The Deer Initiative

What we do

Co-ordinating research

Sustainable deer management relies on sound scientific evidence, and one of the roles of the Deer Initiative is to develop the evidence base by reviewing, collecting and, where necessary, commissioning research and evidence-gathering on population dynamics, management methodologies and other fields.

The Deer Research Working Group, chaired by Defra, brings together a range of stakeholders with different perspectives on deer research to reach agreement on future research requirements.

As well as surveys on bovine TB in deer (published in 2008), recent DI supported research includes a study of deer impact assessments conducted for the National Trust, a review of deer density and habitat damage for Defra, and a report for the Deer-Vehicle Collisions project on the effectiveness of the Ecopillar acoustic wildlife warning devices.

We are always interested in improving deer management by developing the application of new technologies and methods. In March 2009, for example, the DI held a seminar in Thetford Forest on the current methods and equipment used in thermal image counting of deer, and in September 2009 we held a field trial to look into using unmanned aerial vehicles for deer surveys. Another key area of research is in reducing deer-vehicle collisions, and one project for 2010 is looking into the use of existing road bridges and underpasses as deer crossings.

One important application of research findings is in developing and improving methods for deer managers, for example on impact assessments and urban deer management, and we hope that work on this will feed into Best Practice in the future.

Another example is in the marketing and promotion of venison, where research projects have been completed for Rockingham Forest and for the East of England (where we have just started a significant follow-up project); and we are continuing work with the National Trust in 2010 to look at ways to get more value and public engagement with venison on the National Trust estate.

The Deer Initiative

By using this site, you agree we can set and use cookies. For more details of these cookies and how to disable them, see our cookies policy