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News archive

02 July 2020

BDS Range Activities and Covid-19




From NHS, Home Office, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and DEFRA.


We are currently working and living through unprecedented times. This guidance is compiled from the latest advice from the above organisations and is provided to enable the writing of a range activity Risk Assessment managed by the British Deer Society (BDS) branches in a Covid-19 environment.

Any activity on the range will be BDS only. This guidance should be added to the standard Range Risk Assessment to maintain the uniqueness of each range. On completion, they should be sent to all participants in planned activities. Participants must acknowledge receipt of the Risk Assessment and that they have read and understood the necessity of such measures. This must be submitted by participants prior to the range activity it should be emailed in and not handed over on the day. All participants must be booked in for the activity prior to the event taking place. Given numbers, it may be appropriate for the Chairman / Secretary and or RCO to allocate time slots if there are a limited number of lines which to shoot.

 This supplementary guidance is an interim measure and will be updated on the basis of guidance given. It may be that if infection rates rise, then range activities will cease, or if conditions should improve, they will be reviewed and relaxed.

Due to recent reported spikes and localised lockdowns BDS is not supporting Branches in holding range events in these areas. To ascertain if you are holding events in an area with a lockdown or spike please check the PHE or your local authority website. If you are in such an area do not run the event.

first branch range day since lockdown, observing social distancing


05 June 2020

Advice to Deer Managers in Scotland - 5 June 2020

The British Deer Society (BDS) Scottish Office has been working hard to obtain clarification on how the Stage One Unlock Guidance related to deer management in Scotland.

While the picture is still unclear we can provide the following information.

The stage 1 restart programme for forestry - link below:
The sector does require a bit of initiative, everyone must consider their own reasons and justification for contemplating controlling deer in their management.

The facts are:

* Deer management qualifies as forestry and environmental work.

* The guidelines for working in forestry are the most appropriate guidance for deer managers.

* Each and every person is operating under differing requirements, circumstances and situations.

* Each and every person must make their own assessment of increasing the level of harm that their actions may cause.

* Each and every person must be familiar with regulatory legal controls and recognise the difference with guidance.

05 June 2020

BDS is Recruiting: New Chief Executive Role

The British Deer Society (BDS) is actively recruiting for a Chief Executive.

Chief Executive
Position: Full Time permanent
Salary: ca £60K, depending on qualifications and experience
The British Deer Society is an incorporated charity, funded by membership, a trading subsidiary and philanthropic contributions.  The BDS promotes deer education, research and management best practice to ensure a healthy and sustainable deer population in balance with the environment; a key feature of the biodiversity of the UK landscape.

The Chief Executive will be a key member of the BDS Leadership Team and pivotal in the Society’s strategic direction and stakeholder management.  The primary role, working with the Society’s Chair and Board of Trustees, will be in setting the strategic direction of the Society and engaging with local, regional, national and international organisations in the identification, development and management of Society projects.  The Chief Executive will play a central leadership role in maintaining service levels to the membership, regional branches and the general public. 

BDS is Recruiting: New Chief Executive Role

04 June 2020

Thank You to Our BDS Volunteers 

This National Volunteers Week the BDS would like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of our Members who support the Society in so many ways; it couldn't function without you.

Our amazing volunteers attend shows, run ranges, giving talks, serve on Branch and national committees, attend RTC's, fundraise, mentor newcomers, witness DSC2, provide dog tracking services......the list is endless.

Thanks to you all.

Thank You to Our BDS Volunteers 

22 May 2020

BDS Supports Royal Parks in Protecting Deer

Richmond and Bushy parks are wonderful places to visit and much loved by the many people that use them. In these uncertain times, it is understandable that the public wants to visit for some much-needed exercise and relaxation. 

However, the volume of people use the parks and how some people are behaving is causing serious issues and directly impacting the welfare of the parks' deer.

Although closed to traffic and cyclists, the number of visitors spread out over through the parks, have left few refuges for the deer. Last weekend park staff picked up in excess of five tons of picnic litter and waste. There have also been multiple deer worrying incidents by dogs, some fatal for the deer. 

 Baby deer in Bushy Park. Credit Amanda Cook

22 May 2020

High Risk of Wildfires in the UK!

Currently, much of England has a high to very high risk of wildfires according to The Met Office's Fire Severity Index (FSI). Although some regions may have experienced rain over the bank holiday weekend the risk still remains high.

Low levels of rainfall have left the countryside unusually dry and recent weeks have already seen some devastating fires which have killed wildlife and destroyed huge areas of habitat.  In many cases, barbecues and open fires have been implicated in starting them.  Even a carelessly discarded cigarette can start a blaze and any fire lit on dry ground may risk igniting material below the surface.  This can continue to smoulder and flare up later even if the fire appears to be out.

The British Deer Society strongly urges that fires of any kind (including barbecues) should not be lit anywhere that has restrictions in place. If you are not sure about possible restrictions then please don't take the risk. We would also like to remind everyone that ‘wild’ or any other kind of overnight camping is still currently not allowed anywhere in the UK.

The flames spread quickly through the forest

15 May 2020

Deer Welfare - May and June

Key deer welfare areas for May and June

Deer on the Roads 
During the lockdown, our deer ventured out onto the road more than ever and now that the traffic is starting to return we are hearing of more and more deer-vehicle collisions.

In addition, this time of year often sees a peak in DVCs as deer are on the move and last year's young being pushed out to find new territories.

Please watch out for deer on our roads day and night!

Advice for drivers

Young Deer
As highlighted above this is the birthing season for many of our deer species, so pregnant females need to be left in peace. Young deer will often be left somewhere safe while mum is feeding as they can't always keep up. These are not abandoned and should be left alone as mum will be close by.

More so than ever it is important to keep dogs under a watchful eye and control.

Please help spread the word and keep wild deer and the public safe!

More information on abandoned young

young roe kid

11 May 2020

COVID-19: BDS Advice to Deer Stalkers

COVID-19:  BDS Advice to Deer Stalkers - issued 11 May 2020

Further to the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday 10 May 2020, and the more detailed COVID-19 Recovery Strategy published today, the British Deer Society interprets the current situation as follows:

With effect from Wednesday 13 May 2020 deer stalking and associated management activities may resume in England only under the relaxation of guidelines affecting exercising outdoors.

There are no restrictions on how many times, or for how long, you may exercise each day.

In line with social distancing guidelines, you should remain at least 2 metres separate from anyone from outside your household and be aware of not touching shared surfaces.

Effective hand hygiene is essential.

You should not exercise with more than one other person from outside your household.

It is acceptable to drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance.

Appropriate planning for the extraction, transport and subsequent disposal of carcases should be conducted prior to stalking to ensure that all remains within government guidelines.

Different rules exist in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where the devolved administrations still stipulate separate guidance and regulations.  All travel or other movement must respect this.

Stalkers are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, with special attention given to the rules for public spaces (page 27). It can be viewed in full here

The above advice is intended for unpaid, recreational stalkers.  Where stalking is conducted on a professional basis, employers remain responsible for ensuring appropriate safe conditions for employees and follow existing government advice and the ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines which will be published later this week.

The British Deer Society will continue to monitor the situation and issue further advice when necessary.