Deer Working Group response

New policies outlined following independent review.

Measures ensuring effective and sustainable deer management which will help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss have been announced.

They follow an independent review of deer management in Scotland.

Proposals include phasing out the use of lead ammunition to cull deer, modernisation of existing deer legislation, the development of robust deer management plans and enhanced monitoring of deer numbers. 

Consideration has also been given to the potential welfare implications where densities are particularly high with a focus on how sustainable deer management can better benefit the welfare of wild deer. 

Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister Ben Macpherson said:

“As the scale of tackling climate change and the biodiversity crisis increases, and the measures needed to address these challenges become ever more necessary, it is evident that a significant stepping-up of deer management efforts are required.

“In considering our response to the Deer Working Group’s recommendations, the impacts of deer on our climate change targets and on biodiversity have been the main drivers of our policy on deer management; alongside their socio-economic value as a resource and as a much-loved and iconic species, forming part of the Scottish rural environment, character and landscape.

“The report also makes recommendations intended to improve the welfare of wild deer and, alongside other evidence, we have given careful consideration to the findings of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.

“As Scotland’s deer authority, NatureScot have a pivotal role to play in the implementation of these recommendations and will, alongside the Scottish Government, be engaging further with stakeholders on many of these key issues in the next parliamentary term.

“I would like to thank The Deer Working Group for their significant commitment in compiling such a comprehensive report. The Scottish Government supports, and has accepted, the vast majority of the 99 recommendations.

“Deer management is a complex area, and consultation with stakeholders will continue as the practical implementation of the measures announced today are developed.”


The full response to the independent review of deer management, published by the Deer Working Group in January 2020, is available on the Scottish Government website.

The Deer Working Group is an independent working group appointed by Scottish Ministers in October 2017, to recommend changes to ensure effective deer management in Scotland that safeguards public interests and promotes the sustainable management of wild deer.


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