The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has released a statement backing the work of the Assynt Crofters Trust (ACT) and SGA members in the area who have been adversely impacted by the out-of-season deer culls by John Muir Trust on their property at Quinag.
Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s Deer Group representative Lea MacNally said: “The SGA backs the suspension of the out-of-season licence until this project, and its potential impacts, can be evaluated properly.
“The community are not against tree regeneration, as has been demonstrated on their own ground, but this scheme has the potential to seriously imperil employment and cut off much needed income streams with scant justification for any real environmental gain.”
For those unaware of the unfolding story, you can read the background and full analysis on our website, here: https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/latest-news/2023/2023-09-01-the-john-muir-trust-at-it-again-in-assynt.php
There are also 5 videos demonstrating the regeneration which has been achieved away from Quinag, with deer present to an agreed target density.
The SGA is to visit members in the area and remains in supportive contact with representatives from ACT as the local community considers its next steps.
A visit will also be made in the next week to affected SGA members in the Glen Coe area who are also experiencing job concerns due to another controversial out-of-season regeneration scheme by environmental NGO, National Trust for Scotland.