Falling deer numbers are threat to Sutherland economy
Looks like the debate is heating up in the Highlands.
This calf did not survive the harsh 2010/11 winter
A WARNING flag has gone up this week over falling deer numbers in Sutherland.
Sporting estates are being urged to reduce their deer culls because high mortality rates during the recent poor winters have led to a drastic reduction in the county’s deer population.
A new research paper suggests the economy of the county could be affected if estates persist in heavy deer culls.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is unveiling the research document at its annual general meeting in Inverness next Friday, 2nd March.
It is the first time that the SGA has held its AGM in the Highland capital.
The new paper, details of which were released earlier this week, is entitled “The Economic Importance of Red Deer to Scotland’s Rural Economy and the Political Threat now facing the country’s Iconic Species.”
The research was conducted across 20 per cent of Sutherland’s land area. The county was chosen as it is regarded as a stronghold for red deer stalking.
It includes sporting figures compiled by Inverness chartered accountants Angus and Donald Mackenzie.
It is understood the paper concludes that sporting estates can no longer afford to cull the same numbers of deer as they have done in previous years.
Experienced Deeside gamekeeper Peter Fraser wrote an introduction to the research paper.
He states: “We’re laying our greatest wildlife assets to waste without considering the consequences. And it may already be too late in some places to prevent the devastation from being permanent.”
Mr Fraser claims some estates are undertaking swingeing deer culls to protect forestry and conservation projects