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Thread: BDS Deer Distribution Survey 2011 - Results questionable!

  1. #1

    BDS Deer Distribution Survey 2011 - Results questionable!

    I am a bit of an anorak when it comes to deer distribution and I was really looking forward to the much delayed publication of the results of the BDS Deer Distribution Survey 2011 that finally appeared in the Winter edition of "Deer" recently received. I was disappointed to see what might be a major error in one of the maps which, if not an isolated instance, throws a lot of the records into doubt. I should say right from the start that I am not blaming the BDS as I am guessing that they just collate reports and don't validate them but if you look at the map for sika you will see that something remarkable has apparently occurred.

    In the 2007 there was not a single 10km square in Wales with sika present. There were some deer on the Teifi estuary that were believed to be sika x red hybrids and were recorded on the 2007 map as reds but no sika were recorded. On the 2011 map there are now two populations of sika in SW Wales where there were none before and normally this might be the cause for celebration with some stalkers but a closer look reveals that their range almost exactly mirrors the range of the reds in that part of the World. This begs the question of whether two new populations of sika have managed to appear from nowhere and then cover eleven 10km squares in four years or have the recorders been mistakenly reporting reds as sika. The latter seems a much more likely explanation which, if true, means that many more of the reports of deer being present in new areas, especially in new areas well removed from the nearest similar population, may also be incorrect. I have asked BDS for their view but they seem to be very tardy in responding to emails.
    Last edited by paul k; 23-01-2013 at 18:46.

  2. #2
    If `Sika/Red hybrids` were there in 2007 it is possible that they have inter-bred and produced offspring more Sikine-like in appearance.
    DNA samples from these beasts would be prove this.

    HWH.

  3. #3
    For those around Cardigan this is perfectly possible but the other population is over 30 miles away as the crow flies, exactly matching the area populated by reds, and it seems unlikely that, even if they made the journey, sikine reds could manifest themselves to such an extent in such a short time as to cover the area in the map, especially as the reds in the area are especially large and un-sika like. Even in Cardigan it seems unlikely that there are now reds, sika x red hybrids and sika where there were only hybrids four years earlier. Still, as you say DNA would tell the story, but I think it much more likely that there are still no pure sika in Wales and the only deer that might even be sikine are those near Cardigan recorded as reds in 2007 and presumably recorded as both reds and sika in 2011.

    The other mystery Welsh sika was the silver medal stag shot in "Glamorgan" a few years ago and reported in Richard Prior's annual round up in Shooting Times of notable heads measured, which nobody could explain the origin of, unless a stag made the long swim from Lundy, but then I don't think Lundy stags grow medal heads.

  4. #4
    I’ve always been suspicious of these maps since studying a large scale map at the deer initiative stand of a game fair some years ago. The map showed a red stag as being sighted at Abersychan, Pontypool. Now there may be a pub called The Buck and another called the White Hart in Abersychan but the nearest red deer is at least forty miles away in the Forest of Dean.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    I’ve always been suspicious of these maps since studying a large scale map at the deer initiative stand of a game fair some years ago. The map showed a red stag as being sighted at Abersychan, Pontypool. Now there may be a pub called The Buck and another called the White Hart in Abersychan but the nearest red deer is at least forty miles away in the Forest of Dean.
    Actually it's interesting that the Wye Valley/Forest of Dean reds are not shown on the map at all even though they are fairly well documented now but there might be reds a bit closer to Abersychan than you think. I have it on reasonably good authority that the Wye Valley deer are spreading, they've been seen near Monmouth and a big stag was shot last year not too far from Usk whilst the main South Wales red population is in the Sennybridge area also not a million miles from Abersychan but in the other direction with rumours of more reds near Abergavenny originating from an escape to the NW.

    When I was growing up in the Monmouth area we only had fallow and now there are roe, reds, muntjac and even wild boar in the area - plenty of room for sika though!!
    Last edited by paul k; 23-01-2013 at 20:11.

  6. #6
    I was shown some camtrap photos of the supposed hybrid deer from around the Teifi. They looked pure red to me. What surprised me about the west Walian deer distribution is that there are now five species in Dyfed. Someone has been busy. They'll probably have the full set by the next survey!

  7. #7
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Pretty sure Muntjac are higher north than this shows.

  8. #8
    According to the map, Cornwall is full of Muntjac!
    I've never seen a wild Muntie in Cornwall and neither have any of my stalker friends. I hear lots of stories of them being shot in Cornwall but I'm out shooting/lamping/walking in the Cornish countryside at least 300 days a year and no sign of them.

  9. #9
    If I remember correctly the results are also skewed by including records of deer in parks or private collections?

  10. #10
    Think there's a possibility that white van man has been active with Sika for a few years now. In 2006 a stalker brought a sika stag into the game dealers where I worked in South Wales, I caped the stag and dressed the carcass. The head was sent away for measuring and was awarded a silver medal and is officially recorded as the first to be shot in wales. Where it was taken is not far fom Margam park, enquieries with the park confirmed that they have never had sika in the park. A few weeks later a close mate showed me a photo he had taken of three deer he saw crossing a secluded lane, clear photo of three sika hinds. Since then I have not heard about or seen any more?

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