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Thread: Trees versus Deer

  1. #1

    Trees versus Deer

    Here’s another article which has a pop at the Forestry Commission for continuing to cull through the winter as deer herds push into FC woodlands to find food and shelter.

    As easy as it is to slag the FC, I actually sympathise with it as it has to protect trees throughout the year otherwise face hefty re-planting costs and degraded timber crops. Better fencing would help the trees, but that wouldn’t help the deer, just move the problem elsewhere. The FC can’t win. I suppose private woodland owners are in a similar position. You only get one chance to establish a quality tree crop so any forester worth his salt wants deer numbers pegged back to minimal levels until the crop is hardy enough to allow deer densities to pick up again.

    Private landowners (sporting estates) are more fortunate as they can choose to sacrifice tree quality for the sake of deer in hard weather, but even they would not risk ruining a young woodland that is still within a grant aided forestry scheme.

    My view is that the best way to maintain a healthy herd is to provide food and shelter in strategic locations throughout an estate. Native woodland cover fits the bill nicely. I have been involved in woodland establishment in the highlands for over 20years now and I am now seeing some of “my” earlier plantings opened up to deer and I suspect the deer are pretty pleased with the results.

    There is a push at the moment to reduce deer numbers across Scotland so my advice is that sporting estates will have to look at ways to support a decent herd through diligent habitat management or run the risk of losing out in the long run. Relying on the FC to provide winter shelter is not an option.

    Now before anyone thinks that I have little regard for deer please note that I enjoy stalking and believe that it is an essential part of the rural economy in Scotland, however I also believe that the current situation is not sustainable and deer managers would do well to plan ahead with both environment and the deer herd in mind. This may well require some short term pain but the results will be well worth it.


  2. #2

    I thought you were busy enough, is this you touting for more work with little plantations all over the highlands.

    Back to your post now, it is a good point that you have made for managers to do a little forward planning. I think the problem with FC is that in the case on the West coast, the deer were in a mature wood (only what I heard) and they are using a well known ex-poacher (perhaps still one) to do their work.

    For foresters though, your damned if you do, and damned if you dont.

  3. #3
    Totally agree with you sp, although I'm in the same game as you.

    Interesting how ths has been reported

    ""I didn't have the heart to put a shot in it. I put it down to an animal sanctuary at Durnamuck where it's being looked after."

    Give me a break!!!!!!!

    This type of sensationalised repoting wont get us anywhere.

    Not shooting deer in hard weather is a joke, there is absolutely no welfare issues in shooting deer in snow.

    Although there may be issues in chasing deer out of shelter in a storm but if they are dead there is not a problem.

    If an animal is so thin it is not fit for the food chain surely it needs to be shot, is that not why we kill deer? to kill weak animals?
    I have alway thought that meat production was a by product of deer management, surely the welfare of deer comes before a £ at the game dealer.
    In fact leaving carcases on he hill would be of great benefit to eagles etc. at this time of year.

    Keepers/stalkers [including me] can be he biggest hypocrits on earth, they say it is wrong to kill deer in extreme weather yet revel in the chance to kill a fox

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I await the incoming barrage

  4. #4
    while I'm on my soap box

    Q. Who sold he FC the land the trees are on and pocketed the money

    A. The same sporting estates who are moaning about shooting deer

    There is a saying about cake at the eating of it

    I do believe FCS acted stupidly at Loch Arkaig after making plans with th estate to try and drive deer out.

  5. #5
    Hi Bambislayer
    You always tell it like it is Ha Ha

  6. #6
    I have just read the article from the Tain paper and there are some pertinent points in there but also some that are pulling at the heart strings. Bambislayer has already covered that point.

    I am sure that the estates and other deer managers will be looking at the deer starving to death is their cull being taken care of by nature. This will be why many of them have stopped. They should not stop completely though, but only continue with the extremely weak ones, like the calf at the side of the road. I am not surprised to see that FC and DCS have advised to continue culling as normal as this is like a huge bonus to them. They strive to get the deer numbers down and to continue as normal will perhaps see their quotas double or more.

    My own belief is that estates should only cull the worst conditioned animals.

    FC have a crop to look after and should look after it by culling deer.

    DCS are out of order by asking or telling estates to continue with culls when nature is doing the deed.

  7. #7
    Hi Jingzy

    Is the whole reason we shoot deer not that we kill them quickly and humanely and not let them starve to death?

    We all gave LACS hell when they took that approach.

  8. #8
    I dont have a great deal of experience, but a couple of years ago I fenced off a few acres and brought in some red deer. My observations are that they are nothing like as hardy as I assumed. They need large amounts of food and whilst they can reduce this need by reducing their activity they dont appear to be able to do this for long. The lack of fat on a deer might make them good to eat but it does leave them vulnerable to sustained adverse weather conditions. Once they start losing condition they can lose the fight quite quickly.
    it might be that my deer are southern softies but they appear to me, to be animals much more suited to a woodland environment than the hill.
    Last edited by howa243; 01-03-2010 at 23:24.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by howa243 View Post
    it might be that my deer are southern softies but they appear to me, to be animals much more suited to a woodland environment than the hill.
    Howa, your thoughts are spot on because their natural habitat is woodland. Check out body weights of eastern European beasts and you will see that Scottish hill animals are not in the same league. They don't live up there from choice, they would much rather be down in a nice cosy wood with loads of scoff. Some years ago a friend of mine kept some deer amongst which was an imported Romanian Red Stag. When it came up to the fence and looked you in the eye you realise how flaming enormous they are!

  10. #10
    It is like anything if you shoot deer at this time of year after a very harsh winter you will put the rest at risk.Its not the ones that are shot that have the welfare issue it is the ones that run away time and time again. There bodys can ony take so much with out good sustinance,So for me its leave them alone and let them see out the rest of the winter which in england and southern scotland is untill end of march /Early April in the highlands it will last till may.

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