How can I bring deer out in to the open?
It is all very dense with narrow rides. However, the new landlord is willing to collaborate with limited ride widening and possible clearance in some areas. Can you suggest ways of getting the deer, mostly roe, out to where I can see them?
Choose some rides to work on, but rather than open up the entire length, create some wider patches, say 10 yards on either side of the track, but with narrow ?chokes?, so that you can stalk each clearing in turn.
The ends of each ride should be left narrow to stop the wind getting in.
Depending on the altitude, obtain some willow twigs next March and plant them in some decent soil to get rooted, for later transplanting into the clearings.
In the first year, place a protective covering of brushwood to let the plants establish.
From low ground to high, choose osier, goat willow, grey or oval-eared willow.
These will provide attractive browse and fraying stocks in your clearings, and they can be cut down from time to time in order to encourage new growth if forestry operations make it necessary.
Depending on the high ground, high seats may not be necessary. If you have more open areas they are likely to be mostly purple moor grass (Molinia), which is not very attractive to deer.
It is worth getting the use of a swipe, selecting strips near to cover, say 20 yards by 5 yards, and cutting the growth to the ground, then periodically take a bucket of fertiliser and broadcast the strip.
As new shoots come up, they will prove palatable, especially if there is not much to eat in the plantations except Sitka needles.