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Code of Practice on Deer Management

Deer Code approved by Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament approved the Code of Practice on Deer Management  PDF document   on 21st December 2011. The Code came into effect on January 1st 2012. 

Who is the Deer Code aimed at?

The Deer Code is aimed at all who own or manage land where wild deer are found, or manage wild deer on someone else's land.

This extends to a wide and diverse audience including lowland tenant farmers, recreational stalkers, crofters and upland deer managers.

We have produced a postcard  PDF document  to help raise awareness of the Deer Code.

Why do we have the Deer Code?

The  Deer Code sets out how land managers can deliver sustainable deer management. The Deer Code puts new responsibilities on land managers and helps them to identify what they must do, what they should do and what they could do to manage deer sustainably. It also stresses the importance of managing deer collaboratively, of talking to neighbours and of planning together.

The Deer Code is relevant to all wild species of deer in Scotland and all habitats on which deer are found. The Deer Code supports the voluntary approach to deer management but also identifies when and how Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) may become involved. The Deer Code has come about because of changes to existing laws, including the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. The Deer Code has been prepared by SNH with input from stakeholders and approved by Ministers and the Scottish Parliament.

Public consultation

A consultation was held between 10th May and 1st July and three public consultation meetings were held in Inverness, Perth and Moffat. These provided an opportunity to understand how and why the Deer Code had been developed and to provide feedback on the consultation draft of the Deer Code. A Consultation Responses Analysis Report  PDF document   was produced highlighting the key themes from the responses. This analysis informed the final draft of the Deer Code. A Consultation Report  PDF document summarises the changes made to the consultation draft. The consultation responses which respondents agreed could be made publically available are listed in this document  PDF document  with links to the response submitted.

Further Information & Contact Details

For further information and please contact Scottish Natural Heritage, Deer Code, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NW Email: 

Background context

A comprehensive and extensive body of work set the foundation for the Deer Code. The responsibilities of deer managers have been explored and articulated through core previous work programmes including the Responsibility of Care project. Detailed background reports were produced as part of this project. These reports were used as reference points in the production of advice to the Scottish Government on recommended changes to the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Copies of these reports are available below:

Perceptions, legal status and expectations regarding deer welfare in Scotland  PDF document

Perceptions, legal status and expectations regarding deer welfare in other countries  PDF document

A review of available data on natural mortality of red and roe deer populations  PDF document

Potential responsibilities of care for upland red deer   PDF document

Last updated on Thursday 7th June 2012 at 14:58 PM. Click here to comment on this page