Deer are protected under their own piece of legislation, the Deer Act 1991 (as amended), known as ‘the Act’. This page cannot cover all aspects of the law or deer ecology, but provides a brief introduction.
Under the Act, the following actions are against the law:
- Killing / taking / injuring a deer without the consent of the landowner / occupier
- Taking / killing any Schedule 1 species during the close season,
- Taking / killing any deer at night
- Use of a trap, snare, poisoned or stupefying bait, or any net to kill / take deer
- Use of any firearm / ammunition mentioned in Schedule 2, or arrow, spear etc
- Use of any missile carrying poison, stupefying drug or muscle-relaxing agent
- Use of mechanically propelled vehicle to discharge any firearm or drive deer
It is not illegal to kill or take a deer for the purpose of preventing suffering of an injured or diseased deer.
Schedule 1 of the Deer Act lists the following species: red, fallow, roe and sika deer. For the full version of the Act, refer to the link on this page.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) can grant licences for specific purposes under the legislation. Licences allow activities that would otherwise be illegal. Under Section 8(2) of the Act, NRW can grant licences to take deer for the purposes of removing deer from one area to another, or of taking deer alive for scientific or educational purposes.
NRW would consult with Welsh Government over any applications to move deer from one area to another, as there would be potential implications for the spread of disease.
The Wales deer strategy ‘Wild Deer Management in Wales’ sets out a framework towards achieving sustainable management of deer in Wales. For more information on the management of deer, refer to the link on this page.
Game dealers are licensed under the Game Act 1831 and the Game Licences Act 1860. These licences are not issued by NRW.