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Important information for deer managers in Scotland

The first of three legislative changes for Scottish deer managers comes into force this month, following a Scottish government consultation earlier this year.

The first of these is for the close seasons for all male deer in Scotland to be removed from 21 October 2023. This means that male deer may be shot year-round in Scotland.

While BASC was against this proposal, we do accept that it may remove barriers to deer managers in some circumstances. Nevertheless, we continue to promote that, throughout the winter months, any deer manager’s priority should be achieving the female cull.

We would like to thank Edward Mountain MSP who tried to prevent the removal of male seasons, a move supported by BASC. After giving robust evidence against the decision in Parliament, the Scottish government continued with plans to remove close male deer seasons.

Night shooting and minimum bullet weights

The second change relates to the legalisation for thermal imaging and night vision rifle scopes for the taking of deer at night. These will now be permitted under licence, coming to effect from November 2023.

Lastly, the decision has been made to reduce the minimum bullet weight needed to legally shoot red, sika and fallow deer in Scotland.

The minimum bullet weight will be reduced from 100gr to 80gr. This decision was made to allow deer managers to continue using .243 calibre and other similar cartridges with lead-free ammunition. This change will also come into effect this November.

For more information please visit the NatureScot website or get in touch with BASC Scotland here.