Why Control Deer? Deer Management
Deer share their environment with many other animals, including man who uses the countryside to produce food crops, for grazing. Humans also build roads and railways through the deer’s environment, providing transport to towns and cities. Deer damage crops and grass from livestock fields costing farmers huge amounts in loss of crops and extra feed needed to keep livestock. Due to development deer have had to adapt to the areas left to them and to utilise areas such as gardens and crop fields, as the natural countryside gets developed. Deer also devastate new tree plantations by eating the tops of the sapling trees, deer even eat the bark from trees when they have overtaken their food source! If the deer numbers where not managed in such situations they could end up killing the woodlands they live in! Deer are also known carriers of TB.
The urban fox is well known, having featured in many television programmes, but what is less well known is that the Muntjac, our smallest deer, is almost as common in some urban areas.
In order to ensure the welfare of deer, protecting them from starvation due to overgrazing and from road traffic accidents, it is important that they are managed. It is equally important to protect other creatures sharing their habitat from the results of overgrazing, as well as to prevent the deer from causing unacceptable damage to crops and trees. Usually the management of deer means that they have to be ‘culled’ and it is important that the cull be carried out efficiently and humanely by people who understand exactly what they are doing. A series of certificated courses are provided by the British Deer Society for those concerned and educational material showing why management is important to the welfare and conservation of deer in the absence of a natural predator is also available.
Road traffic incidents involving deer are common where deer are present in large numbers, especially where their habitat is crossed by roads. In 2007 a survey showed that there over 70,000 incidents involving deer across the country.
There are six deer species living wild in Britain. Two species are native, Red and Roe deer. Fallow deer were introduced by the Romans, although a species known as the ‘Clacton Fallow’ recorded during the Ice Age. Sika, Muntjac and Chinese Water deer were all introduced around the 19th to 20th centuries, Some of the park deer escaped and now live wild.
Fallow and Red deer are the most common species to be kept in parks and are also farmed for their meat. Sika deer are also often seen in deer parks, but in smaller numbers than Fallow or Red deer.
Muntjac and Chinese Water deer are more secretive and hard to see in a deer park, therefore they are less common in deer parks. Roe bucks are commonly considered too dangerous to keep in parks, therefore Roe Deer are rarely seen in parks unless in a secure enclosure.
The usual species we are called to control are Roe and Muntjac, These are the most likely to come into domestic garden and cause damage to plants, shrubs, saplings and trees! Although we do control Fallow and Sika numbers for crop and tree protection!