Deer licensing

General and specific authorisations may permit certain actions in relation to deer that would otherwise be illegal.

All four deer species found in Scotland – red, roe, fallow and sika – are protected under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Find out about deer as protected species.

Authorisations – both general and specific – can allow you to cull deer in situations where you wouldn’t usually have the legal right to shoot them.

You don’t need to apply to use the general authorisation. But you must be sure that you carry out any control entirely in accordance with the conditions.

You must apply for a specific authorisation. Most people wishing to control deer under a specific authorisation must first be registered as ‘fit and competent’.

Scottish Natural Heritage contacts registered venison dealers for venison purchases and sales returns, and landowners and occupiers for deer cull returns.

We appointed a Deer Panel to review key aspects of the deer authorisations process in 2016.


National Operations Unit
Telephone: 01463 725 364