Deer Working Group


The Scottish Government has a Programme for Government commitment to “modernise deer management, implementing the recommendations of the Deer Management Working Group”.

We published our response to the report by the independent Deer Working Group on 24 March 2021. The Scottish Government has accepted the majority of the ninety-nine recommendations including changes that will modernise the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 alongside proposals to change how, when and where deer can be shot and by whom.

Given the links between deer management and biodiversity, the Scottish Government have established a project under the Scottish Biodiversity Programme Board to encompass legislative and non-legislative components of ensuring effective deer management. This will ensure an appropriate level of governance, but will also bring deer management into consideration alongside biodiversity as the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy progresses.

This project board has been established under the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Programme, and the board will agree priorities to improve the sustainability of Scotland’s deer management systems, with actions split across four work streams: legislation; regulation; incentives; and operational delivery.

The work streams are in the process of identifying and agreeing priority actions for the recommendations within their remit, and this website will be updated as that work develops. The work stream focusing on incentives will include proposals to mainstream deer management into existing schemes, and scope for any new schemes. While the regulation work stream will focus our approach to target regulatory efforts and will include prioritizing areas where significant damage occurs. We will continue to engage with stakeholders as the policy develops.

Final report 

The Group submitted its final report to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, on 19 December 2019. The Scottish Government will give a formal response to the Group's recommendations in due course.


  • Simon Pepper OBE (Chair) (Died 18 September 2018)
  • Andrew Barbour (Acting Chair from 18 September 2018)
  • Dr Jayne Glass
  • Robin Callander

External Advisers

  • Richard Cooke (until 6 September 2019)
  • Malcolm Combe





Telephone: 01463 725197

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