It felt more like Croick Airport than Croick Estate earlier this week. Croick is part of the North Ross Deer Management Group and this year our annual deer count is being supported by Scottish Natural Heritage which provided two helicopters to assist withe count.
Historically of course counts were always done on foot but it is very labour intensive to cover the ground by foot and almost impossible to count accurately if you have large amounts of woodland, as we do at Croick. Helicopters aren’t perfect either but you can cover the ground much more quickly and get much better view of deer numbers in native tree cover, though not in dense commercial woodland. The normal technique is to go up armed with a GPS and a camera so that groups of deer can be spotted photographed for subsequent counting and plotted on a map.
And this year we had the further benefit of good snow cover which normally makes deer easier to spot and should mean we get a reasonable count. It will take a few weeks for all the data and photographs to be analysed and plotted but we look forward to seeing the results in due course.