I'd like to know if anyone here can give me an idea of species and numbers with the following set of poorly gathered intel. Like deer Cluedo.
I am new to all this and have not got an FAC or permission yet but am making steps in that direction. I was a bit disheartened that the local area I live in (far West Cornwall) is not known for having much in the way of deer but this weekend I have found some definite sign whilst on a boat based camping trip within 20 mins of home.
My girlfriend has pretty much lost patience with me scurrying up animal tracks when we go for a walk. Fortunately on this occasion she had a camp chair and a book so I was able to blunder into the undergrowth without the usual 30 second time limit.
Here's what I found:
- I walked up an overgrown permissive footpath today accessible only by boat so very undisturbed except by the odd kayaker
- The woods were mostly beech and stunted little oak trees (it's very exposed to coastal winds and is thin soil on granite).
- VERY thick vegetation, I don't think anyone has walked in there for a long time. Even the footpath was completely overgrown and almost impassable in places
- Quite a big area - about 300 acres in all backing on to arable / daffodil farmland
- Lots of bluebells and ivy - no sign of deer browsing on any of it
- I came across a hazel sapling which had been heavily frayed. It didn't look that fresh (no green bark or sap) but there were still hairs caught in it
- The fraying marks came up to just beneath my hip (I'm 5'11) at their highest
- No tracks so I'm unable to give any info on this front
- No droppings
- Within 400 yards of here I found 5 areas of scraped bare earth amongst bluebells / leaf litter all covered in deer hair, and a tree with deer hair all over the trunk up to about 2 feet high. This was all within 5 yards square and just off the footpath
- Despite the temptation I didn't want to go traipsing through the woods to find more as it's private land
- Here's a photo of the hair - it's grey along the shaft, fading to a short creamy ginger section with a dark tip. The longest is about 45mm
- I also walked along the field which bordered the woods and there was no sign of deer walking there or leaving the woods. A couple of rabbity looking runs but nothing noteworthy
My questions are
- What species do you think they are?
- Roughly what density given the lack of droppings or browsing but multiple areas where they've been couching down
- I have asked around and now know which property owns the land. How do you rate my chances of gaining a permission (of course after I get my DSC1 and FAC?)
Any insight, advice and detective work would be hugely appreciated. Cheers!