Deer are the largest wild animals in the Welsh countryside. There are five different species: roe, fallow, red, Sika and Reeve’s muntjac. Fallow and roe deer are the most numerous species. Red deer are mostly restricted to the Brecon Beacons. Muntjac deer are thought to be expanding across Wales, but are elusive and their population is difficult to estimate.
Deer are protected under their own piece of legislation, the Deer Act 1991 (as amended). 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
Schedule 1 of the Deer Act lists the following species: red, fallow, roe and sika deer.
Muntjac, Sika deer and Sika hybrids are on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This makes it an offence to release them or allow them to escape into the wild.
Natural Resources Wales can grant licences for specific purposes under the Deer Act 1991. For more information, see ‘Deer Licensing’.
The Wales deer strategy ‘Wild Deer Management in Wales’ sets out a framework towards achieving sustainable management of deer in Wales.