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Protected mammals - deer

What are they?

There are four species of deer found in Scotland - red, roe, fallow and sika deer.  Red and roe deer are native species.  Fallow deer were introduced by the Normans and sika deer have only become established relatively recently.

Find out more about deer

How are they protected?

Deer are protected under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996.    

The Act sets out when, where, how and by whom deer can be taken or killed. The Act defines the periods of the year when killing of deer is permitted ( the open and close seasons).  The dates for these seasons vary according to the deer species and whether stags or hinds are targeted.

While deer do not belong to anybody while they are alive, the right to take or kill them is reserved to the landowner. There are additionally a number of other people such as tenants that can take or kill deer for certain purposes. The Act also requires that only certain firearms and bullets can be used to kill deer.

Authorisations and deer

Authorisations are issued by the Scottish Natural Heritage under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 to allow individuals to cull deer in circumstances when they would not normally have the legal right to shoot them, for example to prevent deer damaging natural habitats.

Find out more about authorisations, including when they are required and how to apply.


 *Please Note* The summary of legislation and list of authorisations on this page are not comprehensive, and is intended for use as a guide only.  For a definitive list of offences you should consult the actual legislation.  It is also important to note that this is the law in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK the legislation may differ.

Last updated on Wednesday 13th January 2016 at 14:21 PM. Click here to comment on this page