Re: Now now...
"they're becoming a real pest as the population grows (because less people are hunting them!)"
Do you have a source for that?
I agree that the deer population is growing/ has grown but AFAIK hunting (and I'm talking about hunting/ stalking specifically rather than culling) has little impact on overall deer numbers- bucks are favoured by trophy hunters rather than breeding-age females.
If you want to reduce deer numbers (and I think we should, they have a serious impact on attempts at regenerating the Caledonian forest) then it would require a large-scale targeted cull, probably indefinitely even if we reintroduced predators (lynx, wolf, bear). This has been known for years but nothing is done as it would cost too much money. The Kiwis basically machine gun them from helicopters but I don't believe that would be acceptable in the UK unfortunately.
I don't understand why there isn't a large-scale commercial hunt in this country- during the stalking season in parts of the highlands butchers buy venison from the estates very cheaply (it is basically a very tasty byproduct), then sell it over the counter at exorbitant prices (under the counter is a different matter :)).