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Deer and Venison Project:
Landscape scale deer survey, management and marketing

Deer are a cherished part of our natural heritage, and their presence contributes to the beauty and diversity of our landscapes. Recent estimates by the British Trust for Ornithology mammal monitoring survey has shown across the UK an increase in fallow, roe and muntjac by 255%, 124% and 254% respectively since 1995. Anecdotally these increases have been witnessed across the Cluster area. 

The abundance of wild deer in the region does make an impact at landscape scale; agricultural damage, habitat impact, traffic accidents and disease transmission. Such large populations have implications for farming practice, hedge planting and woodland creation.


Conversely, venison is an undervalued protein source with a disparate and under developed supply chain. Venison is affordable and nutritious but mainly untapped. With the appropriate supply chain and marketing we can utilise this abundant meat and realise its true value.

A number of members of the North East Cotswolds Farmer Cluster have proposed we undertake an initiative to better understand, manage and get value from the wild deer population.

We will analyse the current venison supply chain and make recommendations on how we can optimise existing deer larders, processing facilities and routes to market, and how we could create new opportunities. This work will begin in early 2024 with a drone survey of our local deer population and a deer management survey.

The deer and venison work is funded by a Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) grant and a landowner contribution.

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