On Saturday 7th September 2019 The Deer Initiative held a successful Carcass Handling Best Practice training event at Pry Rigg near Sutton Bank in Yorkshire, offering delegates the opportunity to develop techniques and maintain standards to ensure quality venison is produced from all culled wild deer.
Forestry England kindly provided their larder and two highly trained members of staff, Nigel Foster a Wildlife Manager and Arman Siddiqui, Wildlife Beat Ranger for the area. Nigel and Arman demonstrated the various aspects of lardering a deer, along with techniques for extracting deer from different locations using a range of equipment.
Photo by Alastair Boston
"Wildlife reflectors do not alter the behavior of ungulates to reduce risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions" finds EJWR paper.
Collisions of vehicles with wildlife pose a serious risk to humans and animals, causing great financial and ecological damage each year.
While various mitigation measures have been developed, only a few are economically and logistically feasible. Among these, wildlife warning reflectors arguably enjoy the greatest popularity, although recent studies have shown that they have no long-term impact on wildlife-vehicle collisions or on the behavior of animals along roads.
The EJWR study reports that ungulates were more likely to leave the roadside area with reflectors present. However, this effect only lasted 16.5 days and did not influence the risk of a collision with a vehicle.
Deer vehicle collisions are not only an ongoing issue in the UK as highlighted by recent events in Lapland.
A dozen soldiers were hospitalised in Lapland when an armoured transport vehicle swerved to avoid a reindeer and hit another military vehicle.
In the late summer, up to 340,000 reindeer can be found in Lapland, and pose a real risk for drivers, especially as they are not afraid of motor vehicles. These deer travel long distances to find food, frequently venture out on the roads to escape mosquitoes that fall on the region's forests.
Schomburgk’s deer where once widespread in Thailand, but overhunting was thought to have caused the species extinction. With the last known Schomburgk’s deer dying in captivity in 1938.
However, antlers found in 1990 in Laos suggest the species might have survived and could even be alive today.
The 1991 photograph of a Schomburgk’s deer’s antlers. (Credit: Laurent Chazée via Northwestern U.)
The Scottish Government has confirmed, it will fund baseline research to help Scotland’s venison producers and processors better understand the UK venison market, its challenges, and opportunities.
Normalising the shooting of deer at night will have long term implications for their welfare and distribution says Scotland’s deer managers who want to be consulted on new control methods.
Public agencies are considering thermal and night vision equipment with a view to potentially legalising its use for lowering deer numbers. Shooting deer at night is prohibited in Scotland unless authorised by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and is not legal in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Denmark or Austria.
However, The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) believe Scotland’s iconic deer are already changing their behaviour due to being targeted by controllers in darkness. Applications to SNH to control deer at night to protect forestry have risen by over 300 percent in the last decade, as public agencies move from fencing as a management solution.
The Woodland Creation and Ecological Networks (the WrEN project) is about to begin a new project using camera traps to look at the impact of deer on biodiversity in WrEN project woodlands - with funding from BDS.
The work will be carried out by researchers in the faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling.
In Graubünden in eastern Switzerland, drones with thermal imaging cameras have spotted and rescued 450 newborn deer hidden in meadows and pastures due to be harvested.
Throughout the season across the area, the drones flew around 1,100 missions coordinated by BKPJV, saving 450 fawns during pre-harvest inspections using thermal cameras.