Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Field Sports Scotland

Hunting and Field Sports in Scotland

Snow Day Woop Woop but poor Deer

Snow days man I love them , Where I stay in the Highlands of Scotland it is common to have a few weeks of snow during the winter due the altitude I live at. Over the last few years the winters have been mild bringing the worst of the worst winter storms with heavy wind and rain and hurricane style weather that causes a lot of disruption. When the snow is here however it is far easier to deal with, things are a lot calmer and more peaceful and the working conditions are perfect between the blizzards. Deer Populations Struggle However the snow really takes its toll on the deer population of the Highlands, with prolonged snow the deer dehydrate very quickly due to getting most of their fluids from the food they eat, when they have to rely on drier food such as bark from trees they do not get the moisture they need to survive so it in inevitable that you get mass death. What is hit the hardest is the hinds as many will refuse to come off the hill to feed in the lower levels or at feeding stations that some Estates provide for the deer. 12715855_10205765373562234_3209277053345838748_o Condition of the deer though over the last few years in places have been very good but there are pockets where the deer population has increased due to the unusually mild winters that the condition of the deer has been very poor due to over grazing and lack of natural culling. I personally have seen this in regards to the Sika population in the areas I control them. In some areas the deer I am taking into the larder are in beautiful condition producing some good weights and showing some very nice fat but in other areas the weights of some of the hinds are very close to Roe deer weights, which is very poor. The areas I find that has the poorest conditions are those areas that have an abundance of Sika, so the competition for food is hard. 12719105_10205765383282477_2339943566063301641_o What can we do to help this? A more concentrated management and cull program would help and possibly the introduction of outlying feeding stations on areas of your grounds that you do not perform culls on, but, this has been a problem that has never changed and the deer population do bounce back in some areas very quickly. 12719116_10205765367682087_1569000689148968894_o (1) On the up side As feeding programs persist all over and the chance to catch up on some pest control, work does not stop for everyone, but the work is a little bit more enjoyable in the snow, well for me it is. It is very important to remember to wrap up warm and be prepared and remember your basic field-craft when working in it. Stay safe and have fun.   Happy Hunting.