photo Richard Austin
Wildlife photographer Richard Austin got his photographs of this giant stag deer into the British newspapers last week showing the true magnificence of what was, until a few days ago, Britain’s largest wild animal, known on Exmoor at the Emperor.
The Emperor was nine feet tall and weighed around 300 pounds and, as far as female deer were concerned, he was Mr Right. So he was planning to get busy this week as we are now in deer rutting season but his efforts and his life has been cut short by a human being with a gun looking for a trophy.
The Emperor was shot dead even though his location had been kept secret by the newspapers that had been celebrating his life.
I know human beings enjoy hunting and, as they are not very fast on their legs, no good at killing with their mouths and, let’s face it, are mostly lardy morons who can’t even touch their toes, it is understandable then that they should get a thrill creeping up to within a few hundred yards of a wild animal with a big gun with a powerful viewing lens and shooting at it from long distance. Well, what else can they do to fulfill their perceived hunting instincts? I know, you don’t need to tell me. they can sit on a horse and watch dogs hunting or they can release other dogs and watch them chasing hares or digging down holes to catch badgers. If that seems a bit too energetic, then they can just use their guns and let the bullet take the strain.
No wonder human beings enjoy sitting on their asses and watching television such a lot – they are the world’s greatest voyeurs. Oh yes, sorry, walking around in the country with a gun is good exercise, just like golf, yeah, right.
Now, I don’t want to get all sentimental about wild animals – especially deer. There are a lot of them in Britain. More than is right in any ecologically balanced natural environment even though they are genuinely wonderful to look at and great to have in a country which is growing less and less natural with each new century. They would devastate the nation’s plant life if they were left alone just to rut, multiply and eat their way through our countryside.
So the nation celebrates some of its last remaining wild animals but wants to keep them under control in an environment where it has lost all its natural predators. Britain, in case you hadn’t noticed, has mostly become a landmass of housing estates separated by large privately-owned rural estates. The latter places, are much nicer and posher than the former and ideal for well-heeled guys with guns to waddle around looking for something to shoot.
I am prejudiced here of course, but the problem really stems from the senseless way that Britain has exterminated its large hunting mammals. Our open spaces are now no longer the habitat of beers and wolves and, as a result, the natural balance has been destroyed.
Britons need to have a few more guts and dare themselves to reintroduce us wolves into the mix – we would sort things out in no time and, what’s more, give you guys a few lessons on what you should be afraid of on nights like last night when the moon was full. A pack of us would soon see off all those fat men with guns and the rest of you would be better off without them.