Hunters are exploiting a legal loophole to satisfy their bloodlust, and hunt and kill deer.

The Hunting Act 2004 has a list of exemptions, which under certain circumstances, does allow hunting with dogs. One of these, ‘carrying out research and observation’, is being regularly used by deer hunts (also known as stag hunts) to justify their activities. This conveniently allows hunters the perfect defence of “reasonably believing their hunting is exempt”.

Yet, there is nothing reasonable about it at all.

Shockingly, this loophole in the Act is allowing hunters in England to behave with increasing impunity, believing they will be safe from any prosecution – even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

This technicality has been used far too many times by hunts to avoid prosecution, and we believe it means more and more deer are being hunted illegally.

Together we must act now to close the loophole and hold the hunters to account.


The sheer brutality of deer hunting is truly shocking. Deer are simply not equipped for endurance running, but a stag can be pursued for several hours. If he tires too early, he can be whipped to try and force him to keep running and prolong the chase and the “sport”.

As the frightened stag slows, needing more and more rest, the hounds, with their far better stamina, are able to relentlessly pursue him to a standstill.

Eventually, unable to run any more, the stag will seek refuge in water to try and cool down where he will attempt to face the hounds one final time.

It is barbaric. And we must do all we can to expose the sickening truth of what is really going on.

Group of deer in the woods

Can you help? A gift from you could help us to do so much.

  • £10 could help our investigators carry out more operations to uncover illegal trespassing and evidence of illegal hunting.
  • £20 could help our sanctuaries team better protect and keep deer safe on our land.
  • £50 could help us lobby even more strongly to remove the loophole from the Hunting Act 2004 that allows hunters to get away with murder.

So, please make a donation today and help deer get the protection the law says they should.