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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Bushcraft Babies; Risk Awareness (Knives)

"Rather than hijacking the blog as she usually does today Sallie is sharing some of her experiences of how our children cope with the risks associated with bushcraft" Geoff  

Me enjoying the outdoors and campfire cake with my children.
As the mother of 'bushcraft babies' I often get asked if I don't think I'm being irresponsible by letting my children handle knives and pick wild food and if I worry about their safety when they are taking part in these activities.

My answer will always be "NO!

In fact I would almost feel irresponsible if I didn't encourage my children to take part in these activities and provide supervision and instruction and help my children learn how to use knives safely and how to find the wonderful free food in our countryside.  

We do not however just hand them a knife and let them run off and play with it, or send them into the woods to find their lunch on their own. My husband and I believe that there are certain things our children must do before we will allow them to take part in bushcraft activities that involve knives and tools or other potentially dangerous/risky activities. 

Starting with knives;
Our oldest son received his first knife when he was three and as this does seem quite young I should clarify that he didn't have unrestricted access to his knife at all times. The first projects he tried all had a lot of input from Geoff or I and before he, or Lillie when she became old enough, were allowed to use a knife on their own.

Working on one of Michael's earliest whittling projects while Lillie looks on. 
Lillie using a knife in the kitchen. 

Before letting our children use knives we have to be entirely satisfied that they would listen to and obey instructions otherwise we couldn't risk giving them knives in the first place. We have a few strategies to make using knives as safe as possible for our children, we try and make sure they stay at a particular work station while they are using knives, something like a log that they can lean on, this means they are less likely to rest what they are working on on their leg or hold it in the palm of their hand while they try and work on it. Even adults need reminding of things this simple from time to time.

We make sure they know that knives are tools and just like other tools, when they are not being used they stay with the other tools in the shed or tool box.    

It will be a while before they graduate on to using the chainsaw's for real. 

We have just added the first Bushcraftbabies episode to the Bushcraft Education Youtube channel  sharing ideas for outdoor, nature and bushcraft related play with children. Check out the first episode here; 



Next time you hear from me it will be about the risks associated with foraging and wild food.

Sallie

Monday, 22 February 2016

Hunter Gatherer Ethics pt 5 (Ownership of Game)

It's a strange concept isn't it that someone can own another living thing but farmers would certainly consider their livestock to be their property but it is a little different with wild animals.

Under Roman Law the right to hunt came with the ownership of a piece of land.

Venatio34
A depiction of hunting during Roman times
By Nanosanchez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

During the 'Medieval' period and after the conquest of the British Isles by the Normans hunting became institutionalised as the pursuit of the rich and noble. The right to hunt was separated from the ownership of land and the right to hut was retained exclusively by the crown. This meant that hunting could only be carried out with the permission of the king.  This meant that the nobility were generally permitted to hunt on the lands they controlled but even then there were occasions where nobles were fined by the kings 'foresters' for hunting without permission. This famously occurred after Richard The Lionheart's was ransomed from Henry VI Holy Roman Emperor and to raise funds for another crusade enforced fines on his nobles who had been hunting in his absence.   The punishment for hunting or poaching without permission as a peasant were somewhat more severe, peasants had no money to pay fines remember, and historically would have included hanging, blinding, castration and deportation. 

Nowadays the right to hunt can still be separate from land ownership and it is fairly normal for someone to rent the game shooting rights without actually owning the land on which they will be shooting. We do just that in our deer management work in and around Riddy Wood.  

In summary though no one owns 'game' while it is alive, even the people who put time effort and money into rearing, raising or making the habitat perfect for it. So a gamekeeper who buys pheasant chicks, rears them, releases them and eventually accommodates guests who are going to try and shoot them doesn't own those pheasants until they are dead. While they are alive and wild they can leave his land and he would have no right to shoot them or claim them back from a neighboring landowner. 

Geoff

Monday, 15 February 2016

Hunter Gatherer Ethics pt 4 (Non-target species)

Trapping can be an excellent part of an overall strategy for controlling pests and predators or gathering wild food. However there is an added complication with traps of the increased danger of catching things which your didn't mean to. 


