Yearly deer cull

The annual deer cull in Bushy Park will start at the beginning of September and November for approximately five weeks.

During this time the park will be closed overnight to the public Sunday evening to Friday morning (pedestrian gates closed from 10:30pm to 8:00am) so make note of the times if especially if you are an early riser for morning walk/jog or you use the park to commute at these times.

The 1000 acre park has approximately 400 deer and park managers have to balance the needs of the deer with those of visitors. To maintain the optimum deer welfare, numbers are kept in check each year with the male cull in September and females in November.

The main aim is to ensure that the number of deer doesn’t grow to exceed the food available – in turn causing malnutrition and lack of body fat for warmth during the winter months. The focus is usually on elderly deer (teeth are sometimes so worn down that they can no longer graze) and those with imperfections which could lead to birth defects in future generations.

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14 thoughts on “Yearly deer cull

  • 28th September 2009 at 16:47
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    What I find absolutely appalling is the lack of public outcry in the local area about the deer cull, surely there are alternatives? We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers, so why has no campaign been set up against this?
    I would like to hear from anyone else who opposes it, and I am trying to get together information on alternative options.

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  • 1st September 2010 at 19:12
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    Deer killing time again and the main aim is to ensure meximum profits from the sale of venison – that’s what they won’t tell you!
    Deer will only breed to suitable numbers for their given environment, if left alone they will self-regulate their numbers and birth rates will drop as the park gets more full. The cull is unnecessary, and if numbers do get unmanageable non-lethal methods such as immuno-contraceptives should be possible as they have been used in areas of the US with success (but might not be necessary), or relocation should also be investigated.
    The deer have not been allowed to self-regulate, but it is surely worth a try. I am quite sure it is not being tried due to the profit from the venison – it’s hardly rocket science to work this out..

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  • 22nd September 2010 at 09:50
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    I am absolutely disgusted that not enough deer are being killed. The park is over run with them and they are dangerous! Last year alone they killed 14 dogs. Everywhere I turn there are groups of deer, isn’t this supposed to be a park to walk dogs and for children to play, I saw a deer attack a man last week for no reason other than he happened to walk along the path next to them. Hopefully this year the people doing the cull will do their jobs properly and get rid of a lot more than last year!

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    • 17th August 2011 at 00:02
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      Deer are mainly only wary of people when they have babies. All the locals using Bushy Park know this as there are signs up telling you not to go near the deer during the summer months when they are rearing their young because mothers will always try and protect their young, same as people. I myself was walking past them today and they started walking towards me, but only because one of the young had rushed up to investigate and the mothers were worried I was a threat. They barked at me and I walked on. I got the message. If I hadn’t stopped to look at them and just walked on, I’m sure they’d have ignored me, but as I was stood looking at them, they didn’t know what my intentions were. Don’t think a bright red top helped either. The deer are a main reason I go to Bushy Park. They are beautiful creatures. I think we are very fortunate to have this park on our doorstep. I can’t say I like dogs though. They mess everywhere and you always have to watch your step, even in the park, less you tread in it. Not nice.

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  • 22nd September 2010 at 11:03
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    Don’t be so stupid and callous! There is lots of room for more deer! I went on a deer walk and we hardly saw any of the deer, their numbers are kept so low! People should keep their dogs under control, if they allow their dogs to worry the deer what do they expect to happen? Actually a few irresponsible owners should be prosecuted to set an example to others. Of course I am very sorry for the poor dogs but as usual people are the ones to blame for being irresponsible around wild animals who have a right to be there as it is their home while we are merely guests.
    Did you know the more they kill the faster they breed? Do you know nothing about how wild populations breed more after a cull?
    This is the rutting season so it’s common sense to keep away from them especially at this time of year.
    Royal Parks own website says
    “The deer are wild animals, so never try to touch or feed them. Always keep a respectful distance, especially if you have a dog.”
    Good advice.

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  • 22nd September 2010 at 12:19
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    I could not agree more with Lesley, what a ridiculous statement to make. If Sarah Smith is so discriminatory toward Deer maybe she needs to find a concrete barren yard to walk in.

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  • 22nd September 2010 at 13:47
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    I think a little common sense is required here. The park is HOME to a number of deer. We are just VISITORS when we go to Bushy Park. And as visitors we must respect the wildlife there. Guidelines are provided by the Park’s website which we ignore at our peril. I am saddened that some dogs have been killed there (probably because they were harassing the deer) but am really angered that these magnificent deer are being murdered, presumably for huge monetary rewards. Shameful!

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  • 22nd September 2010 at 20:05
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    Hi all, since writing this article I’ve got more info from talking to various people connected with the park and feedback from talks held by Friends of Bushy and Home Parks.

    As mentioned above, one of the main reasons for the cull is to keep a consistent herd number for feeding and so that the ecological balance of the park is not disturbed by the deer. Deer numbers even in massive national parks have needed to be controlled due to various reasons including wildlife habitats being damaged and rare plants being eaten – areas like Bushy Park might seem to be large but really it’s a small enclosed area compared to their natural environment.

    Another big reason is to minimise the impact of disease in this ancient herd (that dates back directly to Henry VIII’s time) – diseases are caught much more easily in the older deer and can spread with devastating effects. Controlling birthrates won’t help with this issue and any relocation will just move this problem elsewhere.

    If you lookup the definition of the word cull it is the process of removing animals from a group based on specific criteria – to either reinforce certain desirable characteristics or to remove certain undesirable characteristics from the group.

    There seems to be the notion that the cull is geared around creating profit from the sale of venison – if anyone has any evidence of this then perhaps they could they cite it.

    By the same token, the reason for removing deer population isn’t to make the park safer for walkers and dogs. It is of course horrible that dogs are killed each year but personally I believe that signs in the park need to highlight that deaths occur each year rather than warning of general danger. It’s difficult for regular visitors to comprehend that the deer that you can walk right up to for the rest of the year will completely change their behaviour during birthing and rutting seasons and pose such a threat.

    Dog walkers should definitely heed the notices more and not let their dogs off the lead anywhere near deer. Walkers and especially joggers should probably best avoid deer if they can just to be sure.

    As Park Manager Ray said in an interview, visitors to the park “have to adapt to the habits of the deer and not the other way round”.

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  • 23rd September 2010 at 11:42
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    Why can the males not be neutered in this day and age there are safe methods to tranquilize animals so where is the problem this is disgusting and if some of the males were castrated regularly on a yearly basis surely this would help the overpopulation

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  • 24th September 2010 at 09:13
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    So you all think that this is a park for deer and not for children, dog walkers or anyone else. Well what a waste of space, acres of land in an expensive borough just for the deer to run around… what a joke, move them to a farm or something! Bet all of you would change your minds if your precious children got attacked by one of these horrible vicious creatures. It’s not about keeping dogs under control if you read my previous email correctly you will see the point I’m making is that the park is OVERRUN with these disgusting animals. Also, even if you have got your dog on a lead and walk anywhere near a herd they will go for attack anyway. As for not seeing many, well open your eyes, they are EVERYWHERE (stupid Lesley).

    TTeditor has made the best comments.

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    • 11th September 2014 at 06:59
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      Dear Sarah…If you want to go for a walk with your children, its so many playgrounds were children can play with no danger …Also so many local parks everywhere to walk your dog (i do have dog as well ..) Deer never attack if you dong go close..this is their place and you have to be aware of mating season or when females give a birth. Totally agree with Fred Church comment! And how you can call a deer such a disgusting animals ??? You are definitely not a nature lover, so keep away from parks like Bushy Park, Richmond park…Instead of thous you can go to Thorpe park :)) or Kew garden …

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  • 27th September 2010 at 19:48
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    I have read this thread about the Red Deer and I am rather saddened by a lot of what has been written.

    Red Deer are native to the UK and our largest mammal and they graze. By grazing they stop the grass from growing to high, stop the bracken from over running the park (well it should as it is rather overgrown this year) and they stop new trees from growing as the eat the new growth. Without the Red Deer, Bushy Park, would stop being a park and become a forest as the trees take hold of all the open areas. I visit forests for a few reasons but mainly because there are hardly any dogs being walked and hardly any humans, it is bliss.

    Red Deer become dangerous twice a year, this time of year because of The Rut. The Red Deer need to mate once a year and it is always around this time of year, so why should dog walkers and anyone else want to go near a wild animal? About July the females give birth and they get rather protective about their young, so again why would anyone want to go near them? I wonder how parents would react if their children are threatened?

    So rather than people keep saying, get rid of the deer, learn to live with them and life would be a lot better.

    I am not going to say anything about parents placing children on the backs of the Fallow Deer and taking photographs of them!

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    • 11th September 2014 at 07:00
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      Absolutely agree with you , Fred Church! Thank you ! Best regards

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  • 23rd November 2011 at 00:14
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    Andy, a five year old who lives opposite Bushy Park asks his mum: Mum!. What is that noise? It sounds like there is a war outside the house!! I am scared (he cries).
    Nelly, his mother does not want to tell her beloved son that the parks have ordered to kill the deer. Andy loves the deer, and every weekend he asks to go to the park to visit the bambis, as he calls them.
    Nelly, decides to tell Andy the truth….
    Andy becomes increasingly scared. Mum, are they going to shoot us as well??

    The moral of the story: The Royal Parks are teaching the new generations that if someone or something causes any problem, it is ok to shoot them….
    It is OK to take a sentient being´s life… Is it OK?
    This is a moral issue and our politicians should find more enlightened solutions!

    Reply

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