Dealing with deer disruption

wright feeder

wright feeder - Credit: Archant

Are you having trouble with deer disrupting drives on your shoot and emptying feeders? Dom Holtam offers expert advice to help solve the problem

Q: We have an increasing number of deer on our DIY shoot and they have disrupted quite a few drives already this season and are now targeting the feeders. Our budgets are tight and we are losing a lot of feed. Any advice?

DOM HOLTAM replies: There are deer- and badger-proof attachments that can be fitted to standard feeders and are pretty inexpensive (less than £5 each) such as the Wright feeder pictured.

The item is easy to fit to any metal, plastic or wooden hopper. You need to drill an appropriatly sized hole in your container, insert the feeder into the hole from the inside, and then fill the container with food. Legs should be high enough to allow birds to stand at their full height in order to feed. The Wright feeder attachment cannot be broken or tampered with by badgers or deer. Pellets may swell and block this feeder when it is used in exposed conditions, and while birds can sometimes sort out blockages on their own, it is a good idea to keep an eye on Wright feeders with pellets in wet conditions.

As a more permanent solution, you’ll have to look at increasing the number of deer you cull. Some shoots operate an almost zero tolerance policy on deer, while others are happy to find a balance. If you have people on the shoot who stalk, great, but if not you might have to look for assistance from a local deer management group.

Identify suitable sites for high seats. You don’t specify which species is causing the problem so remember that roe and fallow does remain in season until 31 March (fallow bucks are ‘in’ for a further month until the end of April), but muntjac can be shot throughout the year.