Britain’s largest shooting organisation with 10,000 members in Scotland and a longstanding track record in deer management best practice is questioning DCS advice to the Minister for Environment in the Scottish Government.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) will give a considered response to the detailed proposals contained in the Commission’s recommendations, which were published today, but questions the recommendations for competency testing contained in the review.
There is considerable evidence that deer management in Scotland is carried out to high and improving welfare standards. Currently 12,000 stalkers across the UK have already undertaken voluntary training and there are considerable resources, many of them published on the Deer Commission’s website, to promote best practice. On deer stalking estates it is common practice for visiting stalkers to undergo rigorous marksmanship testing and supervision. The Deer Commission does not cite any evidence to support its contention that there is widespread public concern regarding deer management in Scotland.
BASC cautions government against adopting recommendations which will increase bureaucracy, impose burdensome and unnecessary regulation on deer managers and may act as a disincentive for completing the required cull. The Scottish Government should focus on supporting the current initiatives to improve best practice which have the support of all major stakeholders.
BASC has been closely involved as a major stakeholder in the process leading up to the publication of the Commission’s proposals. BASC has in membership 15,000 active deer stalkers who cull 250,000 deer each year across the UK. Many of our members – wherever they live – are closely involved with deer management in Scotland. BASC is a member of the Deer Commission for Scotland Round Table, a founding member of Wild Deer Management Qualifications Ltd. and is an active partner in the development of deer management best practice across Great Britain.
For more information please contact the BASC press office on 01244 573031