Deer management groups

Sustainable management of red deer in the open range calls for a collaborative approach via voluntary deer management groups.

Voluntary Deer Management Groups (DMGs) exist across most of Scotland’s red deer range. The memberships of these groups comprise representatives from landholdings within the group’s area. The diversity of ownership and management objectives within this membership is increasingly varied, and as a result positive, proactive engagement from all landholdings within the group area is important to the effective, sustainable management of deer populations.

The Association of Deer Management Groups works closely with Scottish Natural Heritage to support DMGs to deliver effective deer management planning and decision making.

Funding for deer management groups

Deer management delivers a range of 'public interest' benefits to the people of Scotland. SNH has identified 14 specific areas of public interest, derived from the Code of Practice on Deer Management and Wild Deer: A National Approach.

Following recommendations from the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee Enquiry in 2013, all DMGs were given the opportunity to demonstrate progress under the voluntary approach towards effective, environmentally responsible deer management planning. Scottish Government made £200,000 available for the development of Deer Management Plans, which incorporate the range of public interest benefits, and SNH administered 50% match-funded grants for their delivery.

View the public interest objectives for deer management groups in Deer Management Plans: Delivering the Public Interest.

Deer Management Group Assessment

In late 2014 DMGs were assessed against the range of public interest indicators identified above. This assessment provided baseline information on how DMGs were functioning at this point.

Read the 2014 DMG Assessment: Analysis and Results

These assessments were repeated in 2016 to capture the progress associated with the above deer management planning process.

Read the 2016 DMG Assessment: Analysis and Results

These assessments were used as part of the evidence used by SNH in its 2016 Review into the effectiveness of deer management in Scotland to Scottish Government.

Read the SNH's Review of Deer Management

The ECCLR Committee (the replacement for the RACCE Committee) published their Report on Deer Management in early April 2017 in response to SNH’s above report to Scottish Government.

Read the ECCLR Committee Report on SNH's Review