There are six species of deer residing in Britain. They vary in size from the Muntjac at up to 18kg to the Red Deer at up to 190kg. But even the smallest deer can be extremely dangerous and you should never attempt to handle one yourself. ALWAYS call a specialist to assist you.
Be sure to contact an independent wildlife centre such as one of those on our listings. Organisations such as the RSPCA commonly refer deer calls to the British Deer Society. This is in fact a deer management organisation involved in the culling of deer and they usually shoot injured deer. They do not have facilities for their treatment and return to the wild.
When to Help
|If a deer has been hit by a car.|
|They quite often escape without any apparent injuries but will go into deep shock. They need treatment and a couple of days rest before release.|
|If an adult deer can be approached|
|Deer are naturally extremely shy so if you can walk up to an adult and it cannot or does not try to run away then it is in serious trouble.|
|The deer has been attacked by a dog.|
|Again, shock could be a problem here, as well as injuries which could become infected.|
|The deer is trapped in a fence or wire.|
|Do not attempt to release the deer yourself. To do so would be very dangerous and the deer will need treatment in case of constriction injuries.|
|Any obviously injured deer|
|Whether adult or baby, any deer with a visible wound or damaged limb will need help|
|A deer apparently trapped in a garden.|
|Deer are great jumpers and a 6′ fence is no obstacle. Generally if it got in it can get out. Observe and only seek help if the deer is distressed or is still there after several hours.|
|An apparently abandoned fawn.|
|It is perfectly normal for deer to leave their young unattended. Observe from a distance and don’t touch. Contact a wildlife centre if there is no sign of Mum after about 6 hours.|
Capture, Containment and Care
For advice concerning baby deer please see our baby mammals page.
Never attempt to handle an adult deer yourself. The potential threat posed by antlers is obvious but even deer without antlers can inflict fatal injuries. They have incredibly powerful rear legs and very sharp hooves and can kick out to defend themselves causing serious harm.
If an adult deer is collapsed and it is safe to do so you can approach the deer carefully and put a coat or blanket over its head. This will help to stop the deer becoming too stressed. Deer in these situations will usually freeze and lay still, making no attempt to get away. Many times we have seen people take this as a sign that the deer is tame or happy with people being close by and sit and stroke the deer while waiting for help, sometimes even with their dog sitting with them. Please do not do this – this will be a terrifying experience for the deer however calm he looks. He is not calm he is literally paralysed with fear. Retreat to a safe distance and try to keep other people away from the animal while you wait for help.
If the deer is in the road the police will usually attend to help ensure the safety of the deer and road users.