Hunters are offering their services in an effort to protect the countryside from “marauding” deer.

The newly formed Deer Action Group Sussex (DAGS) are a team of qualified deer stalkers who say they will respond to calls from landowners over herds of deer which have “taken over the countryside”.

The stalkers carried out their first successful cull last week where they removed 13% of a herd who were malnourished, unhealthy or were suffering injuries from car accidents.

The group estimates a cull of between 25% and 50% is needed to kerb the population.

William Dammer , one of the group’s founders, said they are “not trophy hunters” and are looking to “help the deer, landowners and protect our woodlands”.

He said: “The non indigenous deer have taken over the countryside and are causing immense problems.

“I have been shooting for a number of years, and on the big estates you might have the odd stalker, but he cannot be in all places at once.

“What the problem needed was a coordinated approach, with a group of people who can do a coordinated and sustainable cull.”

He added: “We’ve seen how the badger cull failed.

“We aren’t a quango or government body mired in inefficiency and bureaucracy.

“We respond quickly to requests for assistance and are trustworthy, proactive and responsive.”

The service is free and they are offering to train youngsters who want to learn about deer stalking.

The two problem deer species the group highlights are fallow deer and muntjac deer which mostly live around Ashdown Forest.

It is estimated some 20,000 deer could live in Sussex with more than 600 hit and killed in Sussex in 2012.

Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, said while there was not enough care for infirm deer, he disagreed the deer population was “out of control”.

He said: “I do not like the idea of it being pest control. I am a great believer animals do regulate their own number and it is only humans who see them as being out control.

“I am not sure I would agree with the 25% to 50% figure. To me I believe that would not be correct.”