close icon


We are looking to collect information on deer density in a selection of sites around the country.

By linking abundance data with various characteristics of the surrounding habitat and landscape structure, we will also seek to identify relationships between deer density and environmental character in each area.

This survey will enable the British Deer Society to fill any gaps in our sampling and to extrapolate the density and abundance of
deer across the whole country.

As wild deer are secretive and notoriously difficult to count accurately, recording their physical presence allows us to identify trends in spread or decline.


woodland in Scotland by lbradxx

Each volunteer is allocated a map square (1km square) close to where they live. The aim is to sample randomly within a number of different environments, rather than specifically target areas where we know deer are present.

Volunteers are asked to select at least one woodland within or partly within their allocated 1km square. The wood may be large or small, may have high densities of deer, low density, or no deer at all. They are then asked to visit the woodland and conduct a survey a number of times at the end of winter (during March/April) and again in late summer (August/September).

As woodlands often change and with the prospect of many new tree planting schemes volunteers are encouraged to amend their maps to show any changes and should also mark boundaries, the type of woodland and any crops.  This will provide background habitat data to correlate with observed deer numbers/density.

BDS provide each volunteer with a map, full instructions and survey sheet. Volunteers are welcome to survey more than one woodland area and this would be a great project for a local wildlife group or family to get involved with.

Volunteer for the abundance survey

To volunteer for the abundance survey please email giving your name, contact details and home county & postcode.

We aim to provide survey locations that are convenient for our volunteers and we encourage anyone volunteering to let us know if they have a preferred survey area. To suggest an area please include the grid reference or What3Words location tag in your email.

Identifying deer

watching by Kenneth SchulzeBanner

Each species of deer has unique characteristics that can help you identify them even from a distance. Our free Deer app includes an overview of each species as well as photographs for you to use as a reference.

For more help identifying the six species of deer, you can download our deer species guides and posters.

Click on a link below to view the guides and posters:

Large Deer Species Posters
Small Deer Species

Your choice regarding cookies on this site. We use cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience.