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Thread: questions about deer counts!!

  1. #1

    questions about deer counts!!

    i'm hearing a lot over the last few years about deer counts,my questions are as follows,1. are they accurate? 2.how do they do them? 3.what methods are used? 4.who does them? 5.why do them? 6.are the done in square miles or acres 7. how many people are involved etc etc


    i would be happy if anyone could give any info on this,many thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Quite an involved subject and different approaches are needed in woodland and on the hill. Have a look at the following links to get an idea:

    http://www.bestpracticeguides.org.uk/planning_dmps.aspx

    http://www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk/html/downloads.htm

  3. #3
    I manage an open hill Red deer population, along with 7 other neighbouring estates which collectively make up a deer management group.
    We do a collaborative cull in the DMG and therefore also do collaborative counts. It's essential to know accurate numbers of deer on the ground in order to manage them properly, and consequently be able to base the cull number on.
    It's generally a maintainence cull we do, and it's all done through traditional sporting stalking, though if count numbers start to creep up, the cull numbers for any of the estates in the group can be increased slightly to compensate. It works very well.

    The actual count is usually done on white ground, with all the hill staff from all the estates physically going out and counting and classifying the deer on the ground. In more recent years we have used helecopters to do this, which does make the count quicker, but no more accurate, and certainly a lot more expensive.
    There was experimentation with ariel group photography in the last couple of years, but the pictures were too poor quality to classify the deer, which is useless if you need to know the numbers of stags/hinds/calves (essential if you want to do the cull within the legal seasons).
    Ian Hope of the DCS assures me that the new equipment they have will address this problem, but if we get settled weather with full snow coverage in feb/march, I'd prefer to rely on the stalkers knowlage and the telescope!

  4. #4
    My limited experience highlighted just how difficult the job can be.

    eg.1
    An area (due to be planted with native trees) was estimated to have a population of less than 40....well over 100 were taken from the ground.

    eg2
    A woodland enclosure had an estimated Sika count of 40-50. The first season produced a cull of 90 animals.

    Cr*#p counting? Perhaps, but I reckon many counts underestimate the population, particularly in broken terrain and woodlands.

  5. #5
    Firstly I think if land owners wish to cull deer to a certain population then they should have to fence off the area in question.
    I have heard of a couple of instances when they have achieved cull targets and the ground is as required, deer numbers wise but with, as little as a day in one case deer from another area moved in and were subsequently shot out. Fair... Cant be.
    This is not deer management this is slaughter.
    So deer counts on one day may be entirely different to another. At least if you can isolate an area you may be able to get a true idea of numbers and in thick woodland this may be almost impossible.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo Salar
    Firstly I think if land owners wish to cull deer to a certain population then they should have to fence off the area in question.
    I have heard of a couple of instances when they have achieved cull targets and the ground is as required, deer numbers wise but with, as little as a day in one case deer from another area moved in and were subsequently shot out. Fair... Cant be.
    In an ideal world, that would be great. Unfortunately it's not always as simple as that, I know of two estates in Scotland that were forced to cull huge amounts of deer in a drastic population reduction, and in both instances designations on the ground that protected the regenrating trees also did not allow the erection of deer fencing.
    This is not deer management this is slaughter.
    Unfortunately, yes it sometimes is slaughter, but it's still management.
    deer counts on one day may be entirely different to another. At least if you can isolate an area you may be able to get a true idea of numbers and in thick woodland this may be almost impossible
    I can't speak for other places, but on my ground with a majority of open hill and a fair bit of unenclosed woodland over 24,000 acres, I'm confident that our methods of deer counting are actually very accurate, which has been fairly well proven with the continuing similar deer numbers year after year with the annual cull we do.

  7. #7
    As you have said, you manage deer along with 7 other estates, this I would say is as effective as you will get and by your counts you have demonstrated this works.
    My point here was when one land owner decides, or has been told by some body such as SNH that they have to cull a large percentage of deer on their ground. This is when deer the from other areas will then colonise that area making the numbers that "have" to be culled as per their count. the slaughter i mentioned.
    Yes I agree there will be times when fencing is not an option or affordable, but when it is it should be used if possible.

  8. #8

  9. #9
    There are now many areas in Scotland which are now being targeted by SNH (quite rightly in my opinion) as needing protection from grazing animals. Where deer are concerned I think counting is helpful but quite often the most effective solution is a massive reduction in deer densities in the target area. I prefer fencing as it is simple and effective although not bombproof; regular surveillance is still needed. Reliance on shooting alone does not guarantee success unless the right amount of hours are devoted to the job and as already pointed out, it can upset the balance elsewhere. Thankfully, even SNH are now in favour of deer fencing in sensitive areas

  10. #10
    was it hubert once said , deer are not hard to count accurately,
    there impossible to count accurately

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