A joint campaign is underway to educate members of the public into giving pregnant deer and their young plenty of space when out enjoying the countryside.

Every year fit and healthy newborn deer are taken to rescue centres unnecessarily by people believing that they require assistance.

Newborn deer that are disturbed, moved or touched could be abandoned by their mothers – almost certainly resulting in death for the young deer.

The truth is that newborn deer are left hidden and camouflaged in grass and undergrowth, while their mothers feed nearby. The mothers will naturally return to the young every couple of hours to feed and nurse the youngsters up until they have the strength to accompany them on their daily routine.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the British Deer Society have joined forces to raise awareness of this important issue.

James Sutcliffe, BASC’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.

“The human smell can easily cause the mother to abandon the young deer. Unable to fend for themselves, the action will 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.”

David McAuley, British Deer Society CEO, commented: “This is such an important message and one the BDS has been campaigning about for a number of years. We are delighted to join forces with BASC to raise even greater awareness. Protecting young and pregnant deer is something we can all do by giving them the space they need and keeping dogs under control.”

Just as humans can cause issues, so too can dogs. As part of the campaign dog owners are being warned to keep their dogs on leads to avoid them chasing pregnant deer, disturbing new-borns or risk being attacked by a new mother.

James Sutcliffe added: “Deer are highly protective of their young and dogs are often attacked or chased if they come too close to them. 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.”

When it comes to deer, BASC and the British Deer Society 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.

Notes to Editors:

Please credit the photograph to Charles Newman.

BASC is the UK’s largest shooting organisation, with a membership of over 150,000.

BASC’s mission is to promote and protect sporting shooting and advocate its conservation role throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • To represent members’ interests by providing an effective and unified voice for sustainable shooting sports.
  • To benefit the community by providing education, promoting scientific research and advocating best practice in firearms licensing, habitat conservation, and wildlife and game management.
  • To promote the benefits of game as food.

For more information, visit www.basc.org.uk

British Deer Society (BDS)

  • The BDS is the leading UK source of objective and unbiased information on the biology of deer and methods of deer management, humane treatment and control.
  • Supporting and funding for academic research about deer and their relationship with the habitats they occupy.
  • Advising government and key public bodies on deer-related issues – ensuring that politicians and decision makers have evidence and advice base on practical and factual information.
  • Campaigning on a range of deer welfare and sustainability issues working closely with other countryside and animal welfare organisations.
  • BDS aims to improve general education and understanding of all deer-related issues.
  • Promoting & Improving awareness, education and understanding of deer and deer related issues, through active engagement and access to high quality educational materials.