Sunday, 10 March 2013

Deer cull: My Thoughts

"New research shows that only by killing 50% to 60% of deer can their numbers be kept under resonalbe controll"

Guardian Website

Now i'm not advocating the needless killing of animals (like a certain badger cull happening but thats another story) but there are some points that make a deer cull feasible.

Deer numbers are estimated to be about 1.5 million way higher then is naturally should be and with 6 species, 4 of which are introduced the room for them is running out!

Now allot of people are saying bring back predators like wolves, bears and lynx which quite frankly is a awful idea! it would only workin places with fewer people like the Cairngorms and eveb then the predators would eat other prey like Cappercallie, Grouse and Hare which would put the as odds with gamekeepers and birders.

Allot of people are asking why they need to be culled well theirs a few reasons

  • They eat tree shoots preventing the next generation of woodland from growing, the isle of wight is a example where no deer exist and the small mammals flourish there.
  • Road accidents, deer like the salt on roads from gritters and come to lick them you can imagine the damage to both car and deer!
  • Eating farmers crops causes economic damage to the lively hoods of many people.

the best solutions in my opinion is a controlled cull conducted by experienced shooters (sounds bad but a bullet is a quick death rather then poison or snares) and then sell the meat to local butchers/restaurants so you can have fresh free range meat at a affordable price, certainly better then a tesco horse burger!

Anyway these are my thought so feel free to tell me yours!


  1. Scotland needs wolves in order to regenerate the land closer to a natural wild state where the ecological balance sustains all species, wolves radically improve the landscape biodiversity as much as beavers do, something we are not capable of instigating ourselves much the same as if we lose bees we know the landscape would not function. Scotland has a huge deer problem and the ecological benefits are sound and proven from many other introductions elsewhere. Although as you mention this would not work for the rest of Britain (a big flaw at first glance in controlling deer numbers outside Scotland)it must also be said that Scotland holds the majority of most intact wild places and so would be the most beneficial place to protect and restore. If wolves were introduced into scotland forests would begin to regenerate naturally, ground flora would grow in balance once more after years of absence, insect biomass would increase, ground nesting birds would beneifit, small mammals would flourish and the list goes on. The figures quoted, upwards of 50% is wishful thinking in England due to the task in hand. Much like culling grey squirrels, deer exist in protected areas and any cull would have to cover all land and be vast to be effective, which poses its own issues. Typically what happens at the moment is deer are culled in one area only for other deer from neighbouring large uncontrolled populations simply to move in again. I suspect in order to solve the issue some plan amounting to an entire army of gun men having to work across England every few years with the soul purpose of reducing deer to a sustainable level. Its a big ask! Your points are good. Thanks for sharing. The call for the reintroduction of wolf as a result of the recent deer publicity is more about using that publicity to enforce the need for reintroduction generally rather than a knee-jerk reaction to it I feel.

    1. sorry for the slow reply i really need to blog more! you make some very vaild points and having been to places like the cairngorms scotland is certainly the last wild place left in the UK.

      i do see the benifits its just the practicality of it, is there research how much of there diet is deer i can't help but think that if a wolf sees a plump slow cappercallie or a heard of deer its going for the easy option!

      in any case like you mentioned this doesn't solve englands or wales deer problems i don't have the answers but will be interesting to see what happens in the next year or so.

    2. Yes it will be interesting to see what happens on this issue in the ongoing future. I would say, to my knowledge, I wouldn't expect there to be any conflict between cappercallie and wolves. They will have of course co-existed together in this country naturally prior to wolves going extinct in the uk for a very very long time. Cappercallie also find safety in trees so they are not sitting ducks. I understand your concern given how vulnerable their numbers are in Britain. Did you know that deer fences are linked with cappercallie fatalities due to them colliding with the fences in flight, much the same as sparrow hawks hitting the patio window, because the fences are poorly visible in flight. I believe conservationists have been working on ways of minimising fatalities by improving fence visibility but it remains a factor against the cappercallies favour. So potentially if wolves managed deer populations the fences could be taken down and this would have a positive impact on cappercallie numbers.

  2. I was going to say the same thing! bring back to wolves in Scotland and have a small cull in England to get there numbers down.