Protect the Wild vehemently opposes hunting deer with dogs, an illegal activity that is inhumane and unjustified.

Deer Hunting is a cruel (and now illegal) pastime dating back to the late nineteenth century where packs of staghounds hunted what was known as “carted deer”.

These were Red Deer kept in captivity for the sole purpose of being hunted and then recaptured alive.

Since the passing of the Hunting Act 2004 deer hunting has been illegal. However there are still three hunts registered with the Masters of Deerhounds Associations that continue to chase and kill deer in Somerset and Devon:

Getting away with it

Stag hunts do not ‘trail hunt’ but use exemptions and loopholes in the 2004 Hunting Act instead – especially the so-called ‘Observation and Research’ exemption which allows hunting with two dogs ‘… for the purpose of or in connection with the observation or study of the wild mammal.

This exemption places no obligation on the hunters to explain why they wish to ‘observe or study’ the wild mammal, nor why they have to hunt it in order to do so.

No ‘research’ from the hundreds of hunts that have taken place has ever been submitted to a scientific body or reviewed.

We are calling for a proper ban on hunting - with no loopholes and no exemptions - through the Hunting of Mammals Bill

Deer hunts and the cruelty involved

A ground-breaking scientific study published in 1997 by Cambridge University animal behaviour expert Professor Patrick Bateson found that deer hunts can no longer claim their sport isn’t cruel.

“It’s clear these [hunted] animals are completely depleted of resources – they are desperately affect by long chases. From the point of view of physiology, the results are absolutely unambiguous.”

The report says of the deer which escape the hounds, about half suffer severe stress, take days to recover, and would probably be left more vulnerable to infection and disease.

Recent Articles

DEER HUNTING: Has the British Deer Society landed a death blow?

Quietly, and without any fanfare, the British Deer Society (BDS), a charity ‘dedicated to building a strong future for wild deer in the UK’, has published a Position Statement on Hunting Deer with Hounds.”

And it is damning…

The Secret Monitor

Inside deer hunting

In 2023 we began an occasional series by anonymous activists. Many of them have focussed on the depravity of deer hunting in the west country.

“It may come as a surprise to many that even among hunting people, hind hunting is considered to be cruel. It appears that these people will overlook the hours of pursuit of a stag across gruelling terrain where he is chased to the point of collapse, with hounds snapping and barking at him, surrounded by hunt supporters gleefully whooping and celebrating his death…”

The accounts of The Secret Monitor are sometimes harrowing, but they expose the dark truth about stag and hind hunting.

What does the law say?

Deer are protected by the Deer Act 1991 which criminalises various activities including poaching deer and the use of certain ammunition in hunting deer and the Hunting Act 2004 which bans hunting of mammals with dogs.

Adopt a deer

If you share our commitment to exposing and ending stag hunting, consider supporting our efforts by adopting a deer with us. It’s an impactful way to contribute to our work and help us continue to shed light on this critical issue.