A joint campaign is underway to inform members of the public about the need to give pregnant or nursing deer and their young plenty of space when out enjoying the countryside.
Over the coming weeks, from mid-May to July, people may discover newly born deer hidden in the grass or undergrowth and might mistakenly assume that they have been abandoned. Please do not touch, disturb or move them as usually their mothers will not be far away.
Newly born deer in the grass
It is quite normal for newly born deer to be left hidden in grass and other undergrowth while their mothers feed nearby, returning at intervals to feed and nurse the youngsters until they have the strength to accompany them on their daily routine.
Newly born deer that are disturbed, moved or touched could be abandoned by their mothers – almost certainly resulting in death for the young deer.
Every year fit and healthy newborn deer are taken to rescue centres unnecessarily by people believing that they require assistance. They are extremely difficult to rear successfully and unfortunately many die.
If you are concerned about the safety or wellbeing of any deer, keep your distance and contact a local wildlife rescue organisation.
British Association for Shooting and Conservation
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the British Deer Society have joined forces to raise awareness of this important issue.
James Sutcliffe, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s deer officer, said:
“It is of course exciting finding young deer when out exploring the countryside but touching or moving them can prove fatal. If they are left unable to fend for themselves due to human interference, this almost certainly result in a long and lingering death. If you stumble across a newborn deer hidden away please respect its space and leave it be.”
The British Deer Society is the UK’s foremost deer charity and promotes a healthy and sustainable deer population in balance with the environment. David Macauley, the charity’s chief executive officer, explained:
“Deer are excellent mothers and by far the best suited to rear their own young. Give them space and, no matter how charming a newly born deer may appear, please resist the temptation to stroke or disturb it. Deer are wild animals that are naturally terrified by the scent or close proximity of humans and dogs.”
James Sutcliffe added: “Disturbance of deer and other breeding animals by dogs is known to cause issues and avoidable stress. Dogs should be kept on leads at all times.”
What should you do if you see a baby deer?
When it comes to deer, the organisations are reminding people to:
- Respect both wild and farmed deer.
- Give pregnant deer and new mothers plenty of space.
- Do not touch or disturb newborn deer found alone.
- Keep your dogs on leads.