Ex-detective inspector, from Sheringham, turns deer hunter
PUBLISHED: 15:36 13 January 2015 | UPDATED: 15:36 13 January 2015
After 30 years of chasing criminals, former police officer David Ward has turned his attention to hunting a different sort of prey.
■ An estimated two million wild deer roam the UK. Although some 350,000 are culled each year, numbers are increasing, partly because they have no natural predators in this country.
■ Deer are responsible for causing about 74,000 road accidents each year - resulting in up to 20 deaths and 700 injuries.
There are six species of deer in Britain: red, roe, fallow, sika, muntjac, and Chinese water deer. Sika are not yet found in Norfolk.
■ Deer can damage farm crops, and kill trees and shrubs. And they can carry infectious diseases, such as foot and mouth, and TB.
A north Norfolk farmer who did not want to be identified, fearing poachers, said a herd of up to 70 red deer roamed his land. They ate crops, lay down in crops, nipped the tops out of trees and rubbed their antlers on trees, damaging the bark.
The retired detective inspector now spends his days stalking and killing wild deer, which he sells to pubs and restaurants.
And, with a 400pc increase in demand for venison, Mr Ward, 54, is looking for more land to stalk, so that he can expand his Norfolk Deer Management business and offer a job to someone else.
“I could sell three times as much as I do,” said Mr Ward, of Sheringham, who supplies venison to outlets in Aylsham, Horstead and Blickling.
“The stumbling block is that there isn’t enough land to shoot on.
Norfolk-born, Mr Ward has enjoyed stalking and shooting since he was a boy and, once he left the police force, set about finding out the relevant laws, and what qualifications and permissions he would need to set up in business.
And so, while office workers are staring at a computer screen in their heated offices, Mr Ward, who has trained hunter status, is likely to be perched silently, on a 15ft-high chair, in the countryside waiting for deer to appear, having carried out a thorough reconnaissance of the area.
He kills up to 100 animals a year, charging landowners nothing, but taking the carcasses home with him.
And, as a registered food business, he is allowed to prepare the meat in an outbuilding at his Holway Road home, and then sell it.
He said: “I love getting out there in all weathers.”
“I see it very much as a local business. Every deer I kill goes into the local food chain and helps local landowners. The meat makes money for local businesses, and they create jobs for local people.”
■ Visit www.norfolkdeermanagement.co.uk