Scottish Deer Management
NatureScot have a statutory responsibility for the conservation and sustainable management of all wild deer species in Scotland.
NatureScot have a statutory responsibility for the conservation and sustainable management of all wild deer species in Scotland. The latest Deer Management consultation was carried out earlier this year and identified a significant number of suggestions for improved deer management. NatureScot have now reviewed this consultation and have announced legislative changes that will come into effect later this year. These are:
MALE DEER CLOSED SEASONS
The close season for all male deer in Scotland will be removed from the 21st October. This means that male deer may be shot year-round.
THERMAL IMAGING & NIGHT VISION SCOPES
Shooting deer at night using thermal imaging and night vision scopes will be permitted under licence from November 2023. Only those individuals on NatureScot’s Fit and Competent register may apply for this licence.
The minimum bullet weights needed to shoot Red, Sika and Fallow deer in Scotland will be reduced from 100gr to 80 gr. This decision will allow deer managers to continue to use .243 rifles with lead-free ammunition. This change will come into effect in November.
These changes have caused considerable disquiet in both the deer management and shooting industries. There is significant concern that this is a bid to maximise the deer cull in Scotland without due regard for deer welfare or substantive evidence of the need for this.
Article written by: Will Robinson – JM Osborne Rural & Sporting