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We collect deer sighting reports from various sources including our BDS deer app. The app is free and allows anyone to record and send us a deer sighting.

As wild deer are secretive and notoriously difficult to count accurately, recording their physical presence allows us to identify trends in spread or decline.

In addition, alongside our regular survey, we are also conducting a more comprehensive survey looking to deer abundance to establish actual densities.

The abundance survey volunteers visit a survey area within an allocated 1km square during Spring and Autumn and record the deer signs that they find.


UK map

Everyone can help with the British Deer Society deer survey including BDS members, wildlife groups, organisations, and the general public.

If you have a smartphone you can install our free deer app. The app has information on the deer species to help with identification and an easy report a deer sighting tool.

Even if you are not sure of the species you can simply snap a photo and attach this with your sighting and we can help identify the deer.

If you don’t have a smartphone you can still take part. Simply email your sighting including the date. time, location, species, number of deer and any observations to

Download the Free BDS Deer App

How to record a deer sighting on the go

In the video below our Deer Officer Glyn Ingram shows just how easy it is to send BDS a deer sighting using our free deer app.

How to send a sighting from a different location 

In the video below our Deer Officer, Glyn Ingram shows just how to send us a deer sighting from a different location to the one where you saw the deer.


The deer survey mapped results show both overall distribution and changes in the range of the various species over the five years since the last survey.

For the first time reindeer were included in the 2016 survey. As expected, a free-roaming presence was recorded in a limited area of the Scottish Cairngorms, while the remaining reports were of captive animals in zoos, parks, and other collections. This information is being consolidated and expanded on in the Society’s ongoing survey of Enclosed and Captive Deer.

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 to illustrate several countryside TV programmes.

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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