Chris Rogers reflects on a busy 2021 with regards to measuring heads, and looks ahead to a potentially troubled future for the sport...

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I’m writing this in the middle of January 2022, looking back on last year. It was a busy year for me, measuring some 170 heads. The CIC team will be collating the facts and figures from 2021 and I’ll hopefully bring you some totals in the next issue. If my measuring figures are anything to go by, it will have been yet another bumper year for the CIC UK Trophy Evaluation Board, further cementing it as the premier head-measuring service in the UK.

As I’ve said in the past, it’s as much about collecting data on deer as slapping hunters on the back for shooting a big buck. Head or trophy measuring, whatever you want to call it, is a good tool for recording your deer population by giving you a set of figures you can look back on over the years to see if your management is having a positive or negative effect. Of course, we are only recording the males, but along with your detailed cull figures and carcass weights it will help you see what is happening to the deer population. Bear in mind that healthy females breeding with the best males in terms of antler quality should result in better heads year-on-year if all other factors, such as weather and feeding, stay roughly the same.

Five of the six species are featured in this month’s review, with M Stobbs’s Dorset sika topping the bunch, making gold at 272.1 cic. M Stobbs also had a pretty roe buck score silver at 120.55 cic from Essex. Also from the same county were A Radcliffe’s two roe, both scoring bronze with an almost identical 108.4 cic and 108.23 cic, although the large missing part from one of the buck’s skulls would have affected the weight element of the score.

Two fallow, also taken in Essex, were shot by A lake and made bronze and silver at 161.43 cic and 170.2 cic. A number of Chinese water deer tusks were measured, with the largest being S Marsh’s Norfolk buck at 238 cic, and the remainder were muntjac taken in various counties, the largest being ‘A Nother’s’ Gloucestershire buck, which scored gold at 70.4 cic. 

Finally, another two heads of interest are two male golden jackals taken in Hungary by G Bowman and J Smith, making 27.85 cic (gold) and 25.1 cic (bronze) respectively. It’s worth remembering that we evaluate heads from all over the world, horned, antlered, tusked or as skulls in the case of canine species, so if you have a head from a hunting trip or plan to get one in the future do contact us to see if it can be evaluated.

On the subject of hunting trophies coming back from abroad, the threat of a ban for all or certain species continues to rumble on in the background, in between the descriptions of various Downing Street shindigs that have leaked out every few days since Christmas. The CIC UK delegation continues to discuss the situation with various interested parties, and along with other organisations we are helping to formulate responses and counter arguments to the government’s blinkered view of hunting around the world. 

Another open letter with 102 respected science and conservation-based signatories has been sent to the government, outlining that the proposed bill will do nothing but harm to the world’s sustainable hunting species. With supporters of the ban, backed by the usual suspects, creating more noise than us, the threat continues to be real. All any of us can do is keep plugging away to our MPs, family and friends with our solid, fact-based arguments in the hope that common sense will eventually prevail over those with their ‘who can shout loudest’ anti-hunting campaigns.

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