The last few years have seen high Hampshire’s dells, forests and fields welcome a number of new guests.
Some Red, some Roe, some Fallow, some Sika, and with them Muntjac and the Chinese Water, I refer of course to the thriving deer population that, try as it might, fails to hide from anyone criss-crossing our corner of the county. Whether journeying from Tadley to Whitchurch or between Kingsclere and Andover, rarely a week passes when I do not spot them from the corner of my eye or, more rarely, have to slow to let a nervous doe tip-toe from the road.
Thinking mainly of the native Red and Roe deer, this is not a bad thing, although it does on the whole pose future management questions including the particularly invasive Muntjac. Deer numbers are thought to have reached 2 million in Great Britain, their highest ebb since medieval times.
Whether in the future we must develop an appetite for venison or whether they will need to be kept in reserves, I am in no place to speculate. That they thrive in the countryside of modern England however, is a sign that our country is still a large and somewhat wild one, something that our urban driven news narratives often lets us forget. So do keep a look out for the herds dotted around North West Hampshire and drive safely.