An expert report has called for hundreds of thousands of deer to be culled in Scotland to deal with an unsustainable surge in numbers.. HMSO, Edinburgh. Wild Deer in Scotland. The 2016 Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report on Deer Management in Scotland used BDS maps based on the surveys in 2007 and 2011.  The total red deer cull was reported as 24,273 that year and the total recorded from returns continued on an upward trend until the RDC was replaced by the Deer Commission for Scotland (DCS) in the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Roe deer now occur more or less throughout mainland Scotland, including the colonisation of an increasing number of peri-urban and urban areas. The Group also considers that, as with information on deer distributions, greater use by SNH of the cull return system to cover more of the country would help give clearer indications of the numbers of deer in different areas and identify trends both locally and nationally.. The basis of the estimates in Putman (2010) and Ward (2007) are described below: fallow population appears to have been his best estimate from the estimated GB populations given by Harris et al and Ward. The impression of range expansion is reinforced by comparing the data shown in Figure 11, with the information available for the three years 2012/13-2014/15. Trends in deer distribution and abundance within the UK. The Management of Wild Red Deer in Scotland. 2 Callander, R. and MacKenzie, N. (1991). 28 The national population estimates that SNH continues to use from those two sources can not realistically be described as based on the “most recent population counts”. (2017). , 13 The main distribution maps for deer in Scotland are currently those that result from the five-yearly 10 kilometre square surveys carried out by the British Deer Society (BDS) in 2007, 2011 and 2016. 30 Putman, R. (2010). Public confidence in these three issues is essential if wild deer management in Scotland is to maintain the understanding and respect of a wider audience at home and abroad. The Deer Working Group is an independent working group appointed by Scottish Ministers in October 2017, to recommend changes to ensure effective deer management in Scotland that safeguards public interests and promotes the sustainable management of wild deer. However, the distribution of the culls in Scotland can be illustrated by sub-dividing national statistics by Local Authority area. Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) Sika deer are native to much of East Asia, with the name “sika” coming from the Japanese word for deer “shika“.  It is not clear how this estimate relates to the higher estimates for roe quoted above. This Report considers whether that regulatory framework and associated non-statutory arrangements are delivering the public policy aim of effective deer management that safeguards public interests and promotes sustainable deer management. The Deer Working Group was established by the Scottish Government in 2017, as a result of the Government’s concern at the continuing issues over the standards of deer management in Scotland and the levels of damage to public interests caused by wild deer. Advocates for Animals’ ... We believe that the central principle in any management of wild deer should be that the culling of deer should be kept to an absolute minimum. Estimating national trends and regional differences in red deer density on open-hill ground in Scotland: identifying the causes of change and consequences for upland habitats. Red Deer Commission … 65 The 1959 Act was designed to cover red deer on the open hill and the legislation now has to cover all species of wild deer across the whole of Scotland, with two or more species present in an increasing percentage of the area. The Deer Code sets out how land managers can deliver sustainable deer management. The maps in Figure 3 show the increasing percentage of tree cover in the different parts of the country from 1947 to 2011, during which time Scotland’s tree cover increased from 6.6% to 18.0% of the total land area. 59 The Group considers that SNH should have its own more detailed maps of the distribution of each of the deer species in Scotland, showing established range and indicating areas or directions of current range expansion. However, it did not publish the total annual red deer culls recorded by the returns in its Annual Reports until 1973.  The total is described as the “most recent” estimate that “was documented in the report to RACCE in 2013”. 9 A dominant factor in this expansion has been the increase in tree cover in Scotland creating more woodland habitat for the deer to colonise. The guides within this folder have been developed by Scotland's deer sector to provide you with the best information available on wild deer management in a format that is easy to access. Development of the Deer Code (2005). You may also be interested in. (2019), The role of selection and evolution in changing parturition date in a red deer population, draft paper shared with DWG. The isolated population in Dumfries and Galloway had also expanded its range as it increased from Fraser Darling’s estimate of around 415 animals in 1954 to approximately 10 times that number by 1990.. Section 17 Non-Native Deer Species. It appears that the first of these was when red deer colonised the Water Board plantations on the Cowal peninsula in the first decade of the 20th century. 