Deer management emergency situation protocol
As part of our management of Scotland's National Forest Estate, we are responsible for protecting the forest environment. This includes safeguarding planting sites, forest habitats and vulnerable standing crops from bark-stripping or browsing damage by deer. This is generally done by fencing areas to exclude deer or by culling deer to maintain a sustainable population which is in balance with the forest environment.
During the severe winter conditions of 2009-2010, large numbers of red deer were forced to seek shelter and food on our forests at Naver and Achnacarry. As a result of increased browsing damage to forest restock sites, plus the poor condition of the deer themselves, the decision was taken by Forestry Commission staff to cull the deer.
Although there had been communication and discussion with neighbouring estates and stalkers, the culling of the deer caused a degree of unhappiness within the deer sector.
Following these events, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Association of Deer Management Groups agreed to develop a draft protocol to provide a consistent approach and better communications when dealing with emergency situations. This resulted in the publication of the Emergency Situation Protocol.