New Scottish code for deer management

A NEW Scottish deer code comes into effect this month, with a focus on co-operative and voluntary deer management.

The code, developed by Scottish Natural Heritage, is aimed at anyone involved in deer management, including lowland tenant farmers, recreational stalkers, crofters and upland deer managers.

As part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (WANE) bill passed by the Scottish Government, the deer code sets out how those who have deer on their land can deliver sustainable deer management. The code puts new responsibilities on land managers and helps to identify what they must, should or could do to manage deer.

Alastair MacGugan, SNH’s wildlife management manager, said: “Wild deer are an important part of our ecology, economy and culture. Deer are managed in certain parts to protect crops, trees and protected natural areas, as well as to reduce road accidents.”

The deer code supports voluntary deer management, but also sets out when and how SNH may become involved. Previously, SNH authority was confined to taking action when deer were causing damage to the environment. This has now been widened to include powers to take action when deer welfare is involved, or when there is damage caused by deer to social and economic activities.