The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has warned that aggressive over-culling of deer to support reforestation and conservation in Scotland is putting rural jobs at risk.

The organisation?s allegations follow the publication of its three-year study into deer culling in Sutherland, written by experienced stalker Peter Fraser.

Mr Fraser said: ?Scotland is laying its greatest wildlife assets to waste without considering the consequences. And it may be too late to prevent the devastation from being permanent in some places.

?Overambitious and ill-conceived forestry or conservation projects are the longest-running culprits, and carnage continues to be carried out in numerous locations in the name of protecting unfenced natural regeneration.?

Duncan Orr-Ewing, chairman of the LINK Deer Task Force, which brings together RSPB Scotland, the John Muir Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, refuted the SGA?s claims.

He said: ?On our properties, we recognise that deer species are a valuable part of the natural heritage, and maintain their populations at levels appropriate to the conservation of other species and habitats.?

The rest of this article appears in the 14th March issue of Shooting Times.

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