I have recently been asked by a friend who works on a nature reserve to help him acertain deer numbers on the site. I walk there the odd weekend and have seen plenty of Roe, Munts and the odd Fallow deer. The area is predominantly chalk grassland with smallish copses and dense scrub, and about 500 acres. It is currently not stalked.
I have never been there and not seen a deer, and during the rut saw up to 8 Roe in less than 5 acres, so I think there is a few about!
My question is what is the best method of acertaining a deer population? I appreciate that this is never going to be a science, as deer dont make a habit of being easy to locate, and it is hard to know if you have recounted the same beast, but what works for you guys when you are evaluating a bit of potential stalking?
I have in the past relied upon farmers knowledge (of which there are none as it is a SSSI) and browsing, but this kind of land is not what I am used to, and there are alot of different plant species (I am a northern lad, and this is in Oxfordshire), as well as trails/deer paths. I have also not had much to do with Fallow or Munts.
Any advice appreciated!