Thursday 2 June 2011

Thursday 2nd June

The gamekeepers, Highland Game and the rangers had a fantastic day yesterday working with children from five local schools during our Deer Day event.  As you have guessed it was all about deer and gave the children a real insight into not just the lives of deer but also their control.  We had five different work stations each teaching the children about a different aspect of deer.  The first, deer are fab, was looking at live deer, antlers and skin.  The second was all about tools and equipment and took the kids on a pretend deer stalk.  The third focused on deer and their habitat, why the deer move downhill in winter for shelter and why we don’t have the vast forests we once had hundreds of years ago.  We also had a deer management activity which focussed on their natural predators and lack of predators nowadays and did some population counts, and finally the children looked at deer as venison, how it is processed and where the meat gets sold.  The children got a great insight into not only deer but also about the work which takes place on the estate in which many of them live.  To top of the day they even got a free venison burger to try at lunch time.

On the subject of deer it is that time of year when we should soon be starting to see fawns in the area.  After the mother gives birth the fawn will hide in the undergrowth until it is old enough to follow its mum but until then it is vulnerable to predation.  The mother will come back to feed it regularly but will run off if any predators are close by to try and lead them away and not give away her offspring’s location.  This is why you may come across a baby deer lying in tall vegetation.  If you do then do not panic, it is unlikely to be an orphan and its mother will be close by waiting until the area is safe to return to her young.  Don’t be tempted to touch the fawn as you will leave a scent which the mother is unaccustomed to and this will affect how the mother reacts with her offspring.  Keep your distance and keep dogs on leads and you should cause as minimal disturbance as possible.

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