Deer and People: Past, Present and Future
Dama International's opening conference was held at the University of Lincoln, 8 - 11 September 2011. Many thanks to colleagues at Riseholme Campus for supporting this inaugural event
Deer have been central to human cultures throughout time and space: whether as staples to hunter-gatherers, icons of Empire, or the focus of sport. Their social importance has seen some species transported across continents whilst others have been extirpated, or are in threat of extinction, due to pressures of over-hunting and/or human-instigated environmental change. Today deer represent a challenge in terms of management and conservation, with legislation struggling to meet the needs of all interest groups.
By bringing together individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, countries and disciplines, this major international conference, run in collaboration with the British Deer Society, sought to promote knowledge transfer between different groups and so advance broader understanding of human-deer relationships. Emphasis was placed on comparison between the ancient and modern, the premise being that neither situation can be fully understood without input from the other, and that past practice has the potential to inform modern policy.
To this end, the geographic and chronological remit of the conference was all-encompassing with a variety of sessions, papers and posters examining how the history of humans and deer has been mutually shaped.
The conference was attended by a diverse audience of deer stalkers, deer farmers, professionals, legislators, academics and members of the public. Approximately 100 delegates from more than 10 countries attended the conference which comprised 9 thematic sessions including a plenary in honour of Norma Chapman.
The Proceedings of the conference are being published by Windgather Press. A copy of the conference handbook can be downloaded here:Deer and People conference handbook.pdf