Wild Land Management Services John Muir Trust
13. Minimise deer impacts

Deer numbers have increased over the last 300 years due to the absence of natural predators such as wolves, while many sporting estates actively maintain a high population of deer. Increased numbers have put more pressure on the habitats that provide deer with food and shelter.

It’s vital to maintain deer numbers at a population level that enables natural regeneration of all habitats within the ecosystem. Cull targets should be based on habitat monitoring and deer numbers.

The culling and extraction of deer can also have adverse impacts on habitats and soils. These can be minimised by hand dragging, using ponies for extraction, leaving carcasses or culling closer to access tracks. Choosing a different route by which to extract can alleviate the pressure on landscape.

Control grazing pressure from deer and livestock
Low impact management


  • Deliver cull targets
  • Engage with local Deer Management Group to deliver cull targets
  • Collect and analyse relevant deer/habitat data