Tuesday 10 January 2012

New Scottish code for deer management

A new Scottish deer code comes into effect this month, with a focus on cooperative and voluntary deer management across the country. The code, developed by Scottish Natural Heritage, is aimed at anyone involved in deer management, including lowland tenant farmers, recreational stalkers, crofters and upland deer managers.
As part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (WANE) bill passed by the Scottish Government, the deer code sets out how those who have deer on their land can deliver sustainable deer management. The code puts new responsibilities on land managers and helps to identify what they must, should or could do to manage deer.
Alastair MacGugan, SNH’s wildlife management manager, said: “Wild deer are an important part of Scotland’s ecology, economy and culture. Deer are managed in certain parts of Scotland to protect crops, trees and protected natural areas, as well as to reduce road accidents. Deer stalking also provides an important source of income to many fragile rural economies throughout Scotland. Balancing these different objectives is sometimes a challenge, so the aim of the code is to provide guidance to land managers and their neighbours on how to co-operatively manage deer.”
The deer code supports voluntary deer management, but also sets out when and how SNH may become involved. Previously, SNH authority was confined to taking action when deer were causing damage to the environment. This has now been widened to include powers to take action when deer welfare is involved, or when there is damage caused by deer to social and economic activities.
SNH developed the code with input from a range of organisations and people involved in land management.
For more information, see www.snh.gov.uk.
Red deer hinds near Cattadale

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