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3.—(1) Section 6 of the 1991 Act (general exceptions to certain provisions of this Act) is amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (2), insert—
“(2A) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under section 2 or section 3 above by reason of taking or killing a deer that he reasonably believes—
(a)has been deprived in any way (other than by an unlawful taking or killing by that person) of a female deer on which it was dependent; or
(b)is about to be deprived, by death from disease or a lawful taking or killing, of a female deer on which it is dependent.”.
(3) For subsection (4), substitute—
“(4) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under section 4(1) or (2) above by reason of the use of any reasonable means for the purpose of killing any deer if he reasonably believes that the deer has been so seriously injured, otherwise than by his unlawful act, or is in such condition, that to kill it is an act of mercy.”.
(4) After subsection (4), insert—
“(4A) In subsection (4) above, “any reasonable means” means any method of killing a deer that can reasonably be expected to result in rapid loss of consciousness and death and which is appropriate in all the circumstances (including in particular what the deer is doing, its size, its distance from the closest position safely attainable by the person attempting to kill the deer and its position in relation to vegetative cover).”.
(5) At the end, insert—
“(6) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under section 4(2)(a) above if he uses for the purpose of taking or killing or injuring any Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) or muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi)—
(a)a rifle having a calibre of not less than .220 inches and a muzzle energy of not less than 1,356 joules (1000 foot pounds), and
(b)a soft-nosed or hollow-nosed bullet weighing not less than 3.24 grammes (50 grains).”.
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