Targeting deer

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Ben Williamson’s letter (21 
August) shows how little People for the Ethical Treatment of 
Animals understands of the Scottish countryside and wildlife management.

Apart from not knowing that deer are culled with rifles rather than shotguns, he seems unaware of the necessity of managing our native deer population which is growing all the time, with serious impacts on their own habitat if numbers are not kept in balance by man.

It is encouraged and regulated by Scottish Natural Heritage while the work of culling is done quickly and cleanly by paying guests, vetted and supervised by professional stalkers.

The money that they pay
covers the cost of the operation, a perfect system.

And anyone who has spent hours crawling through peatbogs in the rain will know that it is no macho pursuit.

We should be applauding 
Mr Cameron for taking his holiday in the UK and doing his bit to support an important rural industry and conserve one of our most iconic wildlife species.

Tim Baynes

Scottish Land & Estates

Eskmills Business Park

Musselburgh

Writing from the windblown and heather-strewn moor of 
London, Ben Williamson has, possibly inadvertently, thought up a brand new Olympic competition.

I have never felt the slightest inclination to crawl about in the glaur for hours on end, or to smear my offspring in recently deceased stag corpuscle, all for the sake of a long soak in a bath of dubious provenance but even I know that the Prime Minister, with or without a bad back, would be lucky indeed to kill a deer after stalking by “blasting it with a shotgun”.

That would require not only ultra-ninja skills but such complete decrepitude on the part of the deer that its role – described with magnificent anthropomorphism by Mr Williamson as some sort of paterfamilias – would be so seriously compromised as to merit euthanasia.

Of course, for humans to have such talents and to pit them against a fit stag would be a true test of skill, worthy of an international stage, not just a seasonal pass time of the rich.

Likewise, swapping weapons, grouse shooting with a non-automatic rifle would be a far greater test deserving IOC recognition.Is it too late to introduce these turned-around sports as a test event for Glasgow 2014? Come on, First Minister, push for a truly Scottish test of athletic prowess! Mr Williamson undoubtedly meant well but he rather shot himself in the foot.

MAGNUS K MOODIE

Boswall Terrace

Edinburgh