Deer on the move: relocation of stock between game parks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries


en Anthropozoologica 16 - Pages 167-180

Published on 01 October 1992

From the period c. 1500-1688 in Scotland and England there exists a considerable body of evidence to show that deer (red and fallow) were regularly removed from one habitat and released into another (the latter invariably a game park), normally for the chase but occasionally with the more long-term intention of improving the general quality of local stock. Some of these movements, which might involve several hundred beasts, were made over distances of 200 km or more, and by the first half of the seventeenth century were supplemented by imports from the Continental mainland and from Ireland. Much of the evidence on which these assertions are based is provided by bills, warrants and letters circulating in the households of the Scottish and English courts, from which some details of the procedures involved may also be inferred. Following severe depredations in the royal parks during the Civil War, Charles II took steps to compensate for these losses by further movements of deer, but neither he nor his successors inherited the passion for hunting that had caused earlier monarchs to bring about these large-scale displacements and the practice thereafter was much reduced.

Keywords :

Deer, Hunting, Transport, XVI-XVIIth centuries.

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