Humans and Deer have co-existed for centuries. Because deer are coming into contact with humans every day you may have a personal experience already. You may have found an antler or two whilst walking your dog or are trying to combat those that get into your garden and enjoy your roses.
How Many Deer Is Too Many?
The British deer population has doubled since 1999 to around 2 million strong, the largest wild herd for 1000 years. Normally, the population rises by 30% each year, expanding by 600 000 between May and June. The pandemic did not just adversely impacted the human world, but the natural world as well. In Britain, the deer population is causing more havoc to British woodland ecosystems.
Consequently, this has posed problems to Britain’s ecosystem, causing damage to woodland and cropland.
Too many deer have consequences. Deer grazing on the understory of unmanaged woodland vegetation adversely impact bird species such as the warbler, nightingale and willow tits, as they use such areas for nesting and foraging. Consequently, the ecosystem services that birds supply, such as seed dispersal and pollination, are lost, resulting in negative knock-on effects for the wider environment.
Is There A Sustainable Management Consideration?
Calls for rewilding have increased and is becoming part of the DEFRA countryside considerations. Also the call for the reintroduction of deer predators are being considered because humans are currently the apex predator and a large percentage of the urbanised population have a every emotive view on any form of animal control, including wildlife.
Firstly considerations to reintroduce wolves and lynx into the Scottish countryside to boost tourism and police the exploding deer population, is a possibility according to famous TV naturalist Chris Packham, adding, that large predators are needed for a
“sustainable working landscape. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US, and certainly none in Europe.”
“If we did have wolves – which would have to be in Scotland – and lynx then lots of people would pay to go see them and they would be a great asset to the community.”
He argued that beavers had recently been reintroduced back to British waters after hundreds of years, and added that while lynx had been brought back to Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, France and Spain, “there have been no authenticated accounts of them attacking people”.
“Given that we have 350,000 roe deer in Scotland, reintroducing a predator to have an impact on that population would be good,” he said.
What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators.
“We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them, and it would be tremendously exciting.”
The Impacts of Wild Deer in England
There are 6 species of wild deer in England. Red and roe deer are native; fallow, sika, muntjac and Chinese water deer are introduced species. In addition to the above, the damage can include the following:
Firstly, Eating young woodland plants and additional costs of protecting trees from deer is a concern for forestry and farmers.
Secondly, Road traffic accidents are common on rural roads. Sad for the deer and some of which result in human injuries or fatalities
Thirdly, Agricultural and horticultural crop damage as deer will find favourite areas to repeatedly graze
Fourthly, Infection with diseases which can affect farm livestock and in some cases humans
Finally, Raiding your prize flower gardens with is wonderful the first few times but then becomes a nuisance.
It is not all doom and gloom! Red and roe deer are part of our natural environment, and all deer can play a positive role; we gain pleasure from seeing deer in the countryside, and some habitats are improved or maintained by deer activity.
We are Passionate about Deer and Dogs
We closely follow the welfare of deer and their place in our beautiful UK countryside. John, at Staglers Deer Antler Dog Chews, has a vast knowledge about the care of deer, nature and is an ex wildlife officer of Dorset Police. His passion for dogs has also led to our sustainable business.
Staglers deer antler dog chews are healthy, naturally dropped, unprocessed, free from chemicals, preservatives, colouring and additives, just pure and natural, as nature intended.
Leaving you with a beautiful Video
The British Deer Society are based in Hampshire, near us and have the most beautiful video which we wanted to share with you to put you in the mood for Spring. See Below
Sources: Wilderness society & DEFRA & British Deer Society
Defra – DEFRA stands for Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (London, England, UK) – and the Forestry Commission aim to achieve a strategy the sustainable management of wild deer in England. Thereby enhancing the countryside, reduce the damage created by over grazing but allow wild deer to continue to be a key part of our rich landscape.
Humans and Deer 2023