Summary of a multiple Red deer wounding incident

at Bowbier Hill, near Bampton, Devon on 2nd February 2001

Location: Farm owned by Mr.T.A.H.Yandle of Riphay Barton, Dulverton, Somerset.

Persons involved: Initially Mr.Yandle and a Belgian stalker Mr.Baeten, aged about 25 years. Later witnesses included: Mr.T.E.H.Yandle (son of TAHY), Ms.Selinde Moolenburgh (Dutch visitor to the Yandles), two or more policemen summoned by TAHY, two further unnamed Belgians, friends of Mr.Baeten, Mr.Meyrick Griffith- Jones, organiser of the shooting party and Mr.M.C.Clark (friend of TAHY)

Police reference: Incident no.1066, 1800h, Tiverton Police station, PC Holwell.

The incident: At approximately 1630h on 2nd February 2001 Mr.Yandle was feeding stock on Bowbier Hill Farm and noticed a Red deer stag on the skyline in obvious difficulty. As he drove over to investigate a shot rang out and the stag fell down. A man (Mr.Baeten) emerged from the bushes carrying a high velocity rifle and was apprehended by Mr.Yandle. Three further deer were sitting up wounded within 100 yards of the stag; two, a mature hind and a calf got up and moved away when approached, the third, another calf, remained down. Mr.Yandle drove himself and the stalker to his farmhouse from where he summoned the police. He then returned to Bowbier Hill Lane with his son and Ms.Moolenburgh, met with the police and the other persons listed above. He then left the group taking his son, Mr.Clark and Ms. Moolenburgh back to the scene of the shooting to dispatch the wounded animals.

The stag and the hind had died and the two calves, still alive, were immediately dispatched with a humane killer at approximately 1830h, some 2 hours after they were first shot. A search of the farm in the dark revealed a further dead male calf some 300 yards away. All five carcasses were eviscerated, decapitated and removed to Riphay Farm. The carcasses were subsequently examined by Mr. Paul MacFarlane MRCVS, who has filed a separate report dated 6 February 2001.

Summary of post mortem findings:
Stag - two gun shot wounds (GSW): one to left lumbar region directed cranially (first non fatal shot); second, entered at 8th left intercostal space and exited 10th right i/c space (second fatal shot).
Hind - one GSW to caudal extremity of thorax not involving major blood vessels.
Male calf 1 - GSW to upper RH leg.
Male calf 2 - GSW to mid thorax, entry 4th left i/c space, exit 5th right i/c space (presumably a fatal shot).
Female calf - GSW to left flank.

With the exception of the GSW to the male calf 2, Mr. MacFarlane was of the opinion that none of the first shots to the other four deer could have been expected to be fatal. These findings are in agreement with Mr.Yandle's observations that four of the deer appeared to have been wounded by shots aimed at the presenting rear end of the deer, which the stalker must have known could only wound.

Footnote: This summary is based on a detailed written account of the above incident by Mr.Yandle, dated 4 February 2001. No further police action followed the trespass on Mr.Yandle's farm and Mr Yandle is not aware of any action having been taken by the British Deer Society following his report to them. Mr.Yandle has two letters of apology from Mr.Griffith-Jones dated 5 February and 14 March. It may also be noted that the stalker, Mr.Baeten was in possession of a stalking licence from the Belgian State Hunting Authority, which can only be obtained after passing a rigorous test.

Dr.L.H.Thomas, 8th June 2002