This isn't normally such a problem when using firearms because you can see the animal you are aiming at, although there are cases of very irresponsible people shooting at silhouettes or just the glare of eyes in a lamp without properly identifying the target and shooting the wrong animal.


Just as the light from the camera flash is making these sika deer's eyes glow the light of a lamp can be used to illuminate the eyes of a range of targets, from rabbits to foxes, it is very irresponsible to shoot at eyes without positively identifying your target.




The problem with catching non-target species is that you may put yourself in a difficult legal position, for example by catching species which are protected, and there is the danger that you will compromise the population of species which you shouldn't be killing. 



This is a kania trap which we can use in the UK for trapping squirrels, mink and other small vermin, It can be baited to attract certain species and the trigger mechanism is designed in such a way as to prevent birds from setting it off easily.



The 'stops' on these snares prevent the snares from tightening up so tightly that they cut into a target species but they also used to be known as 'deer stops' as they prevent the snare tightening up on a deer's leg. 




The tunnel over this trap and the sticks in front of it are required to prevent non-target species being caught by the trap. In the UK the spring trap approval order requires that these spring traps be set in a tunnel.

In the picture below I have taken advantage of a hole at the bottom of a tree to set a trap in but have still used sticks to block off access to non-target species.



These are some common traps, all legal for use in the UK, which might be used for controlling pests and predators, from Back to Front; Kania 2000, Fenn Mk 6, Fen Mk 4, Magnum 110.


All those involved in trapping or hunting should be very careful to make sure they only catch the species they intended, accidents can happen with traps but if things are prepared and arranged properly these can be minimised.

Setting snares the correct height above the ground, four fingers high for a rabbit or a span and a half for foxes will ensure that you don't accidentally catch a badger which you all know walk with their heads fairly close to the ground so will just go under a fox snare. Or even better not using snares where you know badgers or other protected species are present.

Only using killing traps around water when you are sure you won't accidentally catch a water vole or otter instead of your targeted mink. These measures are not only important to keep you out of trouble but also to ensure the safety of protected species.

Geoff



Thursday, 11 February 2016

BushScience; How Antlers Grow




We have been writing quite a bit about antlers recently on the Bushcraft Education blog and have shown you a few antler abnormalities over the last few weeks, first in Martins post and again just a couple of days ago. So it's about time we explain exactly what antlers are, how they work and what they are for. 



The first thing to understand is that antlers are made of bone and they are different to the horns of a cow or antelope which are made of keratin. Also antlers drop off every year while horn grows year on year and does not fall off.





Pronghorn - Antelope Island
A North American prong-horn Antelope
By Tortoise (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Antelope tend to grow horns with very simple shapes, single points, with a twist or spiral, and in the case of prong-horn with a single 'barb' or 'prong' on the front. In contrast deer, grow antlers with very complex shapes.





Like the palmate antlers of these Fallow Deer (picture Courtesy of David Carr)
Or the branched, multi pointed antlers of this majestic red stag (picture Courtesy of David Carr)
 
This Pere-David or 'Milu' at Woburn park has very strange antlers with backward pointing beams almost as long as the main beam of the antler.


On to antler terminology;

Antlers of this shape are unique to fallow deer
Antlers this shape are common on red and sika deer

There is plenty more antler related terminology, particularly related to Fallow deer and the development of their antlers as the animal ages;

  • Pricket; Young Buck typically with single point antlers before any palmation (flat bit) develops.
  • Sorrel; Three year old buck
  • Sore; Four Year old Buck
  • After that they may be known as 'bare bucks', 'bucks', 'master bucks' or 'great bucks' but by this stage unless you have kept track of a particular animal from birth and know exactly how old it is these terms have lost their value as something which indicates the age of the animal and is normally just based on how big the bucks antlers are, and there we hit a snag;
The size of a deers antlers is not determined primarily by age, although in fallow they do tend to go through stages of development with the size and shape of the 'palm' of their antlers developing over a period of years. It is food quality which determines antler growth and size more than any other single factor and so you will often see the deer with the best feed, ie; those which live on parks and deer farms where they are fed, growing much larger antlers than their wild counterparts. Deer are also capable of harvesting calcium from their own skeletons to contribute to the growth of their antlers, which does mean that if they are not on a particularly good diet while the antlers are growing they draw so much calcium from their own bones that they are effectively in a state of osteoporosis by the time their antlers are grown, this can lead to high mortality among stags and bucks after the 'rut' or breeding season as they are so weakened by the combined exertion of the breeding season and the growing of antlers. Partly for this reason deer (and other animals) eat the antlers cast in spring, which may explain why cast antlers are quite hard to find.

