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Welcome to The British Deer Society

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Learn about British wild deer, stalking, management and deer photography. We are a charity working to enable British wild deer can exist in today's environment and ensure that their future is secure for generations to come. You will find this site full of information, pictures, news and views on many deer related topic. You can book courses, buy books, DVDs, and equipment online - everything you need in one place!


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The British Deer Society Training Manager


An exciting opportunity exists within The British Deer Society, the leading organisation working solely for the welfare of the UK’s wild deer population. BDS provides a highly successful programme of training encompassing the management of deer humanely and using best practice.

Resulting from internal reorganisation BDS wishes to appoint a Training Manager to replace its current manager when he moves to a different role. The new Training Manager will be responsible for taking forward and delivering the existing programme of training and associated activities whilst building on its strengths and expanding through wider and potentially different avenues.

The successful candidate will ideally have considerable deer sector experience preferably within a professional role covering a wide range of technical skills, and will hold DSC1, DSC2 and ideally an Assessor and Internal Verifier Qualification.

The successful candidate will:

  • Be an excellent trainer and leader 

  • Be able to inspire and motivate

  • Be innovative and visionary

  • Be able to develop training curriculum, documentation, manuals and e-delivery

  • Have expertise in training, teaching or instructional methods

  • Have good planning, presentation, time & project management skills

Working from home with significant travel within the UK, a relatively central location will be preferable. A salary in the range £30,000 to £35,000 p.a. depending on experience with vehicle and pension will provide the right candidate with career development within a challenging commercial environment.

Closing date for applications Friday 17thJuly.

Interviews will be held in London on Tues 11th and Wed 12th August.

Click here for:  APPLICATION FORM

Click here for: JOB ROLE



Michael Thick


The British Deer Society (BDS) has elected Michael Thick as its new Chairman.  The Society’s recent Annual General Meeting in Surrey saw Mr Thick, Vice Chairman for the past two years, take over from outgoing BDS Chairman Mark Nicolson who stood down after 14 years at the helm. Current BDS Board members Dorothy Ireland, Philip Mackenzie, Maitland Rankin and Charles Smith-Jones, were also re-elected to their posts.

The BDS Chair heads up the 14 strong Board which directs Society policy and business. Mr Thick, who has been a BDS Board member for the past four years, has contributed extensively to the functions of the Board and has been part of the steering group reviewing the BDS’s aims and activities.

Previously a liver transplant surgeon, professor of genomics at Imperial College London and Chief Clinical Officer at the Department of Health before retirement, Mr Thick has been a keen deerstalker for over 20 years, holding Deer Stalking Certificates 1 and 2, plus BDS Deer Management Course qualifications. He is also a member of two deer management syndicates.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am passionate about deer, their ecology and the science of their welfare. It is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of Mark Nicolson who has been an exceptional Chairman and I am committed to ensuring that the BDS moves forward in a way which harmonises the needs of our membership, the welfare of deer, and particularly the public interest.”



Scotland Notifiable Diseases Points of Contact 

The Agency for this service has recently been re-organised within DEFRA from AHVLA to APHA -  the website is the same, but the points of contact  have been reduced in number.

A “Find the nearest centre to you anywhere in the UK” post code searcher is available at:

http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/postcode/index.asp or go direct to the page of UK addresses at:


Please CLICK HERE for contact details for "District Vet for Notifiable Disease notification"



Tick collection request for Lyme disease study (South Downs)

I am researching Lyme disease/borreliosis (LB) and if you are a deerstalker working in the South Downs National Park (SDNP) your help in collecting ticks from deer culled for other reasons would be much appreciated. The study area stretches from Sussex to Hampshire and includes much of the woods of the western weald as well as the South Downs themselves.

What participation would involve

You will be supplied kits and freepost envelopes to enable you to collect, record and send off the ticks. Once received, ticks will be tested for LB infection. The study will be collecting ticks most months from Feb 2015 to June 2016 but getting involved does not commit you to sending in ticks throughout this period; you can participate as much or as little as you want. Once the study is completed you will be sent a summary and an invitation to an optional free workshop outlining the results and offering practical advice on how to prevent LB, spot symptoms early and access treatment if required.

Why research LB in the South Downs National Park?

LB is transmitted by ticks and if untreated can cause serious disease. Known annual UK LB cases have more than trebled over the last two decades and the SDNP includes two of the ten areas in England and Wales where infection is thought to be most frequent. Those spending significant time in farmland/forestry or having contact with animals from areas with high LB hazard are at greatest risk. Deer have key roles in most UK areas with an LB hazard, but complex systems of other mammals and/or birds are also involved in determining the hazard level. The effect of different UK land management practices on these disease systems is unclear, especially in Southern England.

Get involved

Please get in touch if you would like to participate or have any questions.

