ANNUAL SPRING DEER COUNT

Ever since 1991 QDM&CG has organised an annual deer count usually on a morning in early March. The count focusses primarily on assessing Red deer numbers and is undertaken by around 50 - 60 volunteers, each allocated to survey all or a part of one of the 44 different count blocks covering the Quantock Hills and adjacent lower lying land. Other deer species such as roe, fallow or muntjac deer are also recorded if seen, though the large scale nature of the count is less well suited to census the smaller deer species. It is important to note that we do not pretend ever to achieve a complete count of the entire Quantock red deer herd, as some proportion of those within the count area will always be missed in concealing cover, and others - not least some older stags - tend to move well off the hills from late winter onwards until rejoining mixed sex herds in the autumn. The main value of the count undertaken in the same way year on year lies in identifying minimum numbers that remain and as an index of long term population trends. For further background and history of the count and how you may be able to assist - click here.

The 31st annual end of winter deer count took place on Sunday 14th March 2021. With great relief and huge thanks we managed to undertake the 2021 annual deer count! After a lot of background planning and preparation the Quantock Rangers got the go ahead. Timing out of lockdown was on our side – luckily the 2020 count was just in time too! With safe systems in place we negotiated our way through the covid situation. Were the deer aware of the preceding global pandemic? Well they were probably wondering where all the people had gone through the spring and early summer of 2020, the hills were very quiet...but that didn’t last and public numbers increased well beyond expectations through the summer, autumn and winter .  (Read more at Chairman's full 2021 count report) .  In brief, 551 red deer , 155 Roe, and 1 muntjac deer were seen on the day.  The break-down (see below) in the numbers shows a much higher proportion of hinds&calves than stags, with only 54 ‘male’ deer of 1yr or older; although we expect the true number of stags is somewhat higher as some tend to leave the main hill by the spring and can be hidden away in quieter woods. Although the count is primarily designed to record red deer, roe numbers were among the highest seen for several years, with also one sighting of a muntjac. In summary:

Red Deer  seen: 551 ( 497 Hinds & calves of both sexes / 20 Prickets / 19 Young stags / 15 Older Stags)

Other deer seen during the 2021 Spring Count included 155 Roe Deer ; 0 Fallow;  1 Muntjac seen!

Overview graph shows summary results 1995 - 2021.  Click below for fuller pdf reports by years.

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017| 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021

(Click report year above for larger graph versions)

Deer Count 2021