© Tyrolean regional Government
Deer
© Tyrolean regional Government
Deer

“There comes a time when you need peace and quiet”

Who likes to be disturbed when they’re eating - well, it’s just the same for deer as for people. For deer, however, being disturbed also has consequences which we humans don’t think about.

© Tyrolean regional Government
grau weiße Schräge zur optischen Gestaltung.

Specific characteristics - Food in winter

The deer feed on grasses and herbs  as well as leaves and shoots, as long as these are available. In winter the food is less nutritious and has a higher fibre content. When they cannot feed  red deer  are able  to reduce their energy requirements significantly when a shortage of food in winter so requires.

 

© Tyrolean regional Government
Red deer at a feeding place.
© Tyrolean regional Government
In the front there is a signage. In the background you can see three ski tourers.

Effects of being disturbed

If red deer are disturbed and driven from the feeding source , they need some time to adjust to the sudden food shortage. Temporary food shortages in winter or when animals are no longer able to get to their feeding areas because they have been disturbed can therefore cause problems, all the more so if they are used to being very well fed. If they are disturbed when feeding and the animals stop feeding, they have to absorb an excessive amount of food in the surrounding forest. They then rip even more bark off trees, causing the trees to die prematurely or be attacked by wood-destroying fungi (red rot).

Away from paths red deer react strongly to being unexpectedly disturbed. On the other hand, animals get used to well used paths and trails and at distances of about 50 m do not exhibit a tendency to flee.

Peace and quiet in the feeding and retreat areas is, therefore, a vital factor if they are to overwinter safely.

Endangered status

The red deer is widespread throughout central Europe. Their numbers have been increasing for decades and the area over which they are spread is getting larger.

Most of the indigenous red deer winter near feeding stations close to the retreat areas known to the  hunters. There are currently more than 700 red deer feeding stations in Tyrol, with only a small proportion located  close to  known ski tours (well below 10%).

© Tyrolean regional Government
Close shot of a red deer.

Code of Conduct:

Animal species Peculiarities To be observed:
Red deer 95% survive in winter close to feeding stations; react calmly to being disturbed if not unexpected, at an adequate distance, but very sensitive to unexpected dangers; when disturbed may stop feeding, with fatal consequences for animals and forest Always bypass deer feeding and retreat areas! Observe direction signs! Relocate ski tours or feeding stations
Roe deer In winter keep close to the feeding areas, crouch down and flee less far; return to feeding after being disturbed; increased need of energy when disturbed, especially when very active at dusk Give a wide berth when roe deer are feeding and keep to the forest road; no tours at dusk in the forest and on the edge of forests
All species of game Active at dusk If possible, no tours at dusk and otherwise keep to forest roads and ski slopes. Observe local ski slope rules!
© Tyrolean regional Government
Verschneiter Hochgebirgswald. Im Hintergrund mit Wolken bedecktes Tal.

Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan

We have worked intensively with environmentalists, hunters and conservation experts to draw up the Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan to investigate the impact of ski and snowboard tours on flora and fauna in the mountains.

If you need any further information about the protected sites and species and want to know how we came to choose them, you'll find all the basics in the Tyrolean Ski and Snowboard Tour Plan below, which is available for downloading.

 

Contact:

 

Anna Koch

Province of Tyrol - Department for Forestry Conservation

Bürgerstr. 36, 6020 Innsbruck

info@bergwelt-miteinander.at

Tel.: +43 512 508 4609

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