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Deer managers ‘appalled’ at Scottish consultation

Deer managers say they cannot support some of the proposals.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has signalled it is in “fundamental and collective opposition” to the changes being proposed in the Scottish government’s deer consultation and will not put its name to it. The SGA added it “cannot, with conscience, support measures” contained within the consultation. 

Ministers plan to create new deer management nature restoration orders (DMNROs) that would give additional powers to nature agency NatureScot. These could include a “range of deer management actions required” — among them culling animals to encourage nature restoration. 

Non-compliance with an action requirement under a DMNRO would be an offence, chargeable with fines of up to £40,000. 

Six-times professional stalker of the year Chris Dalton told ST: ”I fully understand the position taken by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association to oppose the Scottish government and its proposals. All deer managers I speak to are appalled at many of these proposals, particularly the welfare implications for deer and long-term negative impacts on biodiversity. 

“It is a dangerous policy not to engage when we have the chance, but when the science does not fit the preferred narrative, you have to explore other avenues to challenge this.”