New trophy hunting storm at Woburn Deer Park

A big money international tour operator is selling UK shooting holidays to hunters from overseas, it has been claimed.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 2:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:52 pm
Europe Hunts is charging up to 25,000 to shoot a stag considered to have world record antlers
Europe Hunts is charging up to 25,000 to shoot a stag considered to have world record antlers

An international tour operator has been castigated for offering trophy hunting holidays in the heart of the English countryside to hunters from overseas.

In a story published in the Daily Express, Europe Hunts was exposed for offering holidays at locations including Woburn Deer Park where hunters shoot animals including red deer stags bred for their spectacular antlers on an attached deer farm.

It is also claimed that Europe Hunts is charging up to £25,000 to shoot a stag considered to have world record antlers.

Europe Hunts is charging up to 25,000 to shoot a stag considered to have world record antlers

It follows on from Woburn Deer Park hitting the headlines last month when it was revealed that Danish travel company Limpopo and Diana tours was offering trophy hunting packages to shoot the stags there.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It is sickening to know that trophy hunting is taking place here in the heart of the UK and that Europe Hunts and Woburn are profiting from this vile activity.

“Killing animals and posing with the corpse of the victims is something that the vast majority of the British people will find abhorrent – we call upon Woburn Deer Park to stop this practice now.”

The pressure group Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting uncovered the trophy hunting operation.

A spokesman said: “This is a disgrace and should be investigated by Parliament.

“It is utterly wrong that international hunters are coming here to kill stags which have been bred for their magnificent antlers.

“This situation goes far and beyond culling of estate deer. It has become an industry with lucrative sums being paid for trophy stags.

“Woburn Deer Farm, which falls within the Woburn estate, should be asked to give evidence at a Parliamentary inquiry. This is becoming a big moral issue in the UK.”

In a slick, but sickening video on the Europe Hunts website, scenes of the English countryside are intercut with deer being shot in the neck and spurts of blood gushing out.

Europe Hunts was set up by Texan Aaron Bulkley, the man behind Texan Hunting Tours which offers up to 60 exotic animals for shooting. He is assisted by the Englishman Alex Hinkins who litters social media with photos of the animals he has shot.

Chris Luffingham, added: “We are a nation of animal lovers and people will be outraged that Woburn is breeding deer with giant antlers and then profiting from hunters coming in from overseas and shooting them for fun.

Staff at Woburn Estate, which is controlled by the Duke of Bedford, did not deny the shoots were taking place in response to earlier reports. They would only speak of the need for an “annual cull” necessary for the animals’ health and welfare.

The earlier comment stated: “The cull is overseen by trained professionals... It is based on continued census counts and aims to improve the age dynamics and diversity maintaining the population density at a level suitable to ensure the continued health and welfare of all the deer within the park.

“The culled animals are then sold as venison to local and national markets where it enters the food chain as a healthy and sustainable food product.”

“Our key aim is to maintain a healthy population and ensure each of the nine deer species is cared for to the highest possible standards.”

A spokesman for Woburn Deer Park declined to comment on the new reports, saying only: "We made a comment some weeks ago and have nothing further to add."

Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting has started a petition to try and get the hunting stopped.