Research booklet helps deer managers

University experts have produced a summary of research into red deer, which is aimed at supporting deer managers.

The publication distils decades of findings from a study of red deer on the Isle of Rum National Nature Reserve.

Since 1972, every individual deer living in one part of the island has been monitored by a research team, in the world’s longest running study of its kind.

The project, which was begun by the University of Cambridge, is now managed by Edinburgh researchers.

Population pointers

Red deer research on the Isle of Rum NNR: management implications, by Professors Josephine Pemberton and Loeske Kruuk, is published by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Some of the key findings include highlighting the differences in how stags and hinds respond to variation in population density.

It also reports that reducing population density, especially of hinds, increases calving rates.

Climate response

The warming climate is causing deer to breed earlier each year. The calving season has advanced by 12 days since 1980.

Weather effects mean that hind and stag numbers can change unpredictably from year to year, so regular counting and a responsive culling regime is crucial.

The research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.