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 - 70 volunteers, each allocated to survey all or a part of one of the 52 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 re-joining 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. See here for further background and history of the count. 

The 32nd annual end of winter deer count took place on Sunday 06th March 2022.  The total number of Red Deer counted rose this year to 676 (from 551 in 2021). However, as noted in last year's report it had been surprising not to find much of an increase already in 2021, given very low venison prices and significantly reduced culling. The 2021 had also been cold, with snow flurries in the northern end of the hills, and this may have led deer not to venture out into the open, so not revealing a potential earlier increase. At 676 in early March 2022, red deer numbers remained within the 500 to 700 band counted in the great majority of past years.  (Read more at Chairman's full 2022 count report) . Although the count is primarily designed to record red deer, roe numbers seen (175) were among the highest seen for several years, with also one sighting of a young sika stag. In summary:

Red Deer  seen: 676 ( 574 Hinds & calves of both sexes / 29 Prickets / 59 Young stags / 14 Older Stags)

Other deer seen during the 2022 Spring Count included 175 Roe Deer ; 0 Fallow;  0 Muntjac ; and 1 Sika Stag !

Overview graph shows summary results 1994 - 2022.  Click below for fuller pdf reports by years.

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017| 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022

(Click report year above for larger graph versions)

Deer Count 2022