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BDS CEO Goes Live On TalkTV To Promote Fact-led Deer Management

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Article by:
Andrea Barden, Campaign Lead, British Deer Society


On Saturday 2nd December 2023, CEO of the British Deer Society (BDS) David Mcauley went live on TalkTV & Radio to discuss the impact of sensationalism around UK deer numbers, and the importance of developing a more fact-driven approach to national deer management and control that would ensure deer welfare is protected. 

David also encouraged everyone to get involved and support our ‘Facts, Not Fiction’ campaign which is currently live until midday, Tuesday 5th December on the Big Give fundraising platform. This campaign is aiming to raise £10,000 to support our work to promote more fact-led approaches in deer management and raise public awareness through a series of drone survey demonstration educational days in 2024. 


Ethical, effective, adaptive and sustainable deer management needs to be guided on far more than just the total number of all our deer species.

Using the overall deer population numbers in the UK, whether it stands at 2 million, 5 million, 10 million, or any other figure, in conjunction with phrases like “soaring deer populations,” to advocate for alterations in deer management approaches is not acceptable. This approach poses potential risks to the welfare of deer, a concern that numerous experts in the field have raised during consultations. Engaging in a more nuanced and scientifically grounded discourse is essential to ensure a responsible and effective deer management strategy.

The repeated use of terms such as “2 million deer in the UK”, “highest ever number of deer” and similar terminology is made worse by the fact that no one knows with any level of certainty how many deer there are in the UK now, let alone 50 years ago or 1,000 years ago.

Wild deer in the UK deserve respect and management based on sound evidence, not guesswork. 

Read more: Fact or fiction? UK deer numbers are at their highest ever – at around 2 million.


There is an urgent need to collect more data about our deer populations as well as their impacts on different habitats so that we can have more informed and adaptive approaches to their management.

At the same time, there is also an urgent need to raise a far better awareness among the public about why deer management is needed in some places, what best practice management that protects deer welfare looks like and how deer management can contribute to supporting biodiversity and climate goals.

Without both, it’s unlikely that we can ever hope to achieve a healthy deer population in balance with the environment, or that supports a more carbon-neutral, sustainable food sector in the UK. 


The solution shouldn’t be sensationalising deer numbers or their impact, or demonising deer as pests to the public. The consequence of such actions for deer welfare, public trust and subsequently the venison industry, could be dire if such an approach is continually used.

Far better is to demonstrate to the public the methods and benefits of deer survey technology and highlight how informed deer management can be the key to a healthy balanced deer population. Such demonstrations would provide a unique opportunity to collect data on deer numbers and population dynamics and to inspire and educate the public about deer, their welfare and ethical deer management all at once. 

Drone survey technology in particular offers a unique and engaging experience for the public, especially when combined with ground-based educational experiences. 


The BDS, via the Big Give fundraising platform, is currently working to raise at least £10,000 to initiate such work. 100% of the funds raised will be used to conduct a series of drone surveys throughout 2024 to count deer at selected locations across the nation. Each survey will double up as an opportunity for us to inspire and educate the public about deer too. 

At the time of writing, thanks to many of our existing members and supporters, we’re 60% of the way to our goal. However, we now only have until midday tomorrow (Tuesday 5th December) to raise the remaining £4,000.

The good news is a foundation has already contributed £2000 of this outstanding amount.

The bad news is it is locked away until we raise the matching £2000.

Only you – our fellow deer lovers – can help us raise this remaining amount and unlock all the foundation’s funds in time.

Every £10 you give to our ‘Facts, Not Fiction’ campaign on the Big Give fundraising platform, will unlock £10 from the locked funding pot.

This means any £10 gift you can make to support our work for deer will be the equivalent of a £20 gift, or even a £25 gift if your donation is eligible for Gift Aid too!

A £50 gift = a £100 gift, or £125 with Gift Aid.

A £100 gift = a £200 gift, or £250 with Gift Aid.

Whether your gift is small or big, from now until midday tomorrow (5th December) it can have twice the impact for deer. 

If you’d love to get involved – please do so only via our dedicated page on the Big Give platform now. 

Together for deer!

PLEASE NOTE: The Big Give platform funds their services using a “tip” process on top of your donation for deer. If you would prefer not to add a “tip” please just select ‘Other’ in the drop down menu, then write in £0.

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