The Natural Stuff Collection

Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections

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01380 viewsA fallow buck (Dama dama) was hit as tried to cross a busy road. It is very big and heavy. I needed help to lift it into the boot of my car. Deer are very good to eat and are my favourite animals to find.

In my area of Dorset dozens of deer are killed each week, many are taken by scavenging animals, a few are taken by other people and there are always several left for me. I eat a lot of venison but as I do not eat meat every day the animals I find last a very long time. One small deer such as a roe may last several months.

It is legal to take deer that have been killed by accident on roads as long as one does not hit it, then take it as you could be prosecuted for poaching which is a crime. One really needs to ask the road owner to take it if one wants to be utterly within the law but there is no point. Many authorities are not aware of the many laws of the countryside.
02249 viewsWith help from passers by, I managed to get it into the boot.
03247 viewsRoe deer (Capriolus capriolus) are the most common deer to be killed on roads in Dorset. They are the most common deer in Britain at the moment and make excellent eating. The younger they are the better especially if a doe. They never have fat on them and the meat is firm and when fresh melts in ones mouth. The flesh can taste a bit gamey or livery but only if it has been hung or an old buck may taste strong. The back meat is best followed by the rump..
04243 viewsSika deer are very common in my area and they too are very good to eat. They are larger deer especially the stags. This one had just been killed by a large road vehicle. I never need to buy meat as I find so many animals killed on roads. I am spoiled for choice and I did not bother to take any of this animal for food but I used it for bait to photograph scavenging wild animals.
05244 viewsNot all dead animals are necessarily road kill. Some animals may have been killed by dogs or large cats (see big cats) and this roe was eaten by a large cat. Much meat was left and had I needed it I would have taken the parts untouched by the cats tongue.
06246 viewsA nice amount of roe meat taken from a road killed carcass. At times deer are cut up by traffic and the stomach may open up and contaminate large areas of flesh. I generally avoid these areas as the flesh will taste bitter and other people who work within the deer management trade insist on removing the rumen as soon as possible after shooting a deer. The only point I see in this is to make it lighter, not to prevent so called poisoning as they put it. This amount of mean, about ten pounds on weight will last me a long time.
06a250 viewsA roast is best with venison of top quality, such as a young female roe. A kid only eight weeks old is best. The meat melts in the mouth. Not too many kids get hit and are found by the morning fortunately but too many female deer are killed and the calves starve to death or if they are lucky will be taken by a predator.
06b235 viewsVenison, hare or fox is great in stir fry.
06c239 viewsThis is a curry made with buzzards and owls. I freeze any owls that I find and bring them out if I find another to add and then mix them.
06d249 viewsThis is a picture of me serving road kill to some of my friends.
07255 viewsRed legged partridge, boletus mushrooms, amethyst deceiver mushrooms, water cress, cauliflower fungus and wild crab apples are some of the delicious treats to be found in autumn. The flesh or partridge tastes like pheasant but is a little more delicate in taste and texture. It must not be over cooked. Baked slowly on a low heat in the oven in water covered with tin foil is good.
08245 viewsI found a dead rabbit on Brownsea Island. It looked fine and was killed by a vehicle or by a bird of prey that was disturbed from eating it. One should be very careful about eating dead animals that are away from roads as they could have been poisoned, shot illegally or attacked by dogs. Carnivores or birds of prey and badgers should be avoided if found in strange circumstances. The police can be called to any possible illegal poisonings. The animal can be looked at to see if there are any obvious marks such as bullet entry and exit holes, tooth marks made by other animals, or if there is carrion nearby then one should be very suspicious and one must collect the dead animal and the bait if possible, marking the exact place. A photo is best before collection and a grid reference obtained. Take the evidence to a police station. There is so much wildlife crime going on and not enough resources to tackle it. The public need to be aware.
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