out following year… 🙄 The truth is, one needs time to get to know the ground and to get the picture how the deer move over the ground at any time of year and different time of day depending on wind and other conditions.
Second presentation delivered prof James Simpson from Edinburgh University. He was talking about the Scottish Deer Project. He showed some more or less typical deer disease conditions such as Alladin’s sleepers, liver fluke and lung worms. Dwarfism condition in red deer looked very interesting and I never seen this before. You can find more info at the website above and if you have an interesting condition, contact professor and send him a sample for free examination.
Third presenter supposed to be Pete Carr of Sporting Rifle magazine, but he never showed up 🙄 . Chris Dalton of South Ayrshire Stalking and Stuart Wilson of the Shooting Show – who also filmed the meeting – talked instead. Chris gave very good speech about co-operation in deer management whereas Stuart talked about the Shooting Show and showed new Merkel Helix rifle he brought over.
The AGM finished after short Q&A session. I had a good time and it looks like the organization is growing and there are some interesting events planned for 2014. Also good news is subscription fees are now only £10 for individuals and £25 for the group which I think is good value for money. If you stalk deer in Lowland Scotland why not join the LDNS.