The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Where can I stalk Chinese Water Deer?

Chinese water deer doe

Where else in England has suitable habitat; the Somerset Levels, for instance? I would very much like to stalk one because I am told they are quite difficult.

George Wallace
Chinese Water Deer are relatively recent immigrants, following their escape from Whipsnade Zoo in 1929.

The level of World population gives cause for concern but they are not yet listed as threatened.

According to the British Deer Society, the UK population accounts for about ten per cent of the World total.

The little fellow is very choosy about both diet and habitat, so their rate of spread is likely to be slow – unless, like Muntjac, they get a bit of human assistance!

As you might expect from the name, they like reed beds, lake margins, river banks etc, but they need such places to be relatively undisturbed.

They might tolerate a bit of human activity around their home range but if they move into new territory and find it constantly disturbed by people, dogs, water skiers, canoeists or God knows what, they are unlikely to remain there.

Chinese Water Deer (I do so hate them being abbreviated to CWD which sounds more like a notifiable disease) are currently restricted to Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, where the Broads and the Fens provide congenial living quarters.

There have been reported sightings in other parts of the country, including not far from here, in Cheshire, but I am not aware that these have been confirmed.

I don’t know whether it is still the case, but at one time the government was considering action to prevent their further spread.

(Like they do with grey squirrels, mink, American crayfish, zander etc).

I have no knowledge of anyone offering stalking but I have heard that it is available, so perhaps some helpful reader will be able to point you in the right direction.