This is really a story about restaurants being shut rather than damage to woodlands. It’s a bit difficult to believe that a couple of years of low culling of deer in woodlands is going to make that much difference to their ecological status. If so, it suggests that there is far too close a link between high prices on restaurant menus and culling rather than a strong link between ecology and culling.
Notice that apart from a quote from the RSPB on the general impact of deer numbers, the quotes all come from the food chain rather than ecological interests.
I’m all for us munching our way through the deer population at a higher rate – I’m doing my bit as venison, shot in woodland by foresters with lead-free ammunition, forms a large proportion of the small amount of meat that I eat. Our supply of venision has been interrupted by COVID-19 as we haven’t seen our friends who usually give us venison as a Christmas present.
We ought to be eating more venison, and it ought to be cheap. Lead-free venison should form a larger part of school and hospital meals and be less of an overpriced meal in posh restaurants.
By the way, if you ever do see venison on a menu then I recommend doing the following: ask which species of deer it is. I have yet to find a waiter who can answer that question and sometimes it stumps even the chef and owner. That says volumes about our relationship with food. Sometimes you are told that it is Red Deer but then the next question often leads to blank faces; is it farmed or wild Red Deer? Only once (in Pitlochry) has a restaurant ever answered those two questions and the third, for me: was it shot with lead or non-toxic ammunition? If someone trying to sell you meat at their restaurant can’t tell you whether there is poison in it, then you should opt for the vegetarian option after all.