The thing that controls the growth of antlers is the hormone testosterone, the release of which into the male deer's system is triggered by the shortening days as we draw into autumn and winter. Once their system has testosterone in it ready for the breeding season the antler growth is stopped, while growing though the antlers are encased in a velvety like membrane which contains the blood and nerve supply to the developing antler. Each year this growth starts from scratch as soon as the previous antler drops off, once the antler stops growing though the velvet dries up and starts to fall off, during this stage of development the bucks and stags are known as being 'in tatters' as their antlers often trail long strands of drying velvet, they will often rub their antlers on trees and on the ground to shed these clinging strands and this explains the dark brown colour of most antlers. if they were not coloured by this rubbing and 'fraying' they would be pure white.  

 
this fallow buck is 'in tatters' and you can see how white his antlers are before he has had a chance to colour them up by rubbing and thrashing in the undergrowth. (Photo courtesy of David Car)




In the UK the main use deer have for their antlers is fighting and it's only the bucks and stags which grow them, although Chinese Water Deer have no antlers at all and are one of only a few deer species globally which don't grow antlers. In countries with harsher climates though antlers become useful tools and reindeer, whether male or female, all have antlers so they can dig through the snow.


So there you have it; an introduction to antlers, where they come from and what they are for. There are some other deer in the UK with very different antlers to the ones discussed here though and we have shown muntjac antlers fairly recently here on the bushcraft education blog  but have not addressed roe deer or their antlers in any great detail in the past. So in a couple of weeks I will dedicate a post to roe deer, their ecology, antlers and I will also answer the question I posed a few days ago, to which no one has given me an answer yet, What is a perruque? remember there is a prize of a set of Chinese Water deer tusks to the first correct answer.

Geoff 


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

More abnormal antlers

After Martins post a few days ago about the abnormal antlers of some of the muntjac we have seen over the past few years I though I would share a few more odd antlers I have seen to prepare you for the article I promised as part of our bushscience series all about how antlers grow and exactly what they are.

Very recently, just last Tuesday I saw this Fallow Buck while observing deer on Cannock Chase with a group of students as part of their deer management course, now I can't claim to have taken the pictures of this first deer myself, they come courtesy of Graeme one of the students observing the deer with me on this occasion, you may already have read his account of a trip to Riddy Wood and his first deer stalk on the Bushcraft Education blog recently.





What you will see in this picture is not a buck with only one antler but rather a buck with one broken antler, this may even be the reason he is hanging out with this group of does, he may have broken the other antler in a fight back during the rut or been clipped by a car and now that the rut is over is taking shelter with this group of does rather than with the bachelors. This next picture shows more clearly the extent of the damage.


You can clearly see here that the left antler has broken off just above the 'brow tine' that is the first point on the antler. The other potential explanation may be that this antler was damaged while it was growing and for some reason didn't fully develop.

This next picture is my own though. I took it while working in New Zealand on a deer farm and although it isn't as clear from this picture as we cut the deer antlers off on deer farms, partly because the 'velvet' from the antlers could be sold and partly because handling deer at close quarters when they have massive pointy bits of bone on the top of their head is a recipe for some fairly horrendous injuries. In fact while I worked in New Zealand a farmer on another farm not far away was killed by an antlered stag which gored him through the abdomen.


You can see in this picture though that the stubs of his antlers are not exactly symmetrical, one points strait up as you would expect and the other points out to one side. This happened because the previous year, while he was growing his first set of antlers he had got caught in a fence and broken off the antler so severely that it damaged the 'pedicle' the bone on the top of the skull where the antler grows from to the extent that a large piece of it came away with the broken antler so instead of growing upwards the next time the antler grew out to the side. 

There are all sorts of potential deformations that can be observed in deer antlers so here is a simple question for you, the first person to get the correct answer to me via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in the comments below before the post on antlers comes out in 48 hours wins a set of Chinese Water Deer Tusks.

