New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
Wildlife composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
***** For information about New Forest access restrictions and related matters, check out the Forestry England website. *****

New Forest deer: obtain closer views - an introduction

Fallow buck during the rut
Fallow buck during the rut

To obtain close views of fallow deer, red deer, roe deer and sika deer in the New Forest requires all the skills of a deer stalker, skills that date back to the earliest times, developed out of necessity when animals were first pursued for food and the hunters needed to combat their quarry’s keen senses of smell, hearing, and sight.

Nowadays, of course, few people of necessity hunt to eat, and stalking deer is no longer the sole preserve of those intent on killing.

In fact, stalking deer is equally important to wildlife photographers, people who wish to study these fascinating creatures and those who simply want a better view. And there are certainly few greater thrills to be had in the countryside than getting close to genuinely wild animals, whether by accident or after a lengthy, harmless pursuit.

The advice outlined here includes general principles for obtaining close views of deer, suggestions for clothing and equipment, and fieldcraft skills. It is unnecessary, though, to slavishly follow all the recommendations, particularly if brief, infrequent, long range views will satisfy. Attention to detail, however, will invariably be rewarded with more frequent, closer and more prolonged sightings.

But always remember, please, to avoid causing disturbance to the deer. This is particularly important in May and June when births take place, and during the rut, the deer’s breeding season and a critical time in their calendar. In particular, always leave the area as quietly as you arrived - after successfully stalking deer, it’s often tempting to relax and walk noisily away, which is likely to concern the deer just as much as a clumsy first approach.

New Forest deer - obtain closer views

New Forest deer - find out lots more

The History of British Mammals: Derek Yalden
Roe Deer: John K. Fawcett, British Deer Society
New Forest Roe Deer: John K. Fawcett
Deer Watch: Richard Prior
Mammals of Britain and Europe: David McDonald, Priscilla Barret
Field Guide to British Deer: F J Taylor Page

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley