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ABOUT THE DEER SURVEY

As wild deer are secretive and notoriously difficult to count accurately, recording their physical presence is a far better alternative, which allows the British Deer Society to identify trends in spread or decline. This year, for the first time, the presence of wild boar has been added so we can start to monitor their distribution, since the species was reintroduced to the UK.

The BDS deer distribution maps are made freely available and are widely used by scientists, researchers, students and the media.

The survey is normally run every five years and over time the Deer Society has built up a picture of how our deer species distribution has changed. The maps are not created or used for the purpose of culling deer. We purposely print the maps using a grid system no smaller than 10km squares to keep exact deer locations protected.

The deer survey is a citizen science project, meaning everyone is welcome to take part. Resources are available to assist with identification and results are verified before any new maps are produced.

For the 2022 distribution survey, the British Deer Society is working in partnership with the Mammal Society.

See below to find out how you can help

HELP WITH THE 2022 DEER DISTRIBUTION SURVEY

UK grid map

Do you have a love or interest in deer?

If the answer is yes then please lend us your support by taking part in this year’s Deer Distribution Survey. Your contribution would be valued and appreciated.

The current survey is running from 7 February 2022 to 30th June 2022.

All you need to do is send us any sightings or signs of wild deer or boar in your local area during the survey period using one of three methods:

Reports should include:

  • Date/Time
  • Location (ideally a grid reference or something simple like What3Words)
  • Species
  • Number (if known)
  • Observations (this can include more details about the age, sex or other notes related to the sighing).
  • A photo (very helpful to confirm report. If reporting tracks or signs be sure to use a coin or ruler to give scale and size)

Both the Mammal Mapper and BDS Deer App make reporting very easy and also include information of species identification. There are additional resources available on the Mammal Society and BDS websites.

For help identifying wild boar please download the following: https://www.mammal.org.uk/sites/default/files/Wild%20boar%20Field%20Sign%20Guide%20PDF.pdf

Once all the reports have been gathered they will be verified and initial maps created for review. Once the maps have been reviewed and final checks completed, we hope to release the new maps in the autumn/winter of 2022.

Mammal Mapper App

Mammal Mapper is a FREE app designed by the Mammal Society to enable you to record signs and sightings of mammals in the UK. Mammals can be recorded along a route whilst you are walking/running/cycling or even a passenger in a car, or as a one-off sighting, for example, a deer in your garden.

The deer survey mapped results show both overall distribution and changes in the range of the various deer species. Over the decades, the mapped results have been acknowledged as the accredited record of where deer are located wild within the UK.

The British Deer Society maps are used widely by scientists, researchers, students, and the media and have appeared in books, scientific publications and been used by several popular countryside and wildlife shows.

The 2016 the survey included reindeer.   However, a free-roaming presence was recorded in only a limited area of the Scottish Cairngorms. In view of this, the BDS made the decision not to continue to report on reindeer during the next survey period.

In addition to the deer distribution survey, the BDS also holds data on any captive deer in zoos, parks, and other collections. You can find more information on this survey here Enclosed and Captive Deer.

Download the Free Mammal Mapper App

SURVEY MAPS SHOWING THE CHANGING DEER PICTURE

The deer survey mapped results show both overall distribution and changes in the range of the various deer species. Over the decades, the mapped results have been acknowledged as the accredited record of where deer are located wild within the UK.

The British Deer Society maps are used widely by scientists, researchers, students, and the media and have appeared in books, scientific publications and been used by several popular countryside and wildlife shows.

The 2016 the survey included reindeer.   However, a free-roaming presence was recorded in only a limited area of the Scottish Cairngorms. In view of this, the BDS made the decision not to continue to report on reindeer during the next survey period.

In addition to the deer distribution survey, the BDS also holds data on any captive deer in zoos, parks, and other collections. You can find more information on this survey here Enclosed and Captive Deer.

Results of the Deer Distribution Survey

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

Identifying deer

Each species of deer has unique characteristics that can help you identify them even from a distance. Our 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

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