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Thread: MSPs to hear calls for tougher deer controls

  1. #1

    MSPs to hear calls for tougher deer controls

    MSPs are to hear calls for tougher controls on the number of deer in Scotland.
    Evidence on the subject is being heard by Holyrood's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee.
    The damage caused by Scotland's large deer population has been described by environmentalists as the country's "most pressing conservation issue".
    Many of the deer are on privately-owned sporting estates which operate a voluntary system of deer management.
    Scottish Environment Link, which represents the country's biggest environmental organisations, claims the population of red deer alone has increased from 150,000 in the 1960s to about 400,000 today.
    Those figures are disputed by land managers.
    The Association of Deer Management Groups said the population had declined in many areas and was now less than 300,000.
    'Wildfire' riskThe environmental groups, which include the John Muir Trust, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and RSPB Scotland, argue large areas of the country's uplands and native woodlands have been "ecologically impoverished" due to the large number of deer on Scotland's sporting estates.
    They are calling for major changes to the present voluntary system and want to see a new statutory system which would require private landowners to meet deer cull targets set by Scottish Natural Heritage.
    In its submission to the committee, the Association of Deer Management Groups said new regulations would fail to resolve disputes over deer numbers, while increasing bureaucracy and costs.
    The association also highlighted the economic benefit of deer stalking to Scotland's rural economy.
    Stalking is estimated to be worth 105m and to support the equivalent of more than 2,500 full time jobs.
    Land managers also believe undergrazing may become a problem if deer numbers are heavily reduced, leading to the loss of species-rich grassland and an increased risk of wildfires.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by bewsher500 View Post
    The environmental groups, which include the John Muir Trust, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and RSPB Scotland,
    Unless I'm very much mistaken, the three organisations that were previously shouting most loudly about how wonderful the NTS Mar Lodge deer management programme was - of course the independent review shows just how terrible it had actually been.

    You would have though that this lot might have learned some lessons about trying to impose cull targets from afar based upon average densities and computer modelling without local knowledge or actually even visiting the ground - but no, Jobs for the boys once again.

    In the words of Ronnie Rose ""instead of skill and experience... organisations now are being run by people who spent three years in Edinburgh being taught by someone else who spent three years in Edinburgh."

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    Only then can we have a land full of Badgers Raptors and Beavers. It is a sad state of affairs that snh has just put through the Wayne Bill also they have and are still promoting the deer code and the voluntary approach. The ink on both has not even dried properly yet. So i am sure the Minister who certainly has an agenda in this sutherland SAGA will need to face off with the environment minister who put the wayne bill and the code through parliament.


  6. #6
    I find it deeply worrying that this deer bashing gets so much coverage. I'm prepared to believe that there may be issues in specific places with specific properties but my experience to date is that the voluntary collaborative approach works and in any event SNH/ dcs have already the powers to step in and impose culls where there is no compliance to protect designated sites ect.
    The ground i manage is part of a section 7 agreement which is working.
    What i find totally incomprehensible is that it's accepted that the deer range over multiple estates therefore density is calculated for home range not estate by estate but our sheep are only counted as being solely on us for a livestock density calc. even when there are no boundaries only one nieghbour has sheep and they are also ranging at least as far as the deer. But in calculating grazing density the sheep are counted against the 5000ha instead of the actual range of 15000ha so the deer are being disproportionately reduced to achieve desired livestock units on ground.
    I am very wary of JMT definite agenda against fencing. But my view is with such a diverse use of the ground fencing is the only way conflicting management aims can co-exist. Just because i want trees doesnt mean you should have no deer .

  7. #7
    Mar Lodge report forwarded to my MSP with simple request that due consideration is made to the claims made during the period in which it transpired serious errors of judgement were made - against calls of complaint - by various bodies now expressing views.

    No good bemoaning it on here, spread the word!
    Stalking and Courses
    BASC Approved Trainer & Assessor. Cairngorm National Park Authority Approved Supplier. Supported by Sauer Arms
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  8. #8
    Interesting that they seem to be concentrating on the Highlands!
    what about the Central belt where you have the Blackford Farms estate covering a large swath and where no stalking takes place.
    I've counted 18 deer on a stretch 400yds wide by just over a mile long
    Or are they to scared to take on a wealthy Arab family that are protecting the "purity of the water supply" for Highland Spring water at Blackford by not allowing shooting or stalking.


  9. #9
    So where are all the cases of sporting estates not meeting cull targets?? how is the voluntary system not working?? we have a section 7 on our DMG which all the members seem happy to comply with and are working towards their cull targets. Of the other 9 control agreements in place I was told by an SNH employee that they were happy with what was happening within them. A small problem in an isolated area has escalated to become a review of the voluntary deer control system, Bizarre!! If every avenue associated with the benefits of having a sustainable deer population are explored then this should be thrown out. The list of benefits from the current deer population are exhaustive. Reducing the population to meet the objectives of a small minority of landowners is unrealistic, there are ways and means of them achieving their objectives without affecting the livelihoods of hundreds of others. Tell me this, how else would you get private landowners to invest millions of pounds worth of money into the remotest areas of Scotland without sporting interests? And how much is this worth to an independant Scotland if it goes through? I dont think grant money from Europe is going to support the country but thats just my opinion. Biased opinion but the sporting estate has stood the test of time without being managed by the government so dont fix what isnt broken.

  10. #10
    It doesn't matter what the facts are, these people have their own agenda. Anti deer, anti estate, anti owner, anti gamekeeper. You can give them the truth every day, all day. They're not interested.

    ​Just think about that before you vote the hoors in!

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