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We are grateful to Don Tait who has supplied us with a synopsis of the law relating to deer shooting in Essex. The full details of the two acts are available online.

The Deer Act 1991 ........ Regulatory Reform (Deer) (England and Wales) Order 2007

The laws differ somewhat in different parts of the UK. For instance you can, legally and with the landowners permission, stalk and kill Fallow bucks between the 1st August and the 30th April in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland and for Fallow does the season is between 1st November and 30th April but this only applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland as the season for does is different in Scotland, there it is between 21st October and 15th February. The killing of Muntjac Deer (there are some in the Manor) is not governed by a close season and they can be shot at any time of the year. But to do this, as with all the other deer one has to firstly hold a firearms certificate and secondly comply with all its conditions.

The killing of deer is primarily governed by the Deer Act 1991 which has been amended by the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Deer) (England and Wales) Order 2007. In this the law is laid out. For instance, Section (s) 1 of the Act makes it an offence to enter any land without the consent of the owner or occupier or other lawful authority in search or pursuit of any deer with the intention of taking, killing or injuring it. Therefore to do so within the Manor NR boundaries will always be illegal as the local authority (who own the reserve) have not, to date (Feb 2013) given their permission for anyone to shoot the deer within the Nature Reserve. It is of course within their powers to authorise a cull of deer within the park, obviously this would need to be publicised widely and then it would need to be carried out by authorised, fully licensed marksmen working on behalf of the council.

If anyone is caught breaking the terms of the Deer Act 1991 and they are successfully prosecuted they will face a fine or imprisonment (depending on the levity of the case) following conviction they will have a criminal record which could go against them when seeking employment or even going abroad for a holiday. They could also have their firearms license revoked and may not get it back again. The court could also make forfeiture orders under section 13. of the Act against those convicted whereby any vehicle, animal, weapon or other things which were used to commit the offence would be seized.