Frequently Asked Questions
Do contact us if we have not answered all your questions
1. Why do we need to control deer numbers?
Truly wild habitats for wildlife no longer exists in the UK, as we use the countryside to produce food, crops, graze animals, grow trees for a wide range of leisure activities and of course the road systems to enable us to do so. This means that deer have to share the land with us and, as beautiful as they are, man and beast will not always make good bed fellows.
Increased deer populations can lead to the loss of woodland biodiversity, including the change of/decline of certain species of fauna and flora. Increased deer numbers can also be responsible for the damage to timber and arable crops – and other commercial activities.
Increased numbers can also lead to deer venturing further for food, as each deer requires up to 1.5 tonnes a year. They begin to enter the suburbs and this puts them and the public in extreme danger of traffic accidents. They are also not popular when found to be eating plants from domestic gardens.
2. What numbers are required to be culled?
20 percent is the considered guidelines, although deer vehicle collisions take care of 1 in every five deer killed. It is estimated that 350,000 deer are culled in the UK every year. Despite this number, the population is still increasing.
3. Why are we seeing an increase in our deer population?
Deer is abundant in our woodland, fields and even towns, more than at any time in the last 1,000 years. With a conservative estimate putting the figure at 1.5 million. However, 2 million is viewed as more realistic. Warmer winters are partly to blame, greater connectivity between green spaces and increased winter crops have all contributed to soaring deer numbers.
4. Is culling good for the deer?
Yes, is the answer. It is important to manage their numbers to ensure their welfare. Firstly, to ensure we allow them to live on the land and controlling numbers is the only way this will happen. Secondly, we need to ensure there is enough food and that they are not malnourished or suffer from starvation. To protect them from road traffic accidents and to ensure they don’t upset the farmer with damage to crops and trees and to protect against other creatures sharing their habitat from the results of over grazing.
5. What methods are used to reduce deer population sizes in England?
The effective way to reduce the population is to cull the mature female (collaboratively if herding species). This should be conducted from a ‘made for purpose’ elevated a-frame which is camouflaged. so that the deer cannot see or smell the stalker. This ensures the animal is not put under any stress before it expires.
The position needs to be elevated so that the ammunition used heads downwards towards the ground. A bullet can travel quite a distance and so the stalker must ensure that if the bullet does not make contact with the deer, it is stopped from traveling where it could injure or kill a by-stander or another animal.
6. I have seen an injured/dead deer by the roadside. Who should I contact?
In the first instance you should advise the Police, especially if the animal is causing an obstruction on the highway. You could also contact your local council or the Highways Agency.
7. How many deer related collisions are there in the UK?
The Deer Initiative (DI) reported that there are up to 75,000 deer-vehicle collisions in the UK each year, resulting in 400-700 human injuries and several fatalities to people. An estimated 14,000 vehicles will incur significant damage, imposing further costs up to £50M.
8. What is the worst time of the year for deer activity on the roads?
April to June is considered a high-risk time, as the animals are mobile looking for new territories. In terms of the times of day during this time it would be worse dawn and dusk when they are more active.
8. What should we look out for when it comes to deer on the road?
You need to be aware that if you see a deer cross the road, there may well be others behind them. This is because deer tend to travel in groups. Where it is possible, it is beneficial to use full beam when driving in the countryside (unless a vehicle is coming towards you), this is because the headlight beam tends to illuminate their eyes.
However, if you see a deer it is at the point that you should dim your lights. It is true of any animal, wild or domestic, that they will be startled by the sudden light and a deer is likely to freeze rather than getting out of your way and clearing the road.
It is wise not to over-swerve in order to miss the deer. Sadly, if a collision seems inevitable, it is best to have full control of the vehicle. The alternative could see you and your vehicle end up leaving the road which could be highly dangerous. (This is not the case for motorcyclists, as their best action is avoidance).
Try to come to a ‘stop’ as far away from the animal as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without too much panic.
9. What deer species live in the UK?
There is six species in the UK – Red and Roe Deer (native), Fallow Deer, sika, munjac and Chinese water deer.
10. What are the open seasons for deer management in England?
- Red stags – 1st Aug to 30th April
- Red hinds – 1st Nov to 31st March
- Sika stags – 1st Aug to 30th April
- Sika hinds – 1st Nov to 31st March
- Fallow bucks – 1st Aug to 30th April
- Fallow does – 1st Nov to 31st March
- Roe bucks – 1st April to 31st Oct
- Roe does – 1st Nov to 31st March
- Chinese water deer – 1st Nov to 31st March
- Muntjac – All year
If you have any other questions, which have not been answered here, do contact us.