Deer matters for Police Wildlife Crime Officers and Procurators Fiscal
14 Wildlife Crime Police Officers and one Procurator Fiscal attended a day long event, on March 19, prepared and delivered by The British Deer Society at Balmanno Farm.
The purpose of the event was to give advice and experience in deer related matters, including an introduction to a variety of firearms.
Demonstrations of correct methods of carcass preparation in the larder were laid on with freshly shot deer. This exhibited what a properly presented carcass should look like and when an identifying tag should be evident.
As a result of a recent suspected poaching incident, various deer parts had been dumped locally. These were used to exhibit what can be determined, including what firearm had been used, in a detailed inspection of poached deer parts.
DNA retrieval methods from deer body parts was explained and demonstrated by a DNA forsenic expert along with an outline of the opportunities this represents for investigators.
Various firearms and cartridges were exhibited and described, including shot gun, full bore and rimfire. A description of the function and the law pertaining to these firearms was set out followed by an opportunity to handle firearms and projectiles, which allowed the differences and characteristics of each firearm to be explained.
Terminal ballistics - what a bullet does on impact - was described, to show the intended effect on impact of a 'deer legal' calibre projectile. This part of the course also crucially covered what some other calibre projectiles do and why they are not 'deer legal'.
The group then went to a windswept 100m range to take the opportunity of using a firearm to test shoot 3 'zero' shots to test accuracy on a black and white ring target followed by a further 3 shots at a roe deer target. Coaching and advice was given throughout on a one to one basis and the standard of shooting was very good, especially given the wind speed!
The Deer Commission for Scotland followed this with a talk on Venison Dealers Licence record inspection guidance.
This covered Deer Act aspects but also highlighted Local Authority interests as well as Food Standards Agency interests.
The expressions of gratitude at the end of the day, and the many notes of thanks subsequently sent to the BDS, indicate that a great deal of information was passed on and that the opportunity to 'get up close' to deer and actually handle and use various firearms was greatly appreciated.
Having the material from the recent suspected poaching incident was useful but we are particularly grateful for the talks on DNA retrieval and terminal ballistics.
"This course allowed me to understand deer management from a very different perspective. The care and attention given to managing, culling and preparing deer to enter the food chain was made abundantly clear; it also emphasised the risks posed to the public by people taking deer unlawfully and by-passing food hygiene standards.
To understand the chain of events from killing the beast right through to its presence in a venison larder was very valuable and provided context around the entire deer-stalking process."Charlie Everitt, National Wildlife Crime Unit
"The course was very informative and relevant - well run with enthusiastic volunteers."Michael Davis, Grampian Police
"Just wanted to thank you for an excellent day yesterday. I learned a lot and was also very impressed with the staff, who were both knowledgeable and professional, and I was impressed with the standards of hygiene.
Please pass on my thanks to all of your staff who helped out and the others who gave up their time for our benefit."Andy Carroll, Tayside Police
The British Deer Society undertakes to provide various events to advise and deliver coaching for members throughout the year and will offer to provide a similar day in March 2011.