British Deer Society support island’s deer

Isle of Wight Deer – a Position Statement from the British Deer Society

The British Deer Society understands that the Isle of Wight Biodiversity Group wishes to designate the Island as a ‘deer-free zone’.
Red and Roe deer can be considered indigenous to the Island and, despite periods of absence, both species are continually recorded as swimming to the Island from the mainland. Their presence may therefore be considered to be natural and part of a rich biodiversity. Our ancient woodlands were shaped in the presence of deer, and browsing by deer is an important and beneficial factor in creating diverse woodland structure. As wild deer, these species have a clear entitlement to remain within their natural range and it is manifestly inappropriate to write them out of the Island’s natural history. If management is required, then both species are readily managed with human intervention.
Fallow deer have been present on the mainland for centuries and are now considered by many to be a naturalised species. If they too have arrived on the Island by natural means, then their presence must also be recognised and appropriate management techniques employed.
Sika deer have also been recorded as swimming to the Island. Sika were a C19th introduction to the UK and where Red and Sika are present in low numbers the chances of hybridisation are increased. The threat to the purity of native Red deer may have a bearing on the approach to the management of this species, much in line with that of the Scottish government.
It is almost certain that any record of the presence of Chinese Water Deer or Muntjac deer on the Island would be the result of illegal human intervention.
Under UK Law, responsibility for the management of deer lies with individual landowners and there is no legal or moral basis for designating the Island a ‘deer-free zone’. The presence of wild deer should be recognised for the many benefits they bring and any future management should be based on a properly conceived management plan using the model of ‘best practice’.

For periodic updates please email, thank you for your interest and support
External links that you may find interesting:-
Background information on the island’s deer – Isle of Wight Deer
Photos of deer on the island – Isle of Wight Deer Album
The British Deer Society – BDS 


Isle of Wight Deer Survey update(2)

An emerging picture

When we launched the Isle of Wight Deer Survey in 2015 we embarked on a voyage of discovery to learn more about the deer living in the wild on the island. Following on from what we learnt last year (see update 1) we have been pleased by the interest shown by the general public and have received some very good detailed responses and occasionally photographs as well.

Species present

Red and Roe, Fallow and Muntjac have all been seen on the island in recent years whilst Sika and Chinese Water Deer appear to be absent.
Sika are frequently seen along the western shores on the mainland side of the Solent, including Hurst Spit just a mile off our own shores. It was this species that colonised the Arne Peninsular after swimming across Poole Harbour from Brownsea Island.
Chinese Water deer have been seen in both the New Forest and near to Chichester on the mainland but unlike other deer species they are not keen swimmers.

Where they may be found

Wild deer continue to be seen dispersed across the island, both singly and in groups with immature and mature animals having been observed. Although not numerous Red and Muntjac deer are the species most often encountered.

Environmental impacts

Deer at modest densities are known to be  beneficial to the environment and increase biological diversity,  our survey has received no details of any adverse deer impacts on the island.

The survey

IW Deer Conservation would like to express their gratitude to all those that have chosen to participate in the survey so far. To help us to build up as comprehensive a picture as possible about the island’s deer further participation in the Isle of Wight Deer Survey from individuals, businesses and other organisations is most welcome.

For periodic updates please email, thank you for your interest and support

External links that you may find interesting:-
Background information on the island’s deer – Isle of Wight Deer
Photos of deer on the island – Isle of Wight Deer Album

Red deer yearling

Isle of Wight Deer Conservation

Isle of Wight Deer Conservation Aims and Principles

Deer have been re-emerging in the wild on the island since the 1970’s with evidence of both of the native species, Red and Roe, being reported and also the introduced species, Fallow and Muntjac. With good populations of Sika along the northern shores of the western Solent it would not be surprising to see them here too.
The presence of deer in the countryside can add greatly to people’s enjoyment of it and the Isle of Wight is no exception to this. We believe that competently managed wild deer can be a positive asset to the island’s biodiversity and economy.
Isle of Wight Deer Conservation was founded in 2015 by a group of qualified deer managers, farmers and landowners interested in maintaining a sustainable population of deer in the wild on the Isle of Wight, ethically managed within the principles of Best Practice.

Deer management goes far beyond simply culling animals and it is the aim of our group to record and exchange details of deer sightings, numbers and species, their age range and any resulting impacts that they may be having on agriculture and the environment.

With this knowledge based approach to local deer conservation and management it is our intention to assist our supporting landowners in keeping stable populations of deer at the modest densities known to be beneficial and by helping to mitigate any adverse localised deer impacts that may occur to agriculture or sensitive environments.
If you support the aims and principles of Isle of Wight Deer Conservation and wish to learn more about deer in the wild on the island please visit Isle of Wight Deer or email us at



Red deer hind in woodland