Ignore the gunfire, visitors to Suffolk beauty spot told

VISITORS to a National Trust beauty spot in Suffolk are being told to ignore the sound of gunfire as trained marksmen shoot dozens of wild deer.

The animals have been causing havoc, damaging woods and farmland at Ickworth House, the historic stately home in the countryside south of Bury St Edmunds.

Ickworth, completed by the 1st Marquess of Bristol in the early 19th Century, is a popular attraction for visitors who enjoy the house and explore the tranquil network of woodland walks and footpaths that criss-cross the 1,800-acre estate.

But now signs have been put up warning them not to be startled by gunfire because experts are at work using rifles to shoot the deer.

Up to 400 muntjac and fallow deer at a time can roam over the estate causing widespread damage. Up to 80 will be shot in the cull.

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Shooting vantage points have been set up 10 feet above the ground in oak trees so that the .243 calibre bullets end up safely in the ground if they miss or pass through the animal.

Head forester at Ickworth, Dee Gathorne-Hardy, said: “The wild deer can cause enormous damage to trees so after careful monitoring we have decided to carry out a cull.

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“Deer cause damage to young trees and sensitive flora and culling is being carried out to reduce this damage to an acceptable level.

“Deer are not being lost from the woodland and numbers will be kept at sustainable levels.”

Mr Gathorne-Hardy said the cull would take place on and off until April next year.

A game dealer will sell the deer on as venison.

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