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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.


11 May 2020

COVID-19: Advice for stalking visitors to the UK

COVID-19:  Advice for stalking visitors to the UK

The British Deer Society has received enquiries concerning deer stalking visits from overseas, some of which have stemmed from misunderstandings caused by inaccurate or speculative information published elsewhere.  

Current Government intentions are known to be as follows:

- Measures and restrictions are to be placed at the UK border.

- All international arrivals (apart from a small number, expected to be essential service providers only, which will be permitted exemption) will be required to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days after arrival in the UK.

- International arrivals unable to demonstrate where they will self-isolate will be placed in accommodation arranged by the Government.

- All journeys within the Common Travel Area (an open borders area consisting of the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man & the Channel Islands) will be exempt from these measures.

These measures are expected to be introduced shortly and can be interpreted as ruling out stalking visits from overseas for the immediate future. For further information on international travel, see the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy (page 29).

It is stressed that, while stalking has become possible in England as long as specific conditions are met, additional restrictions on outdoor movement and travel remain unchanged in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


23 April 2020

NEW Product Review: Arksjo folding lock knife

My first impression on opening the box containing the Arksjo folding lock knife from Outdoor Classic was a very good one.

If I didn’t know the price, I would have assumed that it cost several times more than the £10 that it sells for in the BDS shop.

It is perfectly sized to be of use for all UK deer species and the blaze orange rubber handle provides an outstanding grip. The eight and a half centimetre stainless steel blade locks very positively when open which is an essential safety feature in a folding knife. There is no movement in the knife at all when open or closed. The blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for one-handed use but, given that the knife is very solidly constructed with fine tolerances, it is a little stiff to open in this way. 

Genzo Outdoor Arksjo Folding Knife

26 March 2020

BDS Survey of Deer Distribution and Abundance 2020

First, my personal thanks for all those who agreed to help with this survey, which is designed to offer us a better resolution of the distribution and regional abundance of deer within the UK, something we urgently need if we are to advise Government and other Agencies on future management.

Although we had hoped that volunteers would undertake their initial field surveys this spring, response to the recent outbreak of Coronavirus and Government guidance suggests that we must postpone this, because of restrictions on movement and non-essential travel.

We hope that circumstances will allow us to start the survey instead, with the autumn walks proposed and roll spring surveys through to the spring of next year 2021.

If you have volunteered to help with the survey, please keep in touch with our technical adviser Charles Smith-Jones and we will hope to contact you again in late summer. In the meantime stay safe at this challenging time

Rory Putman, Chairman, British Deer Society

24 March 2020

Stalking During the Current Covid-19 Government Restrictions

There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether deerstalking is an acceptable activity in the current situation.  The government has given clear instructions that people must stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.

It is the opinion of the BDS that recreational stalking, and its associated travel implications, are not essential and should therefore not take place at the current time.
Professional Stalkers should seek the advice of their employers, line managers or landowners.

We are aware that a number of organisations including SNH, FE and FLS have ceased all culling operations as of today.
The situation remains under constant review and further guidance will be given as appropriate.
To review the latest recommendations and restrictions issued by the UK Government regarding Coronavirus/Covid-19 visit