The management of wild deer in Scotland: Deer Working Group report

The final report of the Deer Working Group.

Part Four - Compulsory Powers


1 Part One of this Report described two basic aspects of the management of wild deer in Scotland. Firstly, the legal context was described in terms of the legal status of wild deer, the ownership of deer hunting rights and the nature of the regulatory framework governing deer management. Secondly, the distributions, population sizes and annual culls of the four species of wild deer were described.

2 The second Part of the Report reviewed the basic standards of public safety and deer welfare that should apply under Scotland’s deer legislation to the management of wild deer in all circumstances. Part Three then considered the damage that wild deer cause to a wide range of public interests in particular circumstances. These interests include agriculture, forestry, public safety, Scotland’s natural heritage and the welfare of the deer themselves.

3 This Part of the Report reviews the compulsory powers available in Scotland’s deer legislation for use in relation to the owners and occupiers of land, in order to assist the implementation of the legislation and the protection of public interests from damage by wild deer in particular circumstances.

4 These compulsory powers have always consisted of two basic types in both the Deer (Scotland) Act 1959 and its replacement, the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. The powers are:

  • powers to require land owners and occupiers to provide certain types of information about the management of wild deer on their land; and
  • powers to cull wild deer on land in particular circumstances without the consent of the owner or occupier, to protect public interests from damage by wild deer.

5 The nature of these statutory powers and the extent to which they have been used are examined in the four Sections in this Part of the Report. Sections 21 and 22 consider the powers in the 1996 Act that can be used to require land owners and occupiers to provide information on deer management, while Sections 23 and 24 consider the two types of powers in the Act that can be used to control deer numbers to protect public interests.

6 The degree to which the use of these statutory powers is necessary, can depend on the non-statutory arrangements that exist to encourage deer management that protects public interests and delivers public policy. The current non-statutory arrangements are considered in Part Five of this Report.



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