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Raising Spring Awareness of Deer Welfare Issues

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Article by:
Laura McMahon, Marketing Manager, British Deer Society

British Deer Society Raises Spring Awareness of Deer Welfare Issues

As spring blooms across the British countryside, the British Deer Society (BDS) is shining a light on important deer welfare issues. With the aim of fostering better understanding and responsible action, the BDS underlines the need for public cooperation and adherence to simple deer safety and welfare guidelines.

One common misconception addressed by the BDS is concern over seemingly abandoned baby deer encountered in long grass or undergrowth. These young animals have not been forsaken by their mothers. Instead, they have been carefully hidden while the mother forages for food nearby. The BDS emphasises that even when the mother is not in sight this does not imply abandonment; rather, it reflects perfectly natural behaviour and caution around humans.

“It’s important to understand that a baby deer found on its own does not need to be rescued” says Charles Smith-Jones, Technical Adviser at the British Deer Society. “Their mother is probably not very far away.  Following our Baby Deer Code will help to protect these young animals and ensure that they have a healthy future.”

BDS Baby Deer Code

The BDS Baby Deer Code encourages individuals who come across young deer to follow these simple steps:

  • Move away immediately
  • Do not touch or pick up the deer, as human scent can deter the mother from returning.
  • Keep dogs on a lead and under control.

Support Our Baby Deer Survey

Furthermore, the BDS highlights their annual Deer Birth Dates Survey, which collects data to assess any changes in deer birthing seasons which may be influenced by factors such as climate change. The charity urges the public to report sightings of newborn deer to contribute to this vital research.

If you come across a baby deer you can help by reporting it in our simple anonymous survey. 

Dog attacks on Deer

Another pressing issue addressed by the BDS is the alarming rise in dog attacks on deer, which often result in severe stress, serious injuries and, in far too many cases, a painful death. The charity stresses the importance of responsible dog ownership and vigilance, especially in areas where deer and other wildlife roam.

“Dog owners need to recognise the consequences of allowing their pets to chase deer,” says Charles Smith-Jones. “By keeping dogs under close control and following the Countryside Code, we can prevent unnecessary harm to both wildlife and pets.”

dog chasing muntjac captured by John Parish


The British Deer Society is the only charity dedicated to UK wild deer and works to educate and inspire everyone about deer in their environment and advocate for deer welfare. In March 2024, BDS launched the charity’s new and ambitious strategic plan, ‘Together for Deer’, which focuses on Ethics & Welfare, Education & Training, and Science and Research.

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