BASC Scotland has uncovered misleading information in the Scottish government?s consultation document for the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill.

The controversial proposals for deer management, which were formulated by the Deer Commission for Scotland (DCS), recommend introducing a national register of qualified stalkers because there is some evidence of a potential risk to public safety.

To support this, the document stated there have been three fatalities associated with deerstalking in the past four years.

However, BASC Scotland has investigated these claims and the DCS has clarified its position: ?There have been three fatalities associated with the use of rifles in Britain in the past four years.?

Nicolle Upton, BASC Scotland?s press and policy officer, explained the anomaly: ?BASC?s research has shown that the three fatalities referred to in the document were not associated with deerstalking, stalkers or indeed Scotland. This means that the guidance given to the public in the document is misleading. The clarification now undermines the already weak evidence supporting the argument that deerstalking represents ?a potential risk to public safety?.?

Other Scottish pro-shooting organisations have said they are alarmed by BASC Scotland?s findings and say the discovery brings into question the quality of all the DCS?s proposals.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance?s (SCA) Ross Montague said there are a number of proposals which the SCA finds divisive: ?It is important when dealing with controversial issues that all of the facts presented by all parties are 100% correct. Misleading and wrong information does not help further discussion and we are therefore disappointed that these facts were not verified before publication.?

The Scottish Gamekeepers? Association?s Alex Hogg concurred: ?This finding highlights only one of the inaccuracies in the consultation. The flawed arguments in the document are in danger of undermining the future of stalking in Scotland.?

Responding to BASC Scotland?s findings, the DCS? Alastair MacGugan told Shooting Times magazine: ?The DCS apologises if the text in the consultation was in any way misleading. This was not our intention. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that three people were killed by rifles. The proposal that stalkers must demonstrate competence to kill deer can only help but assure the public that stalking can be carried out safely and humanely.?

Let us know what you think about this!

  • Robert B Russell

    I think they knew exactly what they were doing.
    I think they meant to mislead.
    And I think they thought they’d get away with it.
    This organisation is not fit for purpose.

  • Ken Griffin

    In the year of the Dunblain tradgedy there were over seventy anglers killed by drowning.

    I have yet to hear of anglers being made to take extensive and EXTREMELY expensive courses and tests on water safety, angling skills, fish species and recognition – verging on veterinary knowledge, nor of having to employ numerous sets of plastic gloves, knives and special groundsheets in order to handle said fish once they reach the bank.

    Anyone in this country can fall – free of charge and without fear of failing to have certification – from any mountain top in Britain – and be rescued at the taxpayers expense. I have no idea of the annual death toll, but it must be quite significant.

    I do not hear of THESE voters being penalised or being turned away from rambling, hill-hiking or munroe-bagging because they do not comply wih a quango’s demands and obtain numerous expensive ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ certificates.
    They do not even require to have some form of basic ‘Freedom-to-roam’ insurance in order to cover these potential costs.

    Yet here are the DCS forwarding specious arguments in favour of what appears to be a thinly disguised, draconian intention to rule the stalking world in the UK, and one of their powerful arguments is that at some time in the last four years, three people have died as a result of rifle accidents !
    I have not heard of such a thing in the stalking or sporting world, and such firearms accidents usualy gain front-page news.

    It was not so long ago that some bright spark in one of the deer initiative quangos forwarded the idea that every Tom Dick and Harry should be allowed a rifle in order to control Britain’s population of ‘dangerous’ deer.
    More bright ideas from the boys ! (Cowboys)

    I wonder who on earth in the deep recesses of the DCS offices dug up this latest little gem ? It smacks of a bureau rather removed from reality that they consider this item as a part of their armoury of ‘good ideas’.
    A far cry from the scene of the ‘OK Corral’ in the Grampian region a couple of years back where a rather shocking debacle took place.

    The DCS’ dogmatic response is much on the same lines of some other people – also unelected – who today refuse to listen in a democratic manner to any opinion except for that which suits their own power-driven agenda in order to rule and stay in power.

    I see something emerging which has little to do with deer and their sensible or more importantly HUMANE management, but everything to do with power, bureaucracy and career building.

  • Craig Stoddart

    It is time to get rid of this long-redundant Deer Commission for Scotland, which is yet another self-agrandising cash-hungry quango looking for any means to grab new powers and survive. They do not care about the deer, the stalkers or the valuable sporting industry, just shoring up their own positions.

    The DCS proposals for the Wildlife Bill are embarrassing in their incompetence and nothing more than ‘jobs for the boys’. The proposals are factually inaccurate and nothing more than gutter politics. The whole country is tired of paying vast sums for these unelected and unaccountable bodies such as DCS. And now, with these daft proposals, DCS are digging their grave. It’s time for a change; get rid if this clueless power-hungry quango.