Regulation of ungulate populations by parasites relies on establishing a density-dependent relationship between infection and vital demographic rates which may act through the effect of parasites on body condition. We examine evidence for parasite impacts in 285 red deer (Cervus elaphus) harvested during 1991 and 1992 on the Isle of Rum. In the abomasa, prevalence of nematodes was 100% and the most abundant genus observed were Ostertagia species, however, mean intensity of infection was low (less than 1000) relative to other studies. Additional species, also present in low numbers, included Nematodirus spp., Capillaria spp., Cooperia spp., Monieza expanza, Oesophagostomum venulosum and Trichuris ovis. Lungworm (Dictyocaulus spp.) and tissue worm (Elaphostronygylus cervi) larvae were also observed in faecal samples. There was no evidence for acquired immunity to abomasal nematodes. Despite low levels of infection, both adult male and female deer showed significant negative correlation between indices of condition (kidney fat index, dressed carcass weight and larder weight) and intensity of Ostertagia spp. infection. However, there was no evidence that pregnancy rate in females was related to intensity of infection. For calves, there was no relationship between body condition and intensity of infection. The apparent subclinical effects of low-level parasite infection on red deer performance could alternatively be due to animals in poorer nutritional state being more susceptible to infection. Either way the results suggest that further studies of wild populations are justified, in particular where high local host densities exist or alternative ungulate hosts are present, and, where experimental treatments are tractable.