Policy & Lobbying
Deer Stalking
Deer Stalking, as well as being a key discipline in deer management, also plays a significant role in Country Sports tourism in Scotland. Deer are sustainably managed by landowners and estates across Scotland as a valued resource. In the uplands, red deer management is coordinated through Deer Management Groups (DMGs) who collaborate to manage the deer in their area. These DMGs belong to the  Association of Deer Management Groups  (ADMG) with whom Scottish Land & Estates work closely on deer issues.

Good practice in deer management is vital and Scottish Land & Estates supports the industry led Best Practice Guidance.

Scottish Land & Estates strongly supports the existing voluntary approach to demonstrating competence in deer stalking and management. However the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 included a reserved power for Ministers to introduce regulation of persons who shoot deer in Scotland. This would be achieved by secondary legislation after full consultation with the sector and would create a register of persons competent to shoot deer as well as setting out criteria for competence.  A person would be prohibited from shooting deer unless he/she was registered or supervised by a registered person.

Legislative intervention in deer competency was opposed by many within the deer sector including Scottish Land & Estates.  As a result the Government agreed to allow a period for the sector to formalise a voluntary competency scheme. A review of competency is to be carried out if the regulations referred to above have not been made by 1 April 2014. Scottish Land & Estates is therefore working with other deer organisations to achieve a satisfactory voluntary deer competency scheme. It is expected that the sector will be able to demonstrate substantial progress by 1 April 2014, thus avoiding further regulation.
Scottish Land & Estates and the other organisations representing the deer sector have come together to form a Deer Sector Competence Working Group to promote voluntary competence. The group has agreed that the required standard of competence is met by Deer Stalking Certificate 1 (DSC1) and equivalent qualifications.

If you shoot deer unaccompanied in Scotland, whether for sport or to protect your forestry or crops, you are urged to get qualified before 1 April 2014 so that the Working Group can make the stongest argument to government that further regulation is unwarranted.

The training and assessment is straightforward so contact one of the training providers below for details of existing valid qualifications, training or assessment:-

For further information on what is required for DSC Level 1 and for contact points for training and assessment please refer to the Deer Management Qualifications Ltd website:- http://www.dmq.org.uk/assessmentcentres.htm

Further information is available from SNH on Deer Management.

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