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

The final report of the Deer Working Group.

Annex 10 - Long Term Visions for Wild Deer in Scotland from 2000, 2008 and 2014

‘Wild Deer in Scotland - A long term vision’ (DCS, 2000)

The vision adopted by the Deer Commission for Scotland for the place of wild deer in Scotland in 15-20 years is that:

Species & Distribution

  • Scotland will have the same four species of wild deer as at present (roe, red, sika and fallow). No significant colonisation by muntjac will have occurred.
  • Roe deer will still be distributed throughout mainland Scotland.
  • The expansion in the range of red deer will have largely ended. A growing proportion of the overall red deer population will live in woodlands or use woodlands for much of the year. The genetic integrity and viability of island refuge populations of red deer will have been maintained.
  • Sika will not have spread throughout mainland Scotland and they will generally be restricted to woodland populations and excluded so far as possible from the open range.
  • There will have been little, if any, expansion in the range of the localised populations of fallow deer and in some cases, a reduction.
  • Deer will occupy land of a higher ecological value than at present. The process of improvement will be ongoing.

Populations & Management

  • Deer populations will be managed locally so that their management is fully integrated with all local land uses and land use objectives.
  • Deer management will be planned and decided locally on the basis of sound knowledge of all the factors involved and a thorough collaborative process involving those responsible for land management in co-operation with local communities and all other relevant interests.
  • The management of local deer populations will ensure high standards of deer welfare and public safety, and play a constructive role in the long term stewardship of natural habitats.
  • Local deer management will continue to deliver and will be further developing its positive contributions to the rural economy. Involvement with deer management will be seen as an attractive and worthwhile occupation associated with high standards of skills and employment practice.
  • Overall, wild deer will be viewed as a valued asset that is managed on a sustainable basis to produce a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits both locally and in the wider public interest.

Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (DCS, 2008)

In 20 years’ time:

1. There will be widespread understanding and achievement of ‘sustainable deer management’ – the conservation, control and use of all species of deer so as to contribute to:

A high quality, robust and adaptable environment, by

  • valuing populations of wild deer as part of Scotland’s natural heritage;
  • minimising any adverse impacts of wild deer on Scotland’s ecosystems and landscapes.

Sustainable economic development, by

  • careful use of wild deer as a resource, contributing to successful rural businesses and communities;
  • developing the skills, knowledge and employment opportunities of those involved in deer management;
  • • minimising any adverse impacts of wild deer and their management on other land uses.

Social well-being, by

  • safeguarding public health and reducing safety risks associated with wild deer;
  • facilitating the observation and understanding of wild deer by the public;
  • promoting the enjoyment of wild venison as a high quality food product;
  • integrating management of wild deer, access and recreation to enhance experiences and opportunities for all.
2. Effective mechanisms will be in place to:

– assess the management interventions required to achieve the best combination of these outcomes in any area at a given time; and

– ensure that these interventions are carried out effectively, in good time and in accordance with best practice.

Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach – Including 2015-2020 priorities (SNH, 2014)

We manage wild deer to achieve the best combination of benefits for the economy, environment, people and communities for now and for future generations.

By 2030:

There will be widespread understanding and achievement of sustainable deer management.

  • Deer will be valued as part of Scotland’s natural heritage, in balance with their habitats and will contribute to a high quality, robust and adaptable environment;
  • Deer will be a resource for diverse sustainable economic development with adverse impacts on other land being minimised;
  • Deer management will promote social well-being through enjoyment of the outdoors and healthy lifestyles.

Wild deer will be managed in an inclusive way with knowledge used to underpin all decisions.



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