The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has issued an apparent rebuke to BASC over its plans for more involvement of recreational deer stalkers in managing Scotland’s deer.

In a scathing blog, SGA Chairman Alex Hogg questioned the motive behind the BASC plan. Alex said: “If this is about opportunism and winning new shooting grounds for members, then there is likely to be questions asked about how this will make things better for deer management in Scotland today.”

In 2019 the SGA has made its own calls for communities to be given more of a role in deer management with a ‘10 year vision’ for deer in Scotland. That vision called for a pilot scheme which used recreational stalkers to help tackle specific deer related problems in Scotland’s central belt. Contrasting the SGA proposal with the BASC proposal, Mr Hogg said: “The Pilot Scheme was an attempt to join all of these dots (with public cost savings); it was not solely a different means to open up new stalking grounds and kill more deer.”

The BASC plan was endorsed by a range of countryside organisations including the Association of Deer Management Groups and Scottish Land and Estates and the Scottish Countryside Alliance. However the SGA logo was notable by its absence from literature promoting the BASC scheme. At the Scottish Game Fair last month, BASC officials were tight lipped over the decision by the SGA (which represents most of Scotland’s professional deer managers) not to back their scheme.

Not supporting the scheme, which is backed by all the other shooting organisations, is the latest in a series of decisions which has marked the SGA out from the other shooting and countryside groups. We reported two weeks ago that the SGA had recently restated its support for lead and, unlike England’s National Gamekeepers Organisation, the SGA has not joined Aim to Sustain.

Their stance has proved popular with their membership and has won support from shooters who are disgruntled with other organisations.