Interestingly, a lot of supermarket venison is imported from NZ and sells at about £16 a kilo. UK stalkers and managers/cullers have reported that since this spring it is getting increasingly difficult to find buyers for venison, as game dealers are seeing a huge increase due to the current Scottish cull requirements.
All too often we tend to think only of red deer, but the UK has 6 species, Native Red, Sika, which also hybridise with reds, Fallow, a nomadic herding deer introduced by the Normans, and the most commonly farmed species, Roe, the most common and widespread species, Muntjac, again introduced and often considered to be invasive, and Chinese water deer.
They all differ in habit and habitat, with Sika being a virtually nocturnal species, but causing considerable damage to woodland and forest habitats, and Roe in almost plague proportions cause huge damage to new plantings…. So in direct conflict with a lot of estates now working on afforestation.
The pandemic meant a vast number of recreational stalkers weren’t able to visit their stalking land, but the professional managers/cullers are under pressure to continue to reduce numbers. The fall in venison prices is a bitter pill for them.
In Scotland you have to have deer management or game hygiene certification in order to sell direct, so again, many recreational stalkers will sell to friends or give to family.
Wild Venison is a fantastic,lean, healthy and ethical meat. It should be much cheaper than it is, but unfortunately the “Walt Disney effect” means many folk fight shy of it. If the demand increased in the shops, the supply would improve, but because of provenance issues supermarkets are wary. How it can be more ethical to import meat from NZ remai s a mystery.
I shoot for the freezer, and doubt I go into double figures in a year. My son however has several thousand acres of new plantations to control, and gives the majority of the venison away. If anyone in West Yorks wants to try venison, give me a shout.
As for lead. A rifle bullet expands on entry and the soft lead core can create a paste which will contaminate the meat several inches around the exit hole. I’ll trim at !east
six inches arou d the exit for that reason, so there’s a bit of meat lost from the breast, but otherwise I’m happy with the performance of lead ammunition. Scotland is heading for a lead ban, and I’m certain the rest of the UK will follow. There are promising developments being made around copper bullets.