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Thread: Reaction of Deer to Major Disturbance

  1. #1

    Reaction of Deer to Major Disturbance

    For you lads who have not been here or read my article on my first season here i will give a quick resume.Several years ago I bought a poor quality woodland in Invernessshire. It had however a good population of Sika Red and Roe. The best were the Sika with the Roe just building up after some re-structuring of the forest and the Red a bit nomadic. Then a bombshell. The giant pylon line from Beauly to Denny was rerouted to go through the forest with a three year comstruction window. This was to involve felling a 70m corridor. Creating several miles of new roads and opening a quarry with weekly stone blasting. They have felled a lot of trees,the roads are well on the way and so far in four months of work they are now blasting weekly. Seven huge 35t diggers work 7am to 7pm with two 27t dumpers. Self propelled rollers work alongside them so you can imagine the noise. what about the deer. Very surprisingly the hefted Roe did not stay long and in the first few weeks were all gone. My pride and joy the Sika were next. I had several groups of 8 to 12 hinds which could be seen every evening with a good population of mature and follow on Stags. It is now a month since I have seen even one animal. I thought the Reds would clear out the quickest as they do move about a lot but no. After only half an hour from the end of the days work the Reds can be seen grazing at the side of newly laid roads and they even feed on the banks of the quarry. This did amaze me . I did think it would be the other way round. Perhaps it is because Reds can move a large distance to feed in a short time that I see this. Well my stalking is prohibited for the duration of the construction but I can see I will have many new open areas and lawns afterwards. I hope my Sika return. Someone will get some good trophies this season. What can you do?


  2. #2
    What a pain in the arse for you. But the Sika will return, the Roe may take a little longer. But as you so rightly say once it has settled down you will have some great feeding areas. Make a plan to fertilise these areas to bring on a good growth of grass and create deer lawns. Hopefully you will find this will produce better results than you anticipated.

    Best of luck


  3. #3
    I assume your land agent will make sure you are well compensated.
    one of my locals had a pipeline laid across 200 acres, it paid for a new range rover.

  4. #4
    I have some little experience of sika both in small forestry/farmland and in commercial forestry. My observations aren't science but...

    In the small forestry/farmland area the deer were used to a bit of human disturbance and the forest held relatively high numbers which, I can only assume, moved out to feed at night. This area recently had some forest operations carried out which lasted for perhaps a month and involved heavy machinery and the like. The deer were relatively undisturbed by this and would actually stand and watch the operations. When the poachers arrived, however, it wasn't long until the deer became very wary and many seemed to have moved on to other places but I am pretty certain that it wasn't the heavy forestry operation that drove them out. My experience of sika is that they are nosey and like to see what is going on and this can be their downfall.

    In the commercial forestry the density of animals is much lower and the area much larger and for some reason these deer always appear much more wary - it really is a challange to see one move in daylight for example. Over the last few years there has been an increase in the usual forestry operations going on with significant clear felling now in progress and this has greatly reduced the number of deer seen, in fact to see a sika now you have to work very hard. There is no doubt in my mind that there are still considerable numbers of deer in the forest and that they haven't actually all left. It was also the case in the past that the deer would have been seen in groups, often quite large groups, whereas now the biggest group it is common to see is a hind and calf. I am not at all sure of the mechanism that has driven this change but people who know the forest well are putting it down to the large scale felling that is taking place (though it is directly impacting only a few percent of the actual forest area) with a bit of poaching thrown in. I don't think the poaching dynamic has changed recently but the clear felling operation with the associated human disturbance is new. One thing that gives me hope is that, for the most part, the deer are not nervous of vehidles or having the lamp put over them and so I am given to suspect that any poaching taking place is fairly moderate.

    Based upon my very limited experience I would give consideration to the possibility that you might have gained some poachers in the first instance as in my case this would make the deer appear to vanish within a few days and they will stay "vanished" for a very long time indeed, certainly 6 - 18 months. This might not sit with the fact that the reds are still there though, but I'd rather carry a sika than a red. The other thing I would consider is the possibility that, as I have seen, the forestry operation has broken the sika up into smaller groups which are more wary and less easily seen. Is it possible they are still there but because of changes in their behaviour you are not seeing them?

    Another hint is beef nuts and mollasses! My sika will come a long way for mollasses so this might be worth a try in an area you can watch from a high seat, though it will take them a little while to get used to it so don't expect instand results. You can get either from any farm supply shop.

  5. #5
    Thank you for the replies. Malc-I do intend to sow grass on the areas under the line which is to be kept permenantly free of trees. Last year I found a supplier of Ryegrass seed of a type which germinates well on acidic soil and used it to seed a re-claimed old quarry. I mixed in some (very expensive) clover seed as I noticed the deer selectivly grazed clover on my lawn. The results have been good. Best of all the seed was classed as sweepings and only cost 1.75 a kilo delivered. Caorach- I too have seen Sika emerge to watch forestry machines and think it is queer given that they can be so elusive otherwise. They are however stupid in a lamp and you could hit them with a stick the first time they are lamped. I have seen none while out foxing so are sure they are gone. I had some cracking Stags here and the old palmated one will sure fall to some trophy hunter. I hope they all go to the west and are taken by someone who will treasure the experience and not to the FC next door and be just one of the many.


  6. #6
    Hi Davy, hope you are all well...

    Not sure if you are aware, but there are some masive forestry operations going on up the Tweed valley at the moment,sika are showing up in places never seen before,they certainly dont like the disturbance....

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    -I do intend to sow grass on the areas under the line which is to be kept permenantly free of trees.
    Have you considered instead of this, creating a "graded centre" with some nice tasty broadleaves, grand fir, douglas etc - I've found that placing some in the middle of a pylon line draws the beasts out of the edge and makes them more comfortable coming out if the weather is a bit iffy.

    worst case scenario, you've got some nice christmas trees to sell in a few years

  8. #8
    Thanks Nell . Apart from the mental strain of having twenty odd strangers with all the ass ociated mess and crap in my place everyday I am fine. Didnt know about tweed valley-interesting.

    Labrat= Yes that would be ideal but the wayleave for the pylon line states the ground must be " sterilized" which is being interpreted as nothing above the height of a Juniper for roughly 40 meters either side of the line. It seems that the massive 400Kv that the line carries is at risk of a short after a lightening strike which temporarily ionises the air! This has been inforced by a compulrory purchase order so there is little room for negotiation.


  9. #9
    I realise you may not want to rock the boat, but I'm fairly sure their "interpretation" is wrong - one of my other caps saw us create a cycle route under a 400kv line which was heavily planted with Xmas trees... As I understand it, national Grid have environmental duties under the electricity act 1989, that their blanket policy may be in breach of - and that the tech specs only demand clearance of about 3 metres

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    This has been inforced by a compulrory purchase order so there is little room for negotiation.

    did you keep the sporting rights? otherwise this could all be acedemic.

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