NC Gamekeeping students and staff from Elmwood College were delighted to be invited to the Scottish Natural Heritage, Wild Deer Best Practice Event which was held at the Balmoral Castle Estate and co-sponsored by Cairngorm National Park Authority. The event was held over three days in October with one day reserved for Colleges.
The theme of the event was Developing Skills and Adding Value and the event programme content included lardering, rifle skills, deer population assessment and ballistics and bullet performance.
Practical rifle skills session, focussed on how to improve accuracy at normal range as well as collaborative exercise with multiple shooting opportunities, interspersed by teaching of shooting techniques.
Callum Ferguson and Jim Govan gave a demonstration on ballistics and bullet performance with key topics such as, down range accuracy and terminal ballistics, bullet design and factors influencing controlled expansion. The balance between penetration and tissue destruction, bullet design for target species, non-lead alternatives as well as ballistic gelatine and ballistic soap for visual confirmation.
There was a carcass inspection where students found out how the shooting, lardering and butchery processes affect the eating quality of venison. This was then followed by a butchery demonstration and then tasting the result to decide whether the meat was young/old, bruised/not bruised or over cooked.
The students completed assessments on deer population, cull planning, habitat impact and deer management development.
The Wild Deer Best Practice Event has given students the opportunity to interact and network with industry professionals, employers and other colleges.
NC Gamekeeping student, Anthony Herd said, “All the guys on the course agreed that it was a well-structured day with many activities, which has given us lots of valuable information that will be beneficial in the future for both employment and recreation.”
Callum Fergusson, Precision Rifle Services, Balmoral Castle Estate, said, “Elmwood’s Gamekeeping students are a credit to the College and will be an asset to our industry. They all looked very smart and were well-mannered and extremely enthusiastic about the event.”