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03 June 2020
Lyme Disease / SNH on Deer in NQ

Useful guidance from NHS on Lyme disease here.

https://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/media/4167645/ticks_and_lyme_disease_in_scotland_revised_july_2018_slides_with_notes.pdf

Deer: here a useful report from Scottish Natural Heritage.

My name is Kevin McCulloch and I work for Scottish Natural Heritage. I am very sorry to hear that you are losing your vegetables and flowers to local wild Roe deer; I understand how frustrating this must be for you and the local residents. I am also very sorry to hear that one of the local residents is suffering from Lyme Disease.

Firstly, I would not be surprised if deer had been displaced due to the building of the bridge; however, SNH did conduct a presence/absence deer count in 2016 and our report did not conclude that there were too many deer. I believe that we counted 12 Roe in the immediate area, but this was just a snap shot of one night.

At this time of year (May/June) many juvenile deer are displaced by their mother as she prepares to raise her new kids. This may have accounted for any increase that you have recently noticed. In time these deer will disperse further afield in search of a territory of their own. Nevertheless, I am not dismissing the fact that the current deer population in your area are causing you concern.

Roe deer are wild and do have a right to roam, and they belong to no one. In Scotland there are several pieces of legislation that cover deer management. In this particular case I feel that the Code of Practice on Deer Management (aka the Deer Code) is relevant: 

https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-wildlife/managing-deer/code-practice-deer-management.

Deer Code in Summary

-          If you own or manage land where wild deer are found, or manage wild deer on someone else's land, the Deer Code applies to you.

 

-          The Deer Code tells land owners (where deer are present) what they Must, Should, and Could do in relation to sustainable deer management.

 

-          If you have wild deer on your land then you have a responsibility for them (whilst they are on your land).

What the Deer Code basically states is that if wild deer are on your land then you have a responsibility to manage them. Management could range from one extreme to the other i.e. from culling deer, right through to taking no action whatsoever because you personally benefit from having the deer on your land. When a Roe deer enters your garden and eats your flowers/vegetables, the deer is on your property and for that brief moment the deer is your responsibility. Once that deer has moved away onto someone else land then any deer management then becomes that landowners concern.

I am not familiar with the North Queensferry area, but having looked at a map I can see that there is potential Roe habitat surrounding the houses at the peninsula. If this Roe deer population was to be reduced then the onus lies with the landowners who own the potential roe habitat i.e. woodland/scrub. Ideally these landowners would work together to manage the Roe. I presume that the landownership around your village will be a mixture of Council and private. If you feel that Roe numbers are a problem, then you may wish to speak with these land owners (perhaps Fife council could supply this landowner information?

It is worth mentioning that any culling of deer in this area could potentially be extremely difficult due to the close proximity of the local village and the surrounding sea. Furthermore, there are also two designated sites (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) Ferry Hills and Carlingnose which may have resident Roe deer present. However, the management objectives of these two sites may actually benefit from the grazing that Roe deer provide; thus, the owners/managers of these SSSI’s may view Roe more positively.

At the end of the day it’s the land owner’s responsibility to manage deer on their land. If residents wish to restrict access to their gardens, to prevent deer, the residents could erect boundary fences, as any animal can enter an open plan garden, as the Roe have opted to in this case. The following website gives a wealth of knowledge and tips to tackling Roe issues 

https://www.bds.org.uk/index.php/advice-education/deer-in-gardens

With regards to the increase of tick that you are seeing, I personally cannot say with any certainty that Roe are to blame, as there are other animals that also act as hosts. Assuming Roe to blame, the best method of keeping away from ticks is by excluding deer from your garden. In my line of work I regularly come into contact with ticks and I find that tick repellent clothing is pretty good at reducing the number of ticks I find on me. This link is just an example https://choosytraveler.com/best-tick-repellent-clothing/

I hope this answer has been satisfactory. If you have any other questions then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ends

 

 

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