Dates for the different species

The deer seasons in the UK have been precisely organised to give deer protection when they need it, to produce a sustainable and healthy population. The law allows hinds and stags to breed and move around different breeding grounds at key times – with the deer hunting season differing between the different species. However some varieties, like muntjac, can be shot all year round. In addition, culling of a sick or injured deer is permitted when necessary outside the close season.

Hinds with dependent young and young male deer still growing antlers receive protection from culling. Different species have different breeding and growth cycles and these have been taken into account.  (If you’re looking for guidance on game shooting seasons, you’ll find it here.)

Deer seasons in the UK

The table here gives a clear indication when deer of different species and sex can be culled, in Scotland, England/Wales and Northern Ireland. If you have a particular question, the British Deer Society may be able to help.

The table is correct at the time of publication but law is often subject to change, so this information is for guidance only.

deer seasons

A few thoughts on deer and stalking

  • It’s always best to shoot deer that are thin and unhealthy looking.
  • Cull the deer in March and April because there will be less foliage for the herd to hide behind and you can pick out the right deer more clearly.
  • Some deer, such as as Sika, have a reputation to being tougher to kill. The species does have a habit of staying in cover, as do roe bucks in long early summer grass. However with the right deer ammunition a clean shot should be quite attainable and in fact Sika are slightly smaller and lighter than fallow, so it’s curious they have attained this reputation in some quarters. (Read finding the perfect calibre for deer.)
  • Remember that young deer may have immature markings and  can be covered in spots or stripes, which helps them to camouflage themselves. As they grow older they rely on safety for alertness and speed, so this markings face and disappear.
  • Don’t walk along skylines, for obvious reasons. Deers are very good at spotting movement.
  • In poor weather, deer may be extra nervous and edgy, because they are unable to see or smell their predators.
  • Don’t jump across streams and burns – deer are very sensitive to vibrations.
  • Use the right equipment; walking boots to stop you turning an ankle and a stick to steady your way. (Read our guide to the best shooting boots.)
  • If you’d like to be a professional deer stalker you’ll find gamekeeping training at agricultural colleges with specialist options in deer management. (Read more about getting a DSC1 here.)
  • You might also like to read our guide on the best camouflage for stalking.
  • Take a look at our venison recipes.
red deer

The Scottish red deer

Red deer shooting season

England and Wales:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1 – Mar 31 (hinds)

Scotland:

July 1-Oct 20 (stags)

Oct 21-Feb 15 (hinds)

Northern Ireland:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1-March 31 (hinds)

 

Sika stag

Sika deer

Sika deer shooting season

England and Wales:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1 – March 31 (hinds)

Scotland:

July 1-Oct 20 (stags)

Oct 21-Feb 15 (hinds)

Northern Ireland:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1-March 31 (hinds)

Red/Sika hybrids shooting season

England and Wales:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1 – March 31 (hinds)

Scotland:

July 1-Oct 20 (stags)

Oct 21-Feb 15 (hinds)

Northern Ireland:

Aug 1-April 30 (stags)

Nov 1-March 31 (hinds)

 

Fallow deer buck

Fallow deer

Fallow deer shooting season

England and Wales:

Aug 1-April 30 (bucks)

Nov 1 – March 31 (does)

Scotland:

Aug 1-April 30 (bucks)

Oct 21-Feb 15 (does)

Northern Ireland:

Aug 1-April 30 (bucks)

Nov 1-March 31 (does)

 

Roe buck

Roe buck

Roe deer shooting season

England and Wales:

April 1-Oct 31 (bucks)

Nov 1-Mar 31 (does)

Scotland:

April 1-Oct 20 (bucks)

Oct 21-Mar 31 (does)

Chinese water deer doe Wiki

Chinese water deer

Chinese Water deer shooting season

England and Wales:

Nov 1-Mar 31 (bucks)

Nov 1-March 31 (does)

 

Muntjac

Muntjac

Muntjac open season

Is this small barking species subject to the deer shooting season? Actually no, there is no closed season for this species. However when culling female muntjac, it is recommended to choose immature or heavily pregnant does to avoid leaving dependent young.