Welwyn Garden City deer cull could be on the cards, documents reveal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 November 2012 | UPDATED: 12:03 22 November 2012

A muntjack captured in the wild. Picture from  davidpiano92's Flickr account

A muntjack captured in the wild. Picture from davidpiano92's Flickr account

Archant

DEER in a Welwyn Garden City woodland could be shot and butchered for venison if a new council policy is agreed.

A consultation has been launched by Welwyn Hatfield Council in to its woodland policy which reveals the authority is being “strongly advised” by to reduce the numbers of muntjac within Sherrardspark Wood.

The report states: “The Sherrardspark Wood Wardens Society is in strong support of control of deer because this will give them greater confidence that young trees they have helped to establish will have a successful future.”

The Eastern Deer Initiative says authorities can use a variety of tools to control the small mammals ranging from fencing to a semi-professional small cull – with the group pouring cash into a venison policy which sees culled deer butchered.

David Hooton, deer liaison officer for the East, said the group had been monitoring the woodland for about seven years and the animals were causing problems in the Site of Special Scientific Interest.

He said: “The problem is not necessarily the number [of deer], I’m not interested in the number.

“We are interested in the trees present and the impact on the woodland.

“If they are interfering with the trees there are too many. We don’t know the population of the woodland.”

He added: “One of the policies we work with is to increase the availability and affordability of wild culled venison into local markets.”

The consultation for the woodland policy is ongoing, with the borough yet to make a decision on a Sherrardspark Wood cull, but the deers’ days could be numbered.

Stalkers are allowed to prowl Northaw Great Wood to control muntjac, and if the new policy is approved hunters could be allowed to target fresh prey.

A council spokeswoman said: “At present, no control of deer is being undertaken in Sherrardspark Wood.

“However, current browsing levels are high enough to be causing long-term damage to young trees, coppice regeneration and woodland flowers.”

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