Good morning and welcome to The British Deer Society
  • Welcome to

    The British Deer Society

    What do we do? - BDS promotes deer education, research and management best practice to ensure a healthy and sustainable deer population in balance with the environment; a key feature of the biodiversity of the UK landscape.

    What do we do?
  • Welcome to

    The British Deer Society

    Our aim - BDS aims to be the go-to place for objective and unbiased information on the biology of deer and methods of deer management, humane treatment and control.

    Our aim
  • Welcome to

    The British Deer Society

    Research - BDS provides funding and support for high quality deer research to inform government(s), academia, trade organisations, members, the media and the public.

    Our research
  • Welcome to

    The British Deer Society

    Membership - BDS embraces a varied membership ranging from professional biologists, enthusiastic naturalists, keen photographers, wildlife artists and chefs to deer managers and stalkers. All are welcome.

    Join us
  • Welcome to

    The British Deer Society

    Education - BDS aims to improve general education and understanding of all deer-related issues, through active engagement and access to high quality educational materials.

    Our education
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    The British Deer Society

    Training - We develop and deliver high quality training programmes to promote best practice in deer management.

    Our training
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    The British Deer Society

    How can you help us? - Help BDS continue its education and research programme. Secure the future of wild deer in the UK by becoming a member, making a donation, or purchasing from our shop. Thank you for your support.

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Latest News

Changes to Firearms Law

Members should be aware that new measures regarding firearms and deactivated firearms have become effective from 12 December 2019. 

They relate to:

- responsibility for secure storage arrangements in relation to certificate holders under the age of 18. 


In essence, it is now required that where a firearm certificate holder is under the age of 18, arrangements must be made for a person aged 18 or over to assume responsibility for the secure storage of the firearms and ammunition to which the certificate relates. 

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Deer Faecal Sampling for Postgrad Project

Investigating the prevalence of enteric disease agents in UK deer.

A Bristol University Science Student is asking South West and West BDS branch members for help with a project, Sam says: 

There is very little data on the prevalence of diseases in UK deer. Wild deer are a known potential reservoir of transmissible diseases and antimicrobial resistance genes. More recently, farmed deer have also been implicated in outbreaks of foodborne disease. Therefore, deer do pose a risk for disease transmission of livestock and zoonotic diseases. Furthermore, wild deer may be a reservoir for diseases that pose a threat to the health of farmed deer, but it is difficult to assess the risk without knowing if these diseases are common in the wild.

This study aims to address the lack of data on enteric disease agents in the UK wild, farmed, park and zoo deer through a descriptive cross-sectional study. Disease prevalence and the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes will be identified. Management factors will also be assessed to identify any possible associations between these factors and the prevalence of disease agents.

Droppings of red deer By Robert Biedermann

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Government Consultation on Import and Export of Trophies

Members will be aware that the UK Government has launched a consultation on possible changes to regulations affecting the import and export of hunting trophies:

It is clear that this consultation is not about the ethics of trophy hunting per se but concentrates on the implications of trophy hunting in terms of conservation. Most of it is indeed focused on the implications of permitting 'trade' [import-export] of such trophies. It is clear however that changes to the regulations may have significant effect on the economics of many deer management programmes in this country which let some of that management cull to foreign hunters and that further, restriction of that trade might have significant implications for welfare of deer if management culls in the future were less selective or had reduced economic value.  It is probably true that if we put an economic value on something we take more care of it.

The Board has discussed a formal Society response which we will be submitting in due course, but it is apparent that many members may wish to respond to the consultation individually.  The consultation focuses on the selection of options for the future [Question 8, below]. The Board will be recommending as the first choice, option 4 [No change] and as second choice: Option 1  [A ban on trophies of certain species]. We have selected this course for the second option in order to highlight the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of trophies from certain species in relation to the possible spread of diseases of economic importance such as African Swine Fever and Chronic Wasting disease.

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BDS-NI Branch Supports St. Anne’s ‘Black Santa’ Appeal

The British Deer Society’s Northern Ireland branch (BDS-NI) has donated £900 to St Anne’s Cathedral’s ‘Black Santa’ appeal on its opening day in Belfast.

The money was raised at a Gala Game Banquet organised by the Ulster Reform Club for its members and guests. The BDS-NI sponsored the event by donating the sustainably sourced wild venison for the game themed dinner.

Handing over the Gift-Aided donations to Dean Stephen Forde, BDS-NI representative Greg Kane said: “For the seventh year running the branch has sponsored the Ulster Reform Club’s Game Banquet, which is held shortly before the Cathedral’s Christmas Appeal begins.

“This Banquet is a great opportunity to promote the work of the BDS to an informed and influential audience at an event that is deliberately limited to fewer than four dozen attendees. We are the local branch of a national charity and this supports our work to develop peoples’ understanding of the wild deer living in Northern Ireland along with the challenge of both respecting them and ensuring they can live in sustainable balance with their natural habitat”.

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Forthcoming Events

07 February - 09 February
DSC1 Wadhurst Sussex
14 March - 16 March
DSC1 Epping, Essex
03 April - 05 April
DSC1 Laverstoke, Hampshire
17 April - 19 April
DSC1 Okehampton, Devon
17 April - 19 April
DSC1 Newry, Northern Ireland

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