Deer cull raises fears over walkers’ safety

Muntjac deer. PNL-140304-161059001
Muntjac deer. PNL-140304-161059001

Fears for public safety have been raised after a deer cull took place in a popular wood.

Dog walker John Haynes was in Chicksands Wood near Haynes this week when he heard the sound of gunshot.

He said: “I was furious because he could have shot one of my dogs. He said he had got permission from the Forestry Commission.”

John fears a tragic accident could take place as there are no signs up to warn people the cull is taking place.

He added: “I think it’s extremely dangerous for people walking there with children or dogs while there’s people in there like John Wayne shooting shotguns. I think it’s appalling.”

There were also claims that offal from culled muntjac deer had been left in the forest, and had caused another dog to become ill.

A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said:“Deer management at Chicksands Wood is carried out to very strict safety standards under licence from the Forestry Commission. Safety is always the first priority.

“Due to the footpath being the only public access in this woodland, the Forestry Commission does not require the licensee to erect signs when managing deer in the wider woodland. Gralloch (offal as a result of the deer management) is not left near to public access points or rights of way.”

The Forestry Commission’s Wildlife Manager responsible for the wood has been in contact with the visitor whose dog was taken ill and has offered his sympathies. There were no tests carried out to ascertain the cause of the dog’s illness.