East Ross DMG News – May 2018

Posted by on Aug 15, 2019 in News and Events | 0 comments

Monitoring deer numbers following a very hard winter              

As part of the Group’s Deer Management Plan, the members have agreed to undertake periodic helicopter counts, in order to accurately record the numbers of deer within the combined acreage of the land they are responsible for.

This an expensive but important management practice and we work closely with Scottish Natural Heritage who co-ordinate and grant aid the operation. The data gathered enables agreed cull targets to be set for each participating estate, to ensure that the deer population and the habitat within which it exists is maintained in good condition.

At our April meeting all present were concerned about the possible effects of the extremely hard winter. Large parts of the higher land upon a number of the estates had been cut off for long periods, and we were keen to get an accurate assessment of how the deer had come through this exceptionally tough time.

Although the Group had not planned another helicopter count for a number of years hence, it was deemed essential on welfare grounds to carry out this unplanned operation. We were again grateful to Scottish Natural Heritage who co-funded the count, and organised the recording of the data collected.

Estate and Forest Enterprise staff on the ground have also checked for mortalities, with inspections on foot. We are still analysing the information gleaned and will adapt the plan once we have all the facts. There is no doubt that the overall condition of the deer suffered. Exhausted stags following the previous year’s rut and hinds in calf could have done without the pressure of such appalling winter conditions.


The dedicated staff who manage their deer numbers so personally have been in regular contact with each other to ensure a collaborative approach continues. Deer have been found in unusual places as they moved to find food and to escape the worst of the snow.


Thankfully spring is here and there is much to look forward to. We are always pleased to discuss any issues of concern to the Community and will continue to publish the Minutes of our regular meetings on our Website should you be interested in the detail of our management work.



Gordon Robertson Secretary and Treasurer to the ERDMG