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News archive

19 March 2020

Covid 19 and BDS update

 It was impossible just a few weeks ago to have imagined the extraordinary times we are now in. As a charity and as a company, we are taking each day as it comes whilst also making the best decisions we can to prioritise the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, public and our business.

Fordingbridge staff will be working primarily from home with minimal office presence only for essential tasks. We have cancelled all BDS training courses until the end of July and are offering all booked candidates the opportunity to be transferred to events later this year.
Although we have not yet taken the initiative of withdrawing from Shows, it seems likely that most such events during the coming year, whether national or local, will be cancelled in the light of unfolding government advice. We will, therefore, take the opportunity to review all commitments and be better focused and resourced for the future.
All Society social events, national and local, have been cancelled until further notice, please keep watching the website or email your local branch chairman with any queries.


12 March 2020

Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus: More Samples Please

PHE researcher Maya Holding explains: 

Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) was detected in the UK for the first time in 2019. Many BDS members had a vital role in this discovery through their participation in our 2018-19 deer serosurveillance study investigating the presence of tick-borne viruses in the UK which resulted in this finding. We really appreciate all of the help from those who have previously taken part in the study and all of the members who are currently participating in the subsequent follow-up study.

These samples allow Public Health England (PHE) to conduct research to increase understanding of the prevalence and distribution of TBEV in the areas where we have currently detected the virus and to continue to monitor for any potentially emerging areas elsewhere in the UK.

sample kits

12 March 2020

Forestry Commission’s New Deer Management Team

Following the decision to take deer management work in house from April 2020, the Forestry Commission has appointed Alastair Boston, Jamie Cordery and David Hooton to the Deer Officer posts.

All three already have excellent stakeholder relationships and networks across the deer community, a strong understanding of the issues within their areas plus a wealth of experience. David Jam, currently Executive Director of the Deer Initiative, has been appointed to the post of Deer Advisor to provide national oversight to the deer management work plus the development of policy, regulations and incentives. 

They will all work in co-operation with Forestry England, Natural England and key DI partners to enable collaborative, landscape scale deer management that will make a real difference in reducing the negative impact of deer on woodlands.

forestry commission

09 March 2020

BDS Response to the Deer Working Group Report and Recommendations

The Trustee Directors [the Board] of the British Deer Society and its Scottish Area Council commend the Deer Working Group on their detailed report which is in the main well-presented and attempts a proper and comprehensive review of the published literature relevant to each of the topics considered.

However, there are a number of areas where individual recommendations or the justifications used in support are of some concern or may have unforeseen implications and we would wish to draw the attention of the Cabinet Secretary and the wider committee on Environment, Climate Change and Land reform to these particular points in the accompanying commentary.

07 March 2020

Call for More Volunteers - BDS Survey of Deer Abundance

We have received a great response to this year's new survey of deer abundance, however, we still need more volunteers. As previously reported, this will be our most comprehensive deer survey ever taken and to ensure success we need as many people as possible to get involved!

All that we ask is that you record your visits to a survey area within an allocated 1km square during March/April and August/September making a note of deer signs that you find.  More details can be found here

If you are able to volunteer and assist with this exciting and ambitious project please email Charles Smith-Jones at or contact HQ BDS, giving your name, contact details and postcode plus if you are a member please include your membership number.  We aim to make survey locations as convenient as possible to your home. However, if you would prefer to survey somewhere else that you visit frequently, please let us know.

06 March 2020

BDS Spring Courses

Many of our Spring 2020 courses are now fully booked, but we still have a few places available on the following upcoming courses.

DSC1 Courses

May 2020
Falkirk, Stirlingshire - 16-18 May 2020
Shrewsbury, Shropshire - 23-25 May 2020

05 March 2020

Keep Sending in Your Sightings

While not everyone may be able to assist with our deer abundance survey there is one easy way we can all get involved in building up a better picture of deer distribution in the UK, by using the BDS deer app to regularly report deer sightings.

The app is easy to use and allows you to quickly tag a sighting using a smartphone. The sightings help us to collate data of not only live sightings but also road traffic collisions, deer heard but not seen, harvesting and other non-specific deer deaths. 

Not 100% sure of the deer species? No problem! The app can help with simple deer id tools plus you can always send us a photo with your sighting for our experts to identify.

BDS deer app

05 February 2020

BDS Survey of Deer Distribution & Abundance

Every five years the BDS conducts a survey of deer distribution across the United Kingdom.  The results provide data which is invaluable to national and regional policy makers, researchers, land managers and many others, and, over the years, the resulting maps have built up an essential picture of the fortunes of deer in this country.   

This year will mark our most comprehensive survey yet as we will not just be recording deer presence but also looking to establish actual densities.  To ensure success we need your help.  All that we ask is that you visit a survey area within an allocated 1km square during March/April and August/September and record the deer signs that you find.  pdf More details can be found here (133 KB) .