Jo Middleton (University of Brighton):  

Deer Aware

Cannock Chase Ranger Robert Taylor and BDS member Joan Brookes next to a new safety sign, marking the start of a new road safety campaign on Cannock Chase, alerting drivers of deer crossing the roads during the short days of winter.

cannock chase signs

Temporary Illuminating Multi-Purpose(TIM) Signs in the New Forest

BDS Wessex branch ongoing campaign for deer warning signs have met with success. Hampshire County Council have been trialling TIM signs both on the A337 and on the A35 during the rut and will be using them again during January/February 2015                                    

road signilluminated sig-resized



The British Deer Society welcomes science on shooting accuracy and wounding rates 

An important study on deer welfare during shooting has been published in the prestigious international science journal PLOS ONE. The peer-reviewed report is titled ‘Factors associated with shooting accuracy and wounding rate of four managed wild deer species in the UK, based on anonymous field records from deerstalkers.’  The report found that shooting accuracy and wounding rates varied between deerstalkers and identified some of the key reasons why. The British Deer Society (BDS) who initiated and conducted the study with scientific support from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, welcomes the results, which confirm many current shooting guidelines as best practice, and identify others that require improvement. 

To maintain high standards of animal welfare when shooting deer, the report's authors recommend shooting from a supported position when the deer is stationary and un-obscured, shooting only without haste and preferably when the target is within 100m. The authors promote the use of a rifle rest and aiming at the heart/lung area rather than the head or neck. They also emphasised the importance of ongoing shooting practice and achieving recognised stalking qualifications, which were found key to accurate shooting. 

BDS Chairman, Mark Nicolson said: “It is encouraging to observe that many current recommended practices are sound and how important this study is for making further improvements to best practice guidance on deer stalking in the pursuance of deer welfare. This of course is the raison d'etre of the Society, and we will be exploring further ways of disseminating the findings of the report into the training and guidance that is already provided by BDS”.

The full report can be found at:



Poaching and Rural Crime

The shooting community are often those most affected by, or witness to rural crime. We provide the eyes and ears of the countryside and often suffer the consequences of rural crime. Poaching can lead to a number of animal welfare issues, serious loss of income from illegal taking of game and fish and the damage which many poachers do to crops and land. Poachers are usually involved with many other rural crimes from theft of dogs and livestock to burglary.

BDS is committed to increasing awareness of poaching as a serious wildlife crime and is looking to build better trust and relationships between the police and local communities with a view to improving prevention activity, intelligence and enforcement success.

BDS is an active member of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime UK (PAW UK) which helps statutory and non-government organisations to work together to combat wildlife crime. Its objectives are to reduce wildlife crime through effective and targeted enforcement, better regulation and improved awareness. Wildlife crime includes offences like poaching, killing or disturbing protected species or damaging their breeding and resting places and illegally trading in endangered species. It is one of the pressures that can push animal and plant species closer to extinction.

Read more here…………….

Poaching pic



Top areas for reported Deer Vehicle Collisions 

Across the UK it's estimated there could be between 40,000 - 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents, resulting in several hundred human injuries and several human fatalities each year.  Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVCs) are very widespread throughout almost all parts of England as well as increasing parts of Wales.


The Deer Initiative’s (DI) research of reported Deer Vehicle Collisions for England and Wales 2008 ­ 2013 has been released listing the top areas:


Collison site map 

Locations of reported deer road casualties and related DVCs (grey stars). The most prominent clusters across the country where highest localised tolls of deer incidents have been recorded per 5km tetrad are highlighted in red. 

The DI together with the Highways Agency is reminding motorists to be ‘Deer Aware’ as collisions between deer and vehicles increase in England and Wales at this time of year. October through to December is considered a high-risk time as many deer will be on the move to and from rutting grounds during the autumn mating season.   

Dr Jochen Langbein, who has been working with the DI on Deer Vehicle Collisions (DVCs) for the past 10 years, said: “Aside from the surge in activity by our three largest deer species (fallow, sika and red deer) during their autumn rut, as days shorten and the clocks go back, peak traffic times also coincide with dawn and dusk when activity of all deer species is at its daily peak”.

For a fuller list of road names or areas with the highest number of DVC reports please visit the Deer Initiative website www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk

Be Deer Aware: Top tips are:

• Be aware that further deer may well cross after the one you may have noticed, as deer will more often move around in groups than alone.

• After dark, do use full-beams when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. BUT, when a deer or other animals is noted on the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the beam may ‘freeze’ rather than leaving the road.

•  Don’t over-swerve to avoid a deer. If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or a ditch could be even worse. An exception here may be motorcyclists, who are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals.

• Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to stop as far in front of the animal(s) as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic.

• Report any deer-vehicle collisions to the police, who will contact the local person who can best help with an injured deer at the roadside. Do not approach an injured deer yourself it may be dangerous.

If you wish to report a Deer Vehicle Collision or to find out more on safety advice please visit www.deeraware.com 



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