The Question is; What is a 'perruque' antler?

Look forward to hearing from you

Geoff







Monday, 8 February 2016

Hunter Gatherer Ethics pt 3 (Poaching)

We have suffered a bit of a problem with poaching recently near Riddy Wood and as we are addressing 'Hunter Gatherer Ethics' at the moment I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about poaching. 

I guess the first thing that springs to mind when poaching is mentioned is the poaching of endangered species, and perhaps the illegal trade in ivory and other restricted animal products.

Pallet of seized raw ivory (USFWS)
Pallets of Confiscated Elephant Ivory.
By U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It's very simple to say that this sort of poaching is unethical and should be combated as strongly as possible but the waters grow a little murky when we talk about poaching in the UK. I think there are a few reasons for that;

  • There has always been a perceived class divide between those who hunt and fish and those who don't in the UK. Up until the last fifty years or so this divide was very real, the only people who hunted were the rich landowning classes, or under their strict instructions farming tenants and game keepers could keep down the vermin. Perhaps because of the class divide people thought those landowners deserved to have 'their' game poached.
  • There would have been many reasons to poach in the UK in years gone by, and hunger would have been chief among them and it seems a bit heartless to talk about the rights and wrongs of poaching when the alternative is hunger and starvation.
  • Poaching has become romanticized in literature with books such as Tales of the Old Poachers and Roald Dahl's Danny Champion of the World making poaching seem like a harmless and romantic old tradition.    

Roald Dahl's gipsy caravan - geograph.org.uk - 112566
Poaching has become romanticized in books such as Roald Dahl's Danny Champion of the World in which Danny and his poacher father live in a caravan like this one.
George Mahoney [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Unfortunately poaching is not as romantic and harmless as it is often portrayed, perhaps the 'old' poachers were an honorable bunch who only took enough for their families, and as a husband and father myself I have every sympathy with that but there are plenty of poachers out there now, as there have been in the past, who are just as much criminals as a person who would rob a post office. We have recently found several dead Chinese Water Deer  near Riddy Wood, one of which had the head removed and nothing else. This is a terrible waste of food and of life. 

There have been poaching gangs for hundreds of years, as far back as the 13th Century when the border reivers in Northumberland, Cumbria and Scotland wreaked havoc. Poaching, although not their only pastime, the theft of livestock, kidnap and murder were also on the agenda, was one of their significant crimes. Their trouble making so vexed the Archbishop of Glasgow that in 1525 he placed a curse on them, a small portion reads thus;

"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain (innermost thoughts), their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their leggs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

Modern poaching gangs may not murder and kidnap, although an acquaintance of mine when I was studying keepering and game management at college had his arm crippled when he was shot with a 12 bore by poachers while working on a pheasant shoot.

Organised poachers can also cause thousands of pounds worth of losses if they empty entire pens of pheasants or course whole herds of deer with their dogs. These poachers aren't out after just enough to fill their bellies or feed a family they are out to profit from the game managed by other people. They use methods which are not only illegal but inhumane, methods like dazzling herds of deer with vehicle headlights and then deliberately running into them to break their legs or spines before finishing them off with knives or clubs. 

To me the Robin Hood style tale of Danny and his father in Roald Dahls classic and the justice done to the villainous Mister Victor Hazel seems harmless, although I'm sure I wouldn't feel the same if I happened to be Mister Hazels game keeper. And the romantic image of the pot poacher taking the odd rabbit or partridge for his family in time of need seems justified but systematic poaching is not in any way ethical either in terms of the treatment of the quarry or the impact on those who put time and money into the management and preservation of the game being poached. 

Geoff 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Foragers Diary; Venison and Pheasant Pate

Back when I wished you all a happy new year towards the beginning of January I promised a post about some home made pate I made using wild ingredients, well here it is;


Earlier in the year I froze this fallow liver ready to make pate for Christmas, normally the liver from the deer I shoot don't survive past the next breakfast but I save a few each year especially for pate. On this occasion I wanted to try something a bit different and so also added some pheasant to the recipe. 


Some people are confused by the yellow fat, but that is what it's meant to look like. If the fat of a deer I shoot is yellow then it means it has been eating a lot of oil see rape which colours the fat yellow and means it can't be sold into the food chain. With pheasants though it is always this colour. 

