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Scottish government is wasting a ‘national asset’ warns vice chairman of Scottish Gamekeepers Association

Peter Fraser, vice chairman of the SGA, has issued a warning about year-round culling of deer, reports Felix Petit


The changes mean that stags will be able to be culled year round

One of Scotland’s foremost voices on deer believes the country is at grave risk of wasting a ‘national asset’, with government decisions threatening the quality of venison on the market.

Peter Fraser, 76, a stalker for over 40 years and author of a paper on the economic impact of red deer, is now vice chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association. Mr Fraser was speaking as he received a conservation award at Moy Country Fair on 4 August.

Fraser believes that the recent Scottish government decision to allow male deer to be killed year round is a serious misjudgement that could damage the domestic venison sector. He fears the move will push the poorest-quality venison into a stuttering market.

In a narrative that is becoming familiar to the shooting fraternity, Mr Fraser lamented the lack of consultation. “The Scottish government did not consult properly on these changes. If they had, they would have understood the consequences far better,” he explained.

More than 100,000 wild deer are shot in Scotland every year. This produces 3,000 tonnes of venison that is worth £7 million. Recent estimates suggest there could be up to 400,000 red deer in Scotland and that 150 million young trees are consequently vulnerable to damage.