We have been managing deer as part of our woodland management service for a number of years now, in the lowlands area the deer we usually encounter are Roe Deer. Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) have been present in the UK since the last ice age, one of only two truly native species of deer in the UK. They are browsers and will eat a wide variety of plants browsing on tender shoots and leaves rather than just grazing at ground level. They are small, long legged and elegant creatures capable of jumping fences and hedges with ease, although adults rarely weigh more than 30Kg, the weight of a large dog.
Deer can cause extensive damage to trees and shrubs, especially during the late winter and early spring when other food sources can be scarce. Browsing of young trees can cause severe damage in forestry plantations, potentially ruining valuable future stocks. Once trees have grown up beyond Browsing height (about 1.5m when stood on hind legs) their chances of growing unmolested are much higher. Some damage can be caused by fraying when bucks use young trees to strip the velvet from their newly formed antlers, this can result in the bark being stripped off and cause severe damage to the tree. Damage will usually be restricted to just one or two trees so in a forestry situation this can be accepted. In an orchard or garden however fraying can still be a problem.
The only ways to control deer are either by preventing them from accessing the area in question or by shooting (culling). In some situations fencing is the best way to go, it is a relatively permanent solution and a fence will easily last long enough to allow the trees to grow beyond browsing height. For smaller plantations, shelter belts or hedging fencing may not be appropriate, in these circumstances we will cull the deer by shooting. Our Trained Hunters are expert marksmen and will carry out a full site survey of your land assessing risks and hazards prior to preparing a method statement for the cull. We will assess deer numbers to find a suitable cull target ensuring that a sustainable population will be left.
It is possible for land owners to earn money from their deer cull, if you have sufficient numbers of deer we can set up a stalking lease paying an annual rent to the land owner. We will then advertise the opportunity and cary out background and competency checks on potential stalkers who will pay for the stalking opportunity. This is a great way to control your deer numbers while making a return on the stalking.