How many types of deer are there in Britain?
There are six species of deer in Britain. These are the Red deer, Fallow deer, Roe deer, Chinese Water deer, Sika deer and the Muntjac deer but only the Red and Roe deer are native to this country.
See the British Deer Society website for more detailed information.
Why are the numbers of deer managed?
It is necessary to cull deer to keep their numbers to a manageable number and reduce their environmental impacts.
Large numbers of deer can result in overgrazing which can lead to the decrease in regeneration or potential natural diversity of woodland and its vegetation, which has an effect on the wildlife that rely on this habitat to live.
Deer can also cause damage to the trees and crops that can have financial implications to farmers.
It is important that the culls are carried out humanely and efficiently so as to cause no undue suffering.
How are deer protected?
Under the Deer Act 1991, it is illegal to intentionally kill all species of deer, except Muntjac and Chinese Water deer, in close season.
See the Defra website for information on close seasons for each of the protected species of deer.
However, under a schedule of this act it is permitted for an authorised person to kill a deer in close season if it is causing damage. Also under the Deer Act it is an offence to kill or take a deer at night.
I have found an injured deer, what do I do?
If you find an injured deer on the road you should contact the Police Wildlife Liaison Officer at the local police station who will deal with the situation.
How do I stop deer damage in my garden?
Physical barriers such as mesh fences can be put up to prevent deer getting into your garden. Fences must be at least 1.8m high and with a mesh size sufficiently small to stop them jumping through. The netting should be lapped 150mm on the ground and pegged or turfed to prevent deer pushing under.
Alternatively, tree guards can be used to protect young trees against deer and there are some substances sold as deterrents to browsing deer which could provide temporary protection to your garden plants. However, they do need to be renewed regularly.
For further advice on deer management contact The British Deer Society on 01425 655434 or see the Forestry Commission website.