Opinion Former Article

Report will lead to better recognition of recreational deer stalkers, says BASC

BASC believes new recommendations made to the Scottish Government will improve deer population management and lead to better recognition of the expertise of deer recreational stalkers.

A report by the Lowland Deer Panel to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) contains a number of recommendations that are welcomed by the UK’s largest shooting organisation.

The report includes a call to improve the recording of cull data on the numbers of deer shot in lowland Scotland and asks for greater obligations to be placed on local authorities to manage deer on their land.

Jake Swindells, BASC’s country officer Scotland, said: “The highest proportion of qualified deer managers in the UK is in Scotland’s central belt. This resource is available and willing to help deal with the impacts that deer can have on forestry, the wider environment and on public safety through the high number of road vehicle collisions.

“There is also a recognition that larger areas of the National Forest Estate could be made available to suitably-qualified recreational stalkers, thereby reducing the cost of deer management to the government. Currently, this recreational contribution is in decline.”

The report recognises the success of the BASC stalking scheme on the island of Arran, where visiting stalkers help manage the red deer population and also contribute to the local tourism economy.

Mr Swindells added: “We would support the expansion of successful schemes like this to the mainland where they would be just as popular and successful. We also support the call for the provision of local venison processing and storage facilities, such as mobile larders. An absence of these currently acts as a barrier to sustainable deer management.”

Cara Richardson, BASC council member and chair of BASC’s Scottish committee said: “We now need to look to better models for deer management in lowland Scotland. This report recognises the wide range of collaborative approaches that already work well in various locations and these could be used as excellent examples in future best practice guides.”

She said lowland deer management is not just an issue for the central belt of Scotland.

“From the north of Scotland, to Dumfries and Galloway in the south, there are many lowland areas where efficient deer management is extremely important” she added.

“BASC members and other recreational stalkers play a key role in sustainable deer management and it is important that this is recognised.

“Roe deer may not be the iconic deer of Scotland but they are the species which many Scots who live in lowland areas encounter on a daily basis. This report highlights to SNH the importance of the sustainable management of all deer species at a local level.”

ENDS

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