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Special interest group: Defence Deer Management (Services Branch)

Special interest group: Defence Deer Management (Services Branch)

Defence Deer Management (DDM) is a voluntary organisation of serving military, MOD civil servants and, where necessary, retired personnel who provide a deer management service on behalf of the MOD.  DDM is a Special Interest Group, rather than a regional branch, of the Society.

The MOD manages some 240,000 hectares of land in the UK and since 1978 deer stalking rights across the estates have been reserved and managed by the MOD. All six species of wild deer are present on the defence estate but the MOD does not lease deer stalking rights, nor allow the shooting of deer for recreational, sporting or trophy hunting purposes; all deer management is carried out by the DDM organisation.

MOD deer management is therefore, an estate management activity and DDM is an integral component of the MOD’s conservation, biodiversity, forestry and agriculture estate management activities.

DDM is unique in that its deer management objectives are environmental and as an organisation it is committed to the conservation and welfare of British wild deer.  It aims to ensure the delivery of a sustainable, well-managed and healthy wild deer population on the defence estate in order to meet MOD objectives.

DDM implements MOD Deer Management Policy and Operating Procedures; which:

  • Ensures that populations of deer on the defence estate are in sustainable balance with MOD’s primary estate needs (i.e. military training) and the natural resources available to feed and shelter them throughout the year
  • Adopts a humane, responsible and sensitive approach to the management of wild deer
  • Maintains an experienced and knowledgeable capability in deer management through recruiting and training
  • Ensures that deer management operations support wider estate management objectives
  • Actively supports overarching targets for Sustainable Development on the government estate in all its activities as far as is practicable
  • Maintains and submit records of deer management to MOD
  • As the Services Branch of the BDS, DDM take a seat at both the England & Wales Area Council and the Scottish Council of the BDS (non-voting).

DDM delivers a detailed management plan for each MOD site that has a deer population.  At each site requiring deer management (from Cape Wrath to Portreath), Deer managers operate in groups, headed up by a Principal Deer Manager (PDM) who is responsible for the implementation of any cull programme.  At the regional level the groups are headed up by five District Coordinators (DC) covering Scotland, North, Midlands & Wales, South East and South West.

DDM undertakes an agreed cull, authorised annually by the MOD Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Deer Operations Manager.  PDMs are responsible for submitting a report and cull plan annually and to act as the central coordinator and point of contact for deer management at site level.  A detailed record is required from the deer manager for every animal culled or found dead on the defence estate; the resulting database provides a unique and invaluable record of deer trends within the UK and it is widely accessed by researchers.  Anyone interested in making use of the database may contact the MOD DIO Deer Operations Manager at the address below.

Mr Iain Robertson
Deer Operations Manager
Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Forthview House
30 Hilton Road
Rosyth
Fife  KY11 2BL

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DDM is also a training organisation and all members are expected to assist with the training and supervision of new members recruited into the organisation.  This process allows DDM to regularly recruit and train new deer managers and requires considerable personal commitment from all parties as it can take up to 3 years before an individual is allowed to operate independently. The training progression enables a trainee to gain DSC 1 and 2 qualifications, and experience of managing deer on the MOD estate.

The MOD set the criteria for DDM membership which stipulates that in order to be eligible applicants are required to be Crown Servants in permanent MOD employment.  If you are a member of the Regular Armed Services, or MOD Civil Service, with a minimum of 5 years service remaining and you are interested in DDM, please contact the DDM Membership Secretary:

Lt Col Sally Arthurton
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