Deer at Hatfield Forest

Try and spot the fallow and muntjac deer that call our special place home.

Shy and elusive creatures

Wild deer are wonderful creatures and a natural part of the British landscape. Although shy and often elusive, they can be seen in the early morning or at dusk when they're most active.
 
They’re most likely to be seen in the woodlands in East Anglia.  As they show no respect for our Forest boundaries they can also be spotted in the surrounding woodlands and fields.
 
We’re home to an established population of both fallow and muntjac deer.  We manage our deer population responsibly to ensure both their welfare and that of the ancient woodland habitat.
 

Fallow deer

A young fallow deer male is a pricket, an adult male is a buck, the female is a doe, and the young is a fawn. Their life span is around 12–16 years. Only bucks have antlers.  These are broad and shovel-shaped from three years old.
 
Fallow deer live in groups.  The bucks tend to live in out lying, satellite woodland, only coming into the Forest in Autumn for the rutting season.
 

Muntjac deer

Muntjac deer are small, secretive and shy. They are small and stocky, russet brown in summer and grey brown in winter. Originally from Asia, they were imported into zoos in  England in the nineteenth century and were first seen in the Forest in 1964. They eat herbs, brambles, ivy and coppice shoots.  Unlike the fallow deer, they tend to be solitary creatures.
 

Deer spotting tips

  • Get up and out early in the morning or stay out late until dusk
  • Keep quiet and move slowly
  • Blend in. Don't wear bright clothing
  • Look in the quieter areas of the Forest
  • Avoid taking your dog as it can frighten the deer
  • Be aware of the direction of the wind as your scent will carry
  • Take a pair of binoculars and a camera