2023 Annual Quantock Deer Count

The 33rd annual end of winter deer count took place on Sunday 05th March 2023 organised by the Quantock Deer Management & Conservation Group (QDM & CG). The total number of Red Deer counted fell slightly this year to 643 (from 676 in 2022), but remains well above the average count over the past 4 years. At 643 in early March 2022, red deer numbers remain within the 500 to 700 band counted in the great majority of past years. Although the count is primarily designed to record red deer, roe numbers seen (192) was the highest for that species to date. No other deer species were seen on the day, although an number of muntjac and one sika yearling male was reported by local deer managers during the past 12 months.

In summary result of the 2023 count were:

Red DeerHinds & CalvesPricketsYoung StagsOlder Stags >4 Years OldRoe DeerFallow DeerMuntjac DeerSika Deer
Quantock Deer Count – Summary total of deer counted 5th March 2023

Ever since 1991 the 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 QDM & CG 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.

A chart showing the red deer population 1991-2023

The full report (PDF) can be read on the QDM & CG website, along with reports from previous years and further information.