Cut all the meat and liver into thin strips and fry them with some other ingredients of your choice, I used challotes, garlic and as it was Christmas some cloves I also added some home made cherry jelly to add a bit of a fruity flavour. 


All the ingredients simmering away, once cooked you need to blend the mixture into a smooth pate and add milk. Once it is at the right consistency pack it in suitable containers and put it in the fridge where it will set.  As this recipe requires milk you will need to eat it fairly quickly, but that shouldn't be a problem. 


Home made venison and pheasant pate on toast, next time though I won't use the cherry as well, the combination of liver, which is sweet, pheasant, also sweet and the very sweet cherry was a bit to much for me. 

Geoff

PS I promised a post on poaching this week but have been rather busy and haven't got round to finishing it off, it will be ready for you tomorrow though.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Student Visit To Riddy Wood; by Graeme Williams

An account of the recent fieldtrip to Riddy Wood made by the Reaseheath College Game Management course by one of the visiting students.
On January the 12th 2016 at 12:30pm me, my class mates and our lecturer Geoffrey Guy left Reaseheath college and set off for Cambridgeshire to the woodlands that Geoffrey and his brother Richard manage and where they run recreational deer stalking for Chinese water deer and Muntjac.
I was particularly excited on this trip because I was going to get a go at Chinese water deer stalking, this was my first time deer stalking. We arrived at the farm yard where the vehicle’s where parked for the duration of the trip. Richard arrived with the 4x4 and trailer to transport the food and tools we had brought with us to the campsite while we walked with our rucksacks to the site, once we got to the campsite we went to where Richard had parked the 4x4 and trailer and carried the tools and food to the campsite. We then began to set out our bedding under the shelter that was provided, after a meal of pasta cooked on the camp fire we retired to bed.
cThe next day me and my class mates woke up early to a cold morning, once we all had woken up we decided to go to top camp and have breakfast, boiled eggs and bacon was on the menu, good eating ready for a good days work

'Top Camp' is the main camp at Riddy Wood where we store and process timber and teach.
'Bottom Camp' is also affectionately known as camp coppice and was the original site of our camp when we first started working in Riddy Wood. 
 After breakfast Geoff and my class mates went down near to the bottom camp and started to fell the trees which were to be coppiced with axes and shoot grey squirrels. Me and Richard went off to check that the zero of his rifle suited my eye, we got out of the woods and walked down the side of them. As we were walking along the woods we spotted something running in the wood with a white rump, we both suspected a roe deer as there is a handful with in the area. While walking to a suitable place to zero in the scope, I asked a range of questions to do with game keeping, woodland management, deer ecology and shooting techniques and I found the answers very insightful. As we got to the other side of the wood we spotted the roe buck running out of the wood and away from us. It may have been the same one that we later saw on the trail camera footage. 




When we arrived at the destination and spotted a Chinese water deer running in the distance, Richard set up two targets, one for him to check the rifle on and one for me to practice and make any final adjustments if I needed to. Richard fired a group from prone then I went into the prone position and took three shots with the Remington 700 .243, the three shots were on target within a one inch group at 75 yards with a slight wind, not bad for the first time using a centre fire rifle. 

Satisfied with my level of accuracy we headed back to the others where I joined the group coppicing, felling, removing the felled tree limbs and burning the brash. Around 1:30pm we stopped for lunch were me and Richard grabbed a sandwich and drink and left to go deer stalking. On the way to the 4x4, Richard discussed shot placement with me to recap on what Geoffrey had taught me back at college, it’s always good to have a refresher. We got to the 4x4 and drove to the area where we was to stalk. On the way Richard went through the safety aspects of the stalk and the plan of action. 

We arrived at the destination and set off quietly walking around a field boundary, stopping now and then to take a 360 look around to see if we can see a deer. We got to a small patch of woodland and due to the wind direction decided to go around the wood anti-clockwise. As we started to go around the wood we soon spotted a Muntjac going so we snuck over to see if we could get a closer look, we couldn’t see the deer so we went to the end of the wood to an opening, snuck in and waited for 10- 15 minutes to see if we could get an opportunity to take a shot. The Muntjac wasn’t seen again so we headed out of the wood to continue as planned. 

