Deer

Busy Recovering

This week has been somewhat hectic. After my lovely trip to Haldon Forest last week I found that I woke up with a horrible heady cold which left me unable to do more that sit under a blanket in my chair. I’ve been busy knitting there though as I’ve had a flurry of orders so this week has seen me making a cow, two Cthulhu Dice Bags and a gorgeous pair of black fluffy fingerless gloves perfect for trick or treating this Hallowe’en. The poor deer hasn’t had much of a look in.

To aid in my recovery Mr B cooked up a beautiful warming venison (and chestnut!) stew using meat that had been given to us from an acquaintance studying a Countryside Management course which got me thinking about this side of managing deer in the UK. As I have said previously, only red and roe deer are native to these shores. The populations of native Asian deer species (like the Sika) are descendants of animals that escaped from private collections in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Fallow deer were originally introduced by the Normans as a food animal.

The wild populations have thrived here with no natural predators, especially as deer hunting has fallen out of favour. However, there are so few truly ‘wild’ places in the UK. Most of our landscape is managed, either for agriculture or for leisure. Even the most secluded areas have roads built through them resulting in an estimated 74,000 road accidents every year involving deer. If we are to ensure the continuation of these beautiful species we need to make sure that the deer population is stable. This can mean managing the population like the Normans used to (resulting in delicious stew), but also protecting the areas where they breed and thrive, and educating drivers on how to drive safely in areas with a high deer population. Check out the Deer Aware website for tips on avoiding an accident, and what to do if you come across a deer in the road.

Between my orders and my cold I have managed a little knitting to my lovely deer. It now has ears and antlers. I have been contemplating the eventual size of the antlers. They are a big contributor in the chances of a stag finding a mate, but overly large antlers on my lovely plushie would make it top heavy and unstable. I have read that reindeer are the only species of deer where both the stags and the does have antlers. So perhaps she is a female reindeer, they are not native to the UK but I believe the flying variety migrate here around Christmas time!

IMG_4773I’m going to continue my search for an actual real life deer while I take a week away in France. Don’t worry though, I’ll be taking my knitting with me so look out for my update next time!

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