FIFTY red deer hinds and a rather pushy stag crowding round you in their field was rather intimidating to me, but not John. He nonchalantly walked from one of their troughs to the next, tipping out a sack of feed while the deer pushed and jostled around him.

The mature stag here, an import from East Europe, has had his antlers removed so that he is safe to handle and approach. As an older stag, there is a better guarantee of covering all of these young hinds.

Young, immature stags take time to prove effective mates. Nevertheless, even without his antlers, our friends advised caution when feeding him.

The deer are the pet project of the sons of friends whose farm we were visiting.

John had been invited to shoot but we were also asked to stay over so that we could attend a young farmers ball. Even though in comparison we are very old farmers.

And what a change in appearance and manner when the young farmers arrived at the venue. Friends and family who we had been on the shoot with and last seen, like on most shoots, clad in varying shades of green or brown, were now turned out worthy of a red carpet ceremony.

The female young farmers had forsook overalls, jeans, jodhpurs, boiler suits and wellingtons for staggeringly high heels and dresses. “It’s all changed a bit from my day,” John gulped.

Dancing too has taken a different route. I recollected young farmers hanging round the bar until the last dance . Then they would stir themselves to invite a young farmerette to smooch with them before probably disappearing with her into a conveniently parked Land Rover.

Now all the young farmers danced together in packs with their drinks in hand to prevent apparently, the possibility of them being spiked. Pretty soon the dance floor was awash with spilt beer, wine and cocktails, as energetic dancing and a pint of lager do not mix very well.

Plus, I also spotted that a keen-eyed bouncer who was looking out for any possible bad behaviour, of which I saw none, carried a mop in his hand.

Back at the farm the next morning, our two head bangers, who I believed had moved on after the ball to a local nightclub, still managed to be up early to check round their sheep, deer and pheasants. They still do it seems make young farmers the way they used to. They just play differently now.