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Deer Distribution Survey

Deer Distribution Survey

Every five years the British Deer Society undertakes a survey plotting the current distribution of all 6 species of deer wild in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and uses it to monitor and record changes from the previous survey to see if the range has changed or expanded. 

Data is collected from various sources. Help is asked not just from BDS’s own members but from everyone with a shared interest including wildlife groups, government departments, the general public and most importantly from the countryside and stalking fraternity who recognise the deer species and can contribute good accurate information.

The mapped results show both overall distribution and changes in the range of the various species over the five years since the last survey.

For the first time reindeer were included in the 2016 survey. As expected, a free-roaming presence was recorded in a limited area of the Scottish Cairngorms, while the remaining reports were of captive animals in zoos, parks, and other collections. This information is being consolidated and expanded on in the Society’s ongoing survey of Enclosed and Captive Deer.

Over the decades the mapped results have been acknowledged as the accredited record of where deer are located wild within the UK. The BDS maps are used widely by scientists, researchers, students, and the media and have appeared in books, scientific publications and been used to illustrate a number of countryside TV programmes.

The survey can now be carried out online, which we hope will ensure wider cross-country participation enabling BDS to produce an even more accurate picture of the presence of deer species across the UK.

Results of the 2016 Deer Distribution Survey  

Please click on a link below to view the mapped results from the 2016 survey for each species:

pdf Chinese water deer (834 KB)
pdf Fallow deer (861 KB)
pdf Muntjac deer (837 KB)
pdf Red deer (850 KB)
pdf Roe deer (808 KB)
pdf Sika deer (843 KB)

pdf More information about the Deer Distribution Survey (445 KB)

Identifying deer

A number of guides have been put together to help you identify deer as you take part in this survey. In addition, you can also download a distribution map poster for each species

Click on a link below to view the guides:

  pdf Chinese water deer guide (4.15 MB)                        pdf Chinese water deer distribution poster (782 KB)
  pdf Fallow deer guide (4.74 MB)                                     pdf Fallow deer distribution poster (831 KB)
  pdf Muntjac deer guide (4.34 MB)                                   pdf Muntjac deer distribution poster (924 KB)
  pdf Red deer guide (3.35 MB)                                         pdf Red deer distribution poster (772 KB)
  pdf Roe deer guide (3.01 MB)                                       pdf Roe deer distribution poster (877 KB)
  pdf Sika deer guide (5.69 MB)                                         pdf Sika deer distribution poster (715 KB)