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A Big Difference for Deer & Evidence-Based Deer Management is in the Making Thanks to the Big Give

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

Photo: BH Wildlife Consultancy


Over the last decade the Big Give platform has helped raise £281,104,727 for 1,000’s of charities across the UK. This year, for the first time, the British Deer Society (BDS) decided to take the leap and take part in the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge.

Our campaign on the Big Give aimed to raise funds to allow us to initiate a series of drone surveys to count deer at selected locations across the country.

The purpose of these drone surveys would not just be to count deer and help inform local and national management – but to also double up as an opportunity for us to offer a series of unique and highly engaging awareness and educational public events across the country that would be focused around deer and ethical, evidence-based approaches to deer management.

This type of work is urgently needed to push-back against the spread of misinformation, sensationalism and demonisation of deer (and their numbers) that has been directed towards the public and policymakers via various channels in recent years.

Read more: 2 million deer in the UK. Fact or fiction?

It is also urgently needed to ensure that more evidence-based approaches and modern technologies and tools are incorporated into national deer management policies and regional and local strategies where possible. Such approaches are the only way we can be certain of achieving humane, effective, and adaptive deer management that protects deer welfare, encourages healthy deer populations that are in harmony with their environment and that ensures a venison sector that is both ethical and sustainable.


We initially hoped to raise £10,000 with our campaign in the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge, but thanks to our amazing members, supporters, and The Reed Foundation, we raised just over £11,900 plus an extra £1,400 in Gift Aid.

This brought our final total to just over £13,000!

We are extremely grateful to everyone for coming together to support this work and to help us speak up for deer louder than we ever have before!

Thank you from everyone at the BDS team - Big Give Christmas Challenge 2023


Through January-March 2024 we plan to finalise the locations of the drone surveys and accompanying educational activity days. If you are interested in getting involved in these activities or are a landowner keen to get involved so that you can adopt a more evidence-based approach to your deer management – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

From April until the end of 2024, we will aim to complete the series of surveys and educational days whilst sharing the results and impacts as widely as possible.


The British Deer Society is a charity working to improve awareness and understanding about deer, deer welfare and deer management. You can add your voice today by:

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