Massive cull of UK deer called for by farmers.

image: Brian Stone

If you come from a country like South Africa or Australia you could be forgiven for being a little perplexed as to why people make such a fuss over the UK’s Autumn & Springwatch TV programmes. There is a lot about birds, seals, badgers, foxes, field mice and of course … deer.  There’s not a lot else to talk about whereas in your countries you’re obviously spoilt for choice.

Well, in walks the so-called Deer Intiative. This is a thinly disguised grouping of hunting organisers, farmers and venison/game entrepreneurs. They have been on the radio this week proposing a 20% cull of the UK deer population. That population is estimated at 2 million. Hmm, so they would like to see 400,000 taken out.

Farmers are complaining that their crops are being ‘raided’. Holes made by deer in their fields are upsetting them. About 10 people a year are killed when involved in a road accident with a deer crossing a road.

Never fear The Deer Initiative has an ingenious solution; make money from hunting sportsmen paying top dollar to shoot the deer, then sell the venison locally and to markets overseas. That’s alright then.

Maybe a seal initiative will soon be set up to replicate the idea. Soon there will be nothing to shoot … on film for Springwatch.

This entry was posted in Business, Food & Agriculture, Nature & Conservation, Sport, Sustainablity, UK, Wildlife and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Massive cull of UK deer called for by farmers.

  1. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    It’s always a problem to keep wildlife populations under control when their natural predators have been removed from the picture. This problem becomes even more challenging when pressure from growing human populations is added to the equation. Our law makers struggle with it every year or three in this area, where urban sprawl in butting up against agricultural areas, and even though there is still plenty of surrounding land where to which the wildlife can flee, balancing hunting and wildlife preservation is still a major struggle. Given the small area y’all have available, I think you deserve a round of applause for having any deer, or other large wild animals, left at all.

    On the other hand, one way that we have found is practical to raise funds for maintaining wildlife preserves – and we have more land area invested in those than y’all have in total – is to devote most of the revenue generated from hunting permits to wildlife conservation programs. It turns out that hunters, most of whom are smart enough to know that if they want to have a chance at shooting a deer next year, they need to kick in a few extra bucks (our slang term for dollars which is mildly funny in this context) toward maintaining the balance between a stable and healthy deer population and their desire to test their hunting skills. This also works, over here, where sport fishing is concerned. Heck, we have a modest number of people, me for one, who buy a hunting/fishing license every year even though we know we won’t use it.

    If you want to see examples of how well this approach can work, do a search on Ducks Unlimited or Trout Unlimited.

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    Hey Grit

    Certainly understand and appreciate what you’re saying there Grit. The Deer Initiative are just being very silly in proposing such a sudden massive rise in culling numbers. They should have released their proposal on April fools.

    As you know we here in the UK have little wildlife to celebrate so many of us are just a touch sensitive on the subject these days. I do however have respect for those folk that can kill their own food, rather than pick it up at the super f-ing market.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    The 20% cull figure is in line with current cull levels. See a 2003 DEFRA study at
    Deer are a problem, and recent warmer winters are making it worse. They are at the centre of a conservation dilemna. Their natural habitat is woodland and scrubland, and their presence is a nightmare for conservation people who want to maintain what’s left of our ancient woodland. Deer are not an endangered species. They are toughh, adaptable and breed like… well, deer. The danger is that their populations will grow by expanding their range. Observed growth in deer-related RTAs is partly explained by increased deer populations in urban and suburban areas.
    And what do we mean by deer anyway? We have 6 species, 3 of which are very recent introductions. The muntjak has the fastest-growing population, and is rapidly acquiring the status of an invasive alien species. There are problems with inter-breeding, leading to ‘infection’ of our native populations. Muntjak and sika have been added to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act prohibiting their release into the wild. Please let’s get away from the cute and cuddly Bambi image, and accept that deer are a problem that needs to be addressed.

  4. matt says:

    Deer are not an endangered species. They are tough, adaptable and breed like… well, deer.

    Humans are also ‘tough, adaptable and breed like’ …well, humans. Is there a twenty percent cull in the offing?

  5. the Grit says:

    Hi matt,

    I’m thinking it’s going to be higher than 20%. We, as in all of us humans, are living on the edge now, so big economic problems and any one of the major wars that are brewing could easily disrupt global production of basic necessities and distribution of the same, making it not all that unlikely for one fifth of the world population to die from disease, war, and starvation. Merry Christmas 🙂

    the Grit

  6. James says:

    Hunting isn’t always the answer. I’ve been using Deer Off and it’s worked really well to stop deer from coming onto my property and causing damage. I got a good deal on it from All you need to do is sign up for the newsletter and you get 10% off. Plus the stuff lasts a really long time.

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