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Deer

Fallow deer stag standing in long grass.  © Neil Tysall/RSPCA photolibrary

It’s thought there are more than two million deer living in the UK.


There are six species; red and roe deer are native to the UK, whereas fallow, Chinese water deer, muntjac and sika deer are all non-native and were introduced.


Deer play an important part in woodland ecosystems, but in some areas deer are thought to represent a threat to biodiversity through over-browsing. Deer numbers appear to be increasing due to increasing woodland cover, agricultural changes and milder winters


How can I deter deer from my land?

Although many people enjoy having an opportunity to see deer close by, others may not welcome deer on their land, as they can cause damage to plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.


Browsing can help maintain plant diversity in woodlands, but over-browsing can have a negative effect. In some areas deer have eaten the bushes that form the woodland understory, resulting in a loss of cover for nesting birds.


The British Deer Society has advice about deterring deer from lowland gardens; alternatively visit Natural England’s website.


If you have unwanted deer on your land, contact your local Deer Liaison Officer for help.


Is it legal to shoot deer?

Visit the Deer Initiative website for a summary of wild deer legislation.


Deer management 

Because deer can range over wide areas, land managers need to co-operate with their neighbours and local deer management groups. We are a partner in the Deer Initiative, which works towards having a sustainable and well-managed wild deer population in England and Wales.


Avoiding collisions

Sadly more than 74,000 deer are involved in collisions with vehicles each year. Our deer collision fact sheet (PDF 664KB) provides more information and tips on how to avoid collisions. Further information can be found by visiting the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project.


To find out how we care for injured deer, take a look at our rehabilitation and wildlife centre pages.


If you’re involved in an accident with an animal and are unsure what to do, call us on 0300 1234 999.


Find out what to do with an injured or sick deer or if you are concerned about a lone baby deer.