In this section:

You can help stop deer

Signs deer are present

The size and shape of the faecal pellets varies slightly between the species of deer, but generally the black or dark brown faecal pellets are deposited in groups, and are often elongated with one more pointed end. Likewise the footprints vary, but show two pointed toes.

Stags preparing for the rut thrash shrubs and saplings, sometimes completely ringbarking young trees. Wet or dry wallows are used by both sexes, when they are shedding their winter coat or during the rut. Flattened leaf litter or short ground vegetation indicate bedding sites. Deer often make trails through the bush for travelling and feeding 1.

Control methods


Where deer are feeding on pasture or winter crops, night shooting with the use of a spotlight is often effective (private land only).

If you plan a hunt, call in for a free permit and the most up-to-date conditions for your trip. If you are hunting in an area with kiwi, weka or blue ducks, leave the dog at home or get it trained to avoid these birds.

Deer fence or predator-proof fence

Deer can be excluded from areas using deer fencing.

Monitoring your control

All operations require monitoring.
Learn more about monitoring

Faecal Pellet Index (FPI)

This is a method for estimating the abundance of deer. It is based on counts of faecal pellets along randomly placed transects.

View the Protocol for estimating changes in the relative abundance of deer in New Zealand forests using the Faecal Pellet Index (FPI) (PDF, 800K) which explains the methods.

Northland deer sightings

If you live in Northland and see a wild deer, call DOC’s infoline and let us know.

Whangarei Office
Phone:   +64 9 470 3300
Fax:   +64 9 470 3361
Address:   2 South End Ave
Whangarei 0110
Postal Address:   PO Box 842
Whangarei 0140


1. Nugent, G. & Fraser, W., 2005. Red Deer. In C.M.King (Ed.): The Handbook of New Zealand Mammals, Second Edition, pp. 402-403. Oxford University Press.

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