23 In a wider review published in 1995 shortly before the 1959 Act was replaced by the 1996 Act, Harris et al gave a higher estimate of 347,000 for the number of red deer in Scotland. SPICe Briefing 13/74. Rural Forum, Scotland. SNH is, for example, responsible for implementing a longstanding public policy of limiting or slowing the expansion of Scotland’s non-native deer species, and it might have been considered that distribution maps at a more detailed scale would be helpful as part of that. 55 A further perspective on the national cull statistics can be obtained by dividing them according to the land use types where the deer were culled. 11 DCS response to Freedom of Information Request about red deer counts in Dumfries and Galloway, 15 April 2010. Best-practice guidelines for managing wild deer were identified as a priority need at the 2016 National Wild Deer Management Workshop. 24 Early in its work for this Report, the Group asked SNH for the figures that it currently uses for the estimated national populations of Scotland’s species of wild deer. The report estimates that up to 1 million wild deer … The results in Figure 10 suggest over 70,000 additional deer, which would indicate an actual total cull of over 180,000. upland deer managers The Deer Code covers all of Scotland’s species of wild deer and habitats on which deer are found. (1920). The distribution of sika deer has increased significantly compared to its 1990 distribution and sika now occur in 40% of the red deer range. 21 Callander and MacKenzie (1991) Op cit. out more about cookies, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, In Putman (2010), the estimate of 347,000 red deer was from Harris, Ward based his national estimates on the same methodology as used by Ward and Young (2004) and updated the figures in that paper (see. Steering Group. However, SNH has used it, for example, in a graph in its 2016 report to the Scottish Government which illustrated the relative cull levels of red and roe deer on open range and in woodland between 2006 and 2016. SNH’s view based on its experience and subject to appropriate caveats, was that the cull returns might cover approximately 90% of the red cull, 75% of the sika cull, 75% of the fallow cull and only 40% of the roe cull.. The Deer Act 1991 (as amended) deals with deer and deer management. The following summary was written to provide some historical context for the consideration of changes to the law in the current Land Reform Bill, including the recent amendments on deer management from Mike Russell MSP. There are also indications that there has been a significant increase in the abundance of roe deer in recent decades. 30 SNH, in its 2016 report to the Scottish Government on Deer Management in Scotland, referred to the national estimate of 360,000-400,000 red deer given in its evidence to the RACCE Committee in 2013. (1979). While it has been roe deer that have moved into those latter areas so far, current expansion patterns and experience in England suggest that fallow and red deer will follow them in places. Rutting Season. 36 These climatic factors and the increases in the area of woodland both suggest that Scotland will continue to improve as a habitat for wild deer. Secondly, it reflects with the sequence of figures in Figure 6 that “most recent” might be considered misleading, given the dates of the two sources quoted by SNH and the earlier dates of some of the estimates used in those sources. The Deer Working Group is an independent working group appointed by Scottish Ministers in October 2017, to recommend changes to ensure effective deer management in Scotland that safeguards public interests and promotes the sustainable management of wild deer. It has been organised around the five 'Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach' (WDNA) priorities, allowing you to filter the information based on your interests.. While the estimates shown in Figure 6 indicate that the overall population of wild deer in Scotland could be up to around 750,000, there are also indications discussed in Section 2.3 below that there could now be approaching a million wild deer in Scotland. 57 This Section has reviewed the information available at a national level on the distributions, population sizes and annual culls of Scotland’s four species of wild deer, to provide an overview as part of the context for the more detailed considerations later in this Report. Government Statistical Service, Edinburgh. Colleges Best Practice Day There is a long historical sequence of detailed information and analysis of the size of the population of red deer living on open hill range in the Highlands, but there appears to be limited information on red deer in the rest of Scotland and the other three species generally. The need for deer management For many people deer stalking is a recreational activity, but it is also necessary to protect agricultural crops, forestry, native flora and indeed, deer, since they are prolific breeders and, if numbers are allowed to increase unchecked, may become prone to starvation and disease. 17.3 Muntjac Deer. High density deer populations can have a negative impact on the establishment of young trees, as well as mature timber. Scotland's Wild Deer: a National Approach: A 20 year vision for wild deer management in Scotland, first published by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2008, and updated in 2014. Develop inclusive and representative decision-making processes. The sources cited in this table can be found in the footnotes for this Section of the Report. Despite the importance of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes for immune response, assessment of diversity on these genes is still rare for European deer populations. 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