Deer Cluedo. Who can decode this info?!

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

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
  1. What species do you think they are?
  2. Roughly what density given the lack of droppings or browsing but multiple areas where they've been couching down
  3. 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!

Mike
 
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csl

Administrator
Site Staff
I only read as far as West Cornwall :oops:

There are fallow about and you don't say where exactly... but my guess is Roe :thumb:

(I spend about a month a year in/around Falmouth)
 
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billh

Well-Known Member
Can I suggest you put the hair between your fore finger and thumb and roll it. Come back and tell us what sensation you felt. i.e. did it feel as though it vibrated?
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Yes, it does vibrate. The only deer hair I've examined in detail before has come on a patch for tying fishing flies so I know it's not red deer but can't get any closer than that! What does the vibration tell me?

Can I suggest you put the hair between your fore finger and thumb and roll it. Come back and tell us what sensation you felt. i.e. did it feel as though it vibrated?
 

billh

Well-Known Member
The patches of flattened vegetation are where the badger cubs have been playing. There is a sett somewhere very nearby. Maybe more than one sett by the sound of what you are saying.
 

Uncle Norm

Well-Known Member
Can I suggest you put the hair between your fore finger and thumb and roll it. Come back and tell us what sensation you felt. i.e. did it feel as though it vibrated?

Its Badger hair. Its the only real way you can tell it apart from dog, deer etc.

Yep, badger hair is triangular in cross section so when rolled between the fingers is is not smooth......

Well I've learned something too ! Didn't know that. Thanks Gents.
 

billh

Well-Known Member
Uncle Norm another useless bit of info on badger hair. As it is of this triangular lobed construction is why it makes excellent shaving brushes, it retains water and also why badgers use bedding to dry themselves on just as we use towels.
 

paul o'

Well-Known Member
+1

top tip.

i found some in my razer! wife said it was bever :eek: so thats how she knew bloody clever.
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
This is really interesting but slightly annoying! I thought I'd struck gold. What about the fraying? The fray marks were often horizontal and I imagine any badger claw marks woul run vertically. Is this not the case? And do badgers claw hazel saplings (about 2" diameter).

I will go back and see if I can find some non vibrating hair and take some photos of the clues.

Cheers
mike
 

jimbo123p

Well-Known Member
Did you have snow? And hares in the area.fraying is usually vertical. Often see it on low branches where the bark is damaged. The snow gives them the height. Snow melts. Too high for a rabbit or hare.
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Did you have snow? And hares in the area.fraying is usually vertical. Often see it on low branches where the bark is damaged. The snow gives them the height. Snow melts. Too high for a rabbit or hare.
No snow for a couple of years down here and I've never seen a hare down here either. It's very thick woodland so I think badger / deer is more likely. I'll get some photos up in the next week or so when I've had a chance to get back there. Like your thinking though.
 

rogue trader

Well-Known Member
Hi Mikeakc,

Where in Kernowland are you based if you don't mind me asking.

I grew up just outside Truro and had never seen or heard of any deer in the area until about 12 years ago when I bumped a Roe. We now have a healthy population. I'll try and upload some film footage I took at Easter of a buck I found about 100m from the house.
 

mikeakc

Well-Known Member
Hi Mikeakc,

Where in Kernowland are you based if you don't mind me asking.

I grew up just outside Truro and had never seen or heard of any deer in the area until about 12 years ago when I bumped a Roe. We now have a healthy population. I'll try and upload some film footage I took at Easter of a buck I found about 100m from the house.

Just out of Falmouth on the River so within 10 miles of you. I'm aiming to get some permissions down here but of course FAC and kit comes first. DSC1 is coming up in August so the wheels are turning. If I can get some venison on the table by this time next year I'll be chuffed.
 

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