We hadn’t walked 5 yards when I spotted a Chinese water deer at the other end of the field slowly walking to the edge of the field. We crouched down and following the edge of the wood we stalked the deer to the edge of the field we set up and I went into the prone position, I took off the safety, controlled my breathing and waited for a broadside shot to present it’s self. I squeezed the trigger and hit my mark, the deer went down and managed to get back up for a second the fell down again. I made the rifle safe and me and Richard headed to the deer, Richard did a little exercise with me to see if I could find the site of impact, where the animal had first been hit. 

Once that was done we went to the deer check it for any response by touching the eye, nothing, one good shot behind the shoulder at approx. 115-120 yards, I bagged a nice Chinese water deer buck, please with the shot and please that we will be back at camp before it got too dark we headed back.


My First Deer

Back at camp we all gathered around and Geoff gave us a gralloching and skinning demonstration. The shot had left both shoulders intact maximising the meat that could be collected but did damage the liver. We had deer rump cooked in a Dutch oven under the camp fire. Every one enjoyed the meat, it was definitely one of the nicest venison meals I’ve had. Some of us watched some trail cam footage of the deer that visit the wood during the night and then retired to bed. 
"Interestingly enough one of the haunches from this animal couldn't be eaten as we found a large wound in it, at least an inch deep and partly healed but very swollen and slightly discoloured, probably caused in a fight with another Chinese Water Deer and it's fearsome canines. With wounds like that it's better safe than sorry so we had to get rid of it". Geoff
In the early hours of the next morning me and my class mates was woken up by a Muntjac barking close to camp, after which we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before waking up and going for breakfast. Porridge was up for grabs this morning. We discussed the plan of action for the half a days work we had to do before leaving to catch the buses home. We packed our bags split some wood, cleaned the remaining trees that had been felled and added the last bit of protection from the Muntjac for the coppiced trees. We packed all the gear and remaining bit of food back in the vehicles along with the venison and the Chinese water deer skin that will be tanned and turned into buck skin and left by about 1:30pm. 

All in all it was a good camping trip with interesting topics discussed and a very satisfying deer stalking conclusion. I will definitely think about doing it again in the future.

Graeme Williams 

Monday, 1 February 2016

From the Highseat; Abnormal Antlers

A lovely morning, complete with crimson sunrise, owls and great company, just continued to get better and better. We parked in the dark and waited for the sunrise to illuminate the world, when it got light enough to see, it was evident that we parked in the right spot. A Muntjac buck joined us just 150 yards away and he was a lovely specimen too and he eventually joined us for the ride home.

Muntjac deer at Dumbleton Hall (cropped)
A reeves muntjac buck with fairly typical antlers by
By Nilfanion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Once he was dealt with, we set off walking on a route of 3 to 4 miles to see if we could find a Chinese Water deer for my colleague today. We saw a few but not as many as we had 6 months ago and it has perplexed us as to why.

Anyway, we spotted another muntjac in the distance, he hadn't seen us but was moving slowly away towards cover and I knew where he was going. When we eventually got close he had vanished into cover and we stood silently scanning with our binoculars. Then I heard it, a crash as the little buck butted the pheasant feeder to see if grain would fall out, I have seen and/or heard this behaviour a few times now and it narrowed down his position a bit, a minute later I glimpsed him leaving cover towards the east and I set up on sticks to intercept him. As he ambled off I squeaked him to a stop and dropped him where he stood. He was a good size buck but with deformed antlers and I was left wondering if he was from the same gene pool as one I shot a few years ago also with deformed antlers.

The recent muntjac buck with deformed antlers

The buck from a few years ago, also with deformed antlers. Maybe the two were related.


Next week we will be publishing an article in the bushscience series all about antlers; how they grow, what they are made of and why deer need them. 

With the buck on my back now we headed off on our circuit but found a dead and headless CWD in just another few yards, sadly confirming our fears that some poaching had been going on. It took the shine off an otherwise perfect morning and left us with a quandary as to what we can do to stop it.

In light of this recent poaching the 'Hunter Gatherer Ethics' post this week will be on the topic of poaching


Go on out in the countryside but please leave it unspoiled for the rising generation!

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