Firearms UK agrees with and supports the overall content of the document; Deer Management on the National Forest Estate – Current Practice and Future Directions [Draft 20.03.2013] but have concerns for the impact on recreational stalkers.
Whilst we appreciate that the FES permits recreational stalking on the NFE, Firearms UK would prefer that access to shooting opportunities were made more available. Stalkers must carry out shooting in a safe, responsible manner and reduce any undue suffering to the quarry; however the requirement for formal DSC2 qualifications we feel unfairly restricts stalkers who are suitably qualified through experience gained. In addition the cost, both in time and financially of obtaining DSC qualification may also be prohibitive and unfairly disadvantages those on low incomes, deterring some from taking up the sport of recreational stalking altogether.
Firearms UK would oppose the mandatory use of non-lead ammunition. We do not believe that there is any evidence of lead pollution due to centre-fire rounds being left in the environment. Such a change to existing practice would pass on a further additional cost to the stalker through the purchase of more expensive non-lead ammunition.
Firearms UK support the efforts of the FES to make good use of shot deer by supplying the Scottish venison industry.