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 34th annual end of winter deer count took place on Sunday 3rd March 2024.  Counting conditions were exceptionally good, with bright sunshine from dawn, low wind and mild temperatures. The total number of Red Deer counted increased significantly to 1102 (from 643 in 2023), and is the highest count on record (the only other count approaching a thousand was 958 (in 2005). A drone-based survey undertaken a few days earlier (fuller report shortly) found >1300 red deer in about 76% of the count area covered, validating the finding from visual count that local red deer numbers appear to be at an all-time high (Read more at the Chairman's full 2024 count report – link below) . The ground based count was primarily designed for red deer; 144 roe were also recorded visually, but the drone count in case of roe was 3-fold higher.

Red Deer  seen: 1102 ( 918 Hinds & calves of both sexes / 56 Prickets / 102 Young stags / 20 Older Stags)

Other deer seen during the 2023 Spring Count included 144 Roe Deer ; 0 Fallow;  0 Muntjac ; and 0 Sika Stag !

Overview graph shows summary results 1994 - 2024.  Click below for fuller pdf reports by years.

 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017| 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024

(Click report year above for larger graph versions)

Deer Count 2024