Rising deer population on Cannock Chase leads to calls for a cull as rutting season starts

The deer population on Cannock Chase has massively increased during the pandemic and a large cull could be imminent.

Rutting stags
Rutting stags

Staffordshire conservationist Neil Thomas is demanding action taken before people take the matter into their own hands and deer are put in danger.

He said: "Cannock Chase is the smallest area of natural beauty in the country and it does not take long for the deer numbers become dangerously high. There will need to be a cull and soon.

"There are not many hunters around here to keep the numbers down but this problems cannot just be ignored."

The British Deer Society helps manage the deer population across the country.

A spokesman said: "In the absence of natural predation it falls to people to manage the ever-growing deer populations, but to manage them with care, with respect and with deference to scientific knowledge and research.

"While deer management usually means culling to a plan which replicates a similar impact to that of natural predation. Deer management is more than just culling and can take into account a number of factors and methods to ensure deer populations remain healthy and in balance with their environment.

"Culling deer carries great responsibility and one of the British Deer Society’s founding principles is the promotion of humane control using the appropriate tools and within best practice guidelines."

Rutting season is also underway when stags fight for the right to mate with females and motorists have been warned to be vigilant around deer.

Forestry England is asking people to stay out of small areas of Wyre Forest until October 31 to give the deer population some space. These areas have been identified by an expert wildlife ranger, and signage has been installed to advise visitors in areas where they should not continue further.

A Forestry England spokesperson said: "Wyre Forest is a great place to see deer in their natural environment, but it is important to remember that they are wild animals and should be treated with respect. The rut is an amazing natural spectacle to witness, but people shouldn’t get too close. Please follow all signs you see in the forest and make sure you stick to the paths.

"If you do come across any deer, keep your distance and ensure your dogs are under close control.” Prior to and during the rut, you may see male deer (bucks) groaning, walking parallel to each other and even fighting. It can be quite a sight, but it can also be dangerous as the bucks are full of testosterone. The normally peaceful forest is turned into a battlefield as each male tries to show his dominance."

As deer are more active during mating season, traffic collisions involving deer are more common around this time. People should drive with caution on the roads around the forest, particularly in the early mornings and evenings. Some road safety tips can be found on the Forestry England website - www.forestryengland.uk/article/deer-rutting-season-wyre-forest.

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