“Leave it” – appealing to the well-meaning deer rescuers of New Forest


WILDLIFE Rescue Service is warning people not to try to take an injured deer to a vet after finding one lying on a grandmother’s lap in the back of a car.

Tony Lascelles, who runs Deer Emergency, said the best thing to do is “leave where he is” and call for help.

He said: “People are very well intentioned, but they can do more harm than good if they try to move it.

Deer often cross roads in herds (photo: istock)

“I have had many examples of deer put in the trunk of a car or in the backseat. I once found one in a grandmother’s lap.

“I told the passengers in the car that they probably caused more damage to the deer by lifting it up with internal injuries and putting itself at considerable risk.

“A deer is a wild animal, not a pet. Leave him where he is and get help.

Tony said if anyone finds an injured or dead deer on the road they should call the police for help.

However, if the animal is found in woods or Crown land then Forestry England should be contacted.

If the deer is on private property, an appeal should be made to Deer Emergency, a self-funding organization based in Boldre.

Tony said: “We work closely with all agencies involved when a deer is injured, including the police, RSPCA and verderers. Not only do we go out to treat injured deer, but we also give advice to people if they’ve hit one or seen one that’s injured.

“We can tell them exactly who to call and what to do – like giving the animal’s exact location and details of any injuries if they’re apparent or it’s tangled in wire.

“We also tell them to stay away so that they don’t stress the animal further and put themselves in danger.”

Made up of volunteers, Deer Emergency handled 20 incidents of deer injured or killed in the forest in December, including three on Christmas Day when two were enveloped in an electric fence in Minstead and released after three hours.

A third deer sadly died of his injuries after becoming entangled in wires in Bramshaw.

Tony, who was a deer handler for 20 years, said: “The number of incidents in December is up slightly. The problem with deer is that they are transient.

“They will cross the roads in herds with a leader. Large numbers of deer can cross in privileged places. People need to realize this.

“The speed limit in the forest is mostly 40 mph, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that speed. Traveling at 20-30 mph will give a deer, especially a small deer, a much better chance of survival if hit.

“It will also give you a better chance of not damaging your car either. I had a recent incident where a young woman had just bought a car in Southampton and was on her way home via Brockenhurst when she hit a deer.

“His car was badly damaged.

If a deer has a good chance of survival, Tony will arrange for him to be taken to a rehabilitation center. Otherwise, it is humanely implemented – a process that is covered by a strict set of rules and protocols.

He said, “It’s sad when a deer dies, they are such magnificent creatures. Over the years they have given me such pleasure – founding Deer Rescue was my way of giving them back in their time of need.

To contact Deer Emergency Ring 0800 4480 150