Managing deer good for woodlands – and our health

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28 MARCH 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14522

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Managing the growing number of deer in Welsh Assembly Government woodlands could be good for your health, as well as the well-being of our forests. 

One of the by-products of sustainably managing the deer population to protect trees and vulnerable forest habitats is the availability of venison, a low fat and low cholesterol meat which is also high in Omega-3.

The Assembly Government recently launched its Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales, which was developed in partnership with Forestry Commission Wales, The Deer Initiative and the Countryside Council for Wales.

The aim of the strategy is to keep wild deer numbers in check and control their impacts on agriculture, forestry and vulnerable habitats.

Now, Forestry Commission Wales has installed two deer larders close to the main areas of deer population in Assembly Government woodlands – in Coed-y-Brenin Forest in north Wales and at Resolven in south Wales.

The new larders complement existing facilities located at Itton, near Chepstow, and in Radnor Forest and will enable culled deer to be quickly chilled before being prepared to meet a growing demand for venison.

David Jam, FC Wales Wildlife Management Officer, said, “We need to manage deer at a level where they can exist in the wild without causing adverse impacts on other species and habitats, such as woodland birds, plants and butterflies.

“Venison is a healthy by-product of this essential management and, as responsible wildlife managers, we ensure that best use is made of this natural resource which is why we maintain such high standards of food hygiene.”

Deer are culled by trained professional staff who are highly skilled in dispatching the animals humanely and safely before preparing the carcasses for sale into the food chain.

Patrick Faulkner, Deer Management Advisor for The Deer Initiative, said, “Forestry Commission Wales manages the wild deer on its estate to the very highest standards and this benefits vulnerable wildlife habitats and the species which inhabit them by reducing the level of grazing and browsing by deer.

“Wild venison is one of the healthiest meats available and the rising demand for venison is a sign of the public’s awareness of the benefits of this low fat and low cholesterol meat, which is also high in Omega-3.”

Venison burgers from deer in Coed-y-Brenin Forest are already proving popular among diners at the FC Wales Visitor Centre, just outside Dolgellau.

FC Wales Recreation Manager John Taylor said, “As well as being healthy, delicious and supporting sustainable forest management, the deer are from our own forest which makes the burgers very low in ‘food miles’.

“Visitors to Coed-y-Brenin rave about our venison burgers and I’m happy that this helps protect our forest.”

Caption: Iori Jones is served a venison burger at Coed-y-Brenin Visitor Centre by Catrin Jones.


A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email