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Thread: Deer Management Plan

  1. #1

    Deer Management Plan

    It's looking increasingly likely I could be successful in picking up the deer management of a 400-500 acre farm. The farmer does not presently permit shooting on his land, but has a problem with deer numbers and I clearly said something right, as he has said he is now open to discussing further. He just needs to speak to his son but said that will just be a formality as 'Dad will just tell him'.

    Although confident enough of the practical elements (stalking, marksmanship, gralloching, butchering), my challenge is a distinct lack of experience around actual deer management. I have the BDS manual which provides some very helpful details around the general deer management approach; risk assessment, population census and into the cull plan. However, would some of the more experienced members be able to offer any practical advice how best to approach? Passing DSC1 a few weeks back, I had been mulling over whether to look for a more extended deer management course, but would equally not like to delay things waiting to attend such a course.

    The farmer is extremely safety conscious and does not want the deer just shot. Rather, he wants them managed properly and responded very positively to what I said around just controlling numbers, taking out sick or weak animals and keeping good bloodlines. It's an amazing opportunity and one I really don't want to mess up. Any thoughts and guidance appreciated. It would be good to go to our first proper meeting armed with a clearer idea on what to propose e.g.

    1. Map recce of land and boundaries
    2. General briefing and discussion of arrangements such as for informing him when coming onto and leaving he land and arrangements for sharing carcasses (he has stated he doesn't want paying, but I have offered to share the carcasses with him, presenting him with oven ready cuts).
    3. Sign permission slip
    4. Walk around with farmer if he can spare the time (start risk assessment)
    5. Walk around on my own (complete risk assessment and start observing deer locations)
    6. Conduct population count/sampling and produce proposed cull plan
    7. Present, discuss and agree risk assessment and cull plan
    8. Start to implement cull plan.

    Thanks in advance for any help and guidance offered

  2. #2
    find out what the farmer expects and discuss it carefully with him .
    work out the holding capacity of the land and that close by.
    If there is any new planting trees and hedges do suggest they need protecting (that does not include shooting the best buck on the land you will often find youngsters do most damage.)
    Every farmer seems to have a different Idea
    Some of mine hate deer full stop
    others want them leaving near home where the wife can see them
    another has electric fences and bucks get hooked up in them (he says shoot all little stags(bucks)
    others just let me keep population as I think fit .
    Main thing is to try and keep them on side.(Get to know about vermin control foxes etc.some say shoot foxes first if they have livestock)

  3. #3
    I can sort you with a basic management plan or chat about the right things to say! PM me a phone number if you'd ike to discuss.

  4. #4
    Well done, the first advice I'd offer in my limited experience would be first and foremost to listen to what the farmer actually wants to achieve and then advise accordingly. Secondly always be aware of the "many a slip 'twixt farmer and son/landowner/tenant/resident stalker/<insert third party here>' rule. Not wanting to spoil the moment but as many of the guys on here will testify, as soon as you approach 'the farmer' who says yes, but 'just needs to check with his son' (who he has already told is running the farm) and then you're trapped in the middle of a "I told XXX he can shoot".... "well I run this farm and I told YYY HE can shoot" nightmare...

    Once you get that sorted, then perhaps address any remuneration as applicable (will farmer get % of carcasses etc) agreed up front you can get into the details of the management plan etc

    Once you are there then your list seems eminently sensible to me


  5. #5
    As everybody mentioned alteady:
    No matter where, the only key to a successful management is to look at it through the eyes of the landowner!
    His views on deer, their population, their living, their habitat and needs for forage, combined with your experiences and views through the eyes as a stalker, will give you are guideline through what needs to be done....!
    Good luck on that and never loose the fun on being out and managing deer....
    People's hobbies are more their measure's than are their jobs.

  6. #6
    no experience of deer management myself, but did find a very useful spreadsheet from the deer initiative called 'deer population model'. Once you have done a survey, you pop the numbers in by sex and deer type and it gives you estimated population growth which can be modified by your proposed cull numbers (i.e. you can work out how many / of what to cull each year to maintain population, increase it, or decrease it.

    I downloaded it from their website, but no longer appears to be there - pm if you cannot find it

    good luck

  7. #7
    Hi mate I would not go into all the finer details until you have met up with the farmer and heard what he WANTS to do, as this will have a huge bearing on what you NEED to do. I was in the same position not a few weeks ago where I was due to meet with the landowner and I had all sorts of things rushing around my head re a deer management plan before we met up. Cull figures, how to write a plan, risk assessments, etc, etc.

    When we caught up it went (literally) like this. Me - OK, so what's your stance and ideas with regards to the deer so I can look into a plan for you? Landowner - I want you to shoot as many Muntjac as you can coz they are destructive little buggers and the rest we like to see, but don't want too much damage so manage them accordingly! Me - OK then mate I will do, cheers. Meeting over, lol!!!

    It sounds like your meeting may be a little different as I already did pest control for the landowner, but all I'm saying is don't do too much other than your basic list as you may not need to,

    Follow my stalking journey & SD sponsored DSC1 progress blog here

    DSC1 forum sponsorship - Blogs - The Stalking Directory

  8. #8
    you have hit the nail on the head .

  9. #9
    Thanks gents, PM's on way shortly.

    Completely understand and agree Stratts, I just wish it were that simple (as it is with the farmer on my other deer permission some distance away). The (new) farmer and I had a good 15-mins or so chat after church on Sunday and it very much seems he wants solid reassurance and details of the activity that will be undertaken. I totally take the point about not presenting anything definitive and indeed one couldn't without the landowners definitive input.
    Thanks gents for all the direction and advice, both in the thread and via PM, I'm most grateful and will let you know how things go

  10. #10
    BDS have a course coming up soon..........

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