Poaching is a real problem
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It is a shame your recent, somewhat one-sided article about poaching (“Poachers aren’t the problem”, Gazette, January 29) chose to portray it as some kind of harmless countryside pastime rather than the illegal, unregulated and potentially dangerous activity it actually is.
At the very least, poaching involves trespassing with a firearm on someone else’s property, not to mention criminal damage and theft if the poacher’s mission is successful.
Deer poaching causes considerable problems in North Devon and I would not like your readers to gain the impression that local farmers support the views of your anonymous correspondent, who claimed to be some kind of smallholder.
As far as we are concerned, poachers very much are the problem and the sooner the ‘traditional poaching practices’ praised in the article are finally consigned to the history books the better.
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Editor’s note: We had previously covered the other side of this story at length in recent months, but the point of this article was to tell the hidden side of poaching – one that is seldom heard.
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We don’t condone poaching of any kind, but perhaps if we talk to people who indulge in the activity it will help us understand why they choose to do so.
The point the poacher in our article was trying to make was that the main threats to the local deer population are ‘out-of-town rustlers’ and legally organised shooting syndicates.
This was clearly painted as opinion and I feel our article has opened a healthy debate on the issue.