Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fallow Deer Guilty of nighthawking?

Hi all after watching BBCs Inside Out programme concerning night -hawking (Illicit trespass and metal detecting on sites without permission) I thought it could have been handled in a far more professional manner....I placed a comment on Joe Crowleys blog and Emailed him personally with the below :-

Very interesting report, I guess after the Staffs Hoard and the Scottish torque finds the hobby has attracted much positive attention, and then as always someone examines the tiny negative night-hawking minority. Abit old hat but none-theless always ripe for over sensationalism. They are so insignificant they should be given no time or attention. I have been detecting for over three decades have over 150 sites and have never encountered a problem with illicit activity on any of them. Night hawks are a real pain but can hardly be accused of robbing the nations heritage. Since the land owners are negligent of the objects presence on their land (as is the Nation) the aforementioned object would in all chances have never been discovered unless by a metal detectorist whether he or she be an illegal or law-abiding one.

If the nation is not aware of the existence of an object then it can hardly be robbed of it...surely or certainly not feel its loss. If anything this alleged "robbing" could be halted by the modification of such antiquated and ignorant attitudes of persons such as English Heritage. They could easily team up with responsible detectorists to search protected sites (I have offered this service for free many times)for several seasons removing the vast majority of coins and artefacts...but choose not to. Preferring to waste vaste amounts of tax payers money on producing highly detailed reports on Night Hawking" to which they have the very authority and opportunity to stop. But its not just night hawking they and other critics are against its the entire hobby of Metal Detecting as a whole no matter how delicately butter in the mouth they present the facts. Im sure any night hawker would not bother with illegally plundering a site that had been well searched for years....pretty obvious that isnt it?...The threat of night-hawking is negligible, as I say Ive been detecting for over 30 years and found the odd nice thing but largely have pockets full of junk....so surely it cant be any different for the night hawks. Sensationalism gives coverage to those who dont deserve it and hurts those who are legitimate...does the maker of this programme really feel it will enhance the ease with which us legitimate detectorists will obtain future sites to search?. I feel that this once proud country has far more pressing urgencies to deal in these modern times with than a bunch of idiots that traipse around at night finding the odd coin. Looks like the legal system thinks this too as two so called night hawks caught, were found not guilty recently...common sense from a Judge who has far more serious issues to deal with. The general public that doesnt have any knowledge of metal detecting and its methods and fantastic contributions to academic knowledge as a rule could easily be swayed by such sensationalism, which is unfair.

Thank God such sensationalism wasnt prevalent in 1939 as we would have been discussing the importance of Liquorice Allsorts coloration whilst the Panzer armies massed in Calais....Basically as said the night hawking threat is so negligible as to be pathetic, its only enlarged and given coverage by programmes such as this which of course are readily seized upon as fact by our critics who cannot find anything else to attack us with now their old and tedious arguments, that are accepted even by the academic archaeological community as being tired and incorrect. I suspect that all may not appear as it seemed. For example the fact that these night hawks clotted up into one bunch looked dodgy or was that simply to suit the field of view of the optics being used for filming. One wonders at after so many nights of no-results... just how the convenient "Tip off" that the field would be visited that night was obtained, perhaps it was just dumb old night hawks shopping themselves to a BBC filmcrew for publicity..of course it was ....the attitude of the guy who was caught did seem true to life though, allbeit I would sack the so called security called for as they seemed a tad wimpy here....the aggressive behaviour is of course explained by someone committing an offence and then being caught with a spotlight in their face...a reaction that could be guaranteed for good dramatics when the light source was not dimmed or turned off...same reaction you might get doing same outside any pub on a weekend night. I dont think this was probably stage managed for effect, but hey any old news will do eh?

The innaccuracies of the lady from English Heritage made one question her employment status as a warden for example if she thinks night hawks go round with bloody torches this seems a tad unbelievable if they want to sink into the darkness to commit their crimes. Also I would end this blog comment with a note of some humour. whilst they were discussing the soil disturbance evidence left behind by the nighthawkers could the producers please explain to me WHY WE VIEWERS WERE TREATED TO A SHOT SHOWING THE CLEAR TRACKS IN NEAT ROWS OF A FALLOW DEER ACROSS THE NEWLY SEEDED FIELD. Talk about desperate, if they had left so many holes how difficult for the production crew would it have been to find a real night hawk manufactured one. Perhaps some of the production crew were bored with the subject matter had accidentally slipped into wild life film mode, or surely not, it couldnt be that the majestic Fallow Deer itself is being accused of traipsing across the fields at night...coz hey guess what as a wildlife photographer and naturalist let me solve this issue now.....THEY DO!!!! Or perhaps they were indeed holes made by the night hawks and this ancient site was subjected to coin and artefact loss that occurs in precise neat rows...give us a break if you are making a documentary above all be accurate as there are always people out in the real world that spot the errors which just lend credence to desperate over dramatics and the need to sensationalise......Jo if you would like to do a documentary section on responsible metal detecting my group would love to take you out for day......not sensational I know but I could guarantee you a Roman coin or two which you may even enjoy finding....but as I live in a heavily wooded area I could not guarantee the site to be free from Fallow Deer prints which may confuse you.......give us strength.....

The Complete Guide to Beach and Water Detecting

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