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Locals allowed to stalk for free under new scheme

NatureScot’s community deer management pilot offers locals the chance to learn deer management skills.

Stag photographed in Scotland during Autumn/Fall

A pioneering new initiative is offering local residents the chance to stalk deer at NatureScot’s Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve (NNR), 25 miles north-east of Fort William. 

The community deer management pilot offers those living nearby the opportunity to learn deer management skills and, when fully trained and qualified, free access to the reserve to shoot deer in season for their own consumption. 

This is the first time a community deer management model has been tried on publicly owned land in Scotland. The initiative will complement the reserve’s deer cull, which is crucial for protecting and restoring Creag Meagaidh’s regenerating native woodlands and other habitats. 

Rory Richardson, NatureScot’s Creag Meagaidh NNR manager, told ST: “The scheme has been set up to get people back in touch with nature. The initiative gives anyone in the parish willing to put in the time the chance to learn about deerstalking and management. Our aim was to make deerstalking accessible to those who might want to get involved. 

“Involving the community in the reserve and how we manage it for nature will aid protecting and restoring the reserve’s habitats as well.”