Protect the future of deer management in Scotland

red deer

BASC is calling on members to respond to a Scottish Government consultation by the closing date of March 29, which will shape the future of deer management in Scotland.

The Managing Deer for Climate and Nature consultation, which closes on 29 March, seeks your views on some of the Deer Working Group’s (DWG) recommendations which require changes to existing legislation. 

It also includes proposals which were not considered by the DWG, but which the Scottish Government believes are now necessary to meet the targets for tree planting and peatland restoration that it has committed to.

The narrative within the introduction to this consultation appears to blame the over population of deer for all loss of biodiversity, when the truth is there are many factors affecting both the climate emergency and biodiversity loss.

It is BASC’s view that native deer should not be relegated to pest status and demonised as a national problem but rather discussed and managed at an appropriate level to deliver nature recovery and would like to see this as part of the narrative of any Scottish strategy.

In general, we welcome this consultation and the opportunity it affords to ensure the long-term sustainable management of Scotland’s deer. However, below are the key points that we believe should be appreciated when considering our responses:

  1. We do not consider deer to be a national problem, indeed in many areas of Scotland the deer populations are well managed at an environmentally sustainable level. We do however accept that certain species in certain areas are a problem. We certainly would not want native deer to be considered as pests to be eradicated.
  2. We believe that the Scottish government should address the impact of all herbivores on natural ecosystems and that this should be based on up to date and valid habitat impact assessments. 
  3. As stated above, BASC is the main organisation representing deer stalkers (42,000) and is the main provider of deer management training (approx. 50% of all DSC1/2s annually). As such we are well placed to ensure the sector has the capacity to manage deer, now and in the future.
  4. We believe that the Scottish government should harness the potential of our deer stalker members to act as volunteer deer managers across many parts of Scotland. This is a more long-term, sustainable solution to the management of Scotland’s deer population.
  5. The Scottish government needs to invest in the venison supply chain to ensure that there are no bottlenecks and a demand for all the extra venison that will be produced as a result of an increased cull.
  6. BASC is keen to help deliver the deer management required across Scotland and will work with the Scottish government and its agencies to enable this.

For further guidance, find BASC’s full response to the consultation here.

Complete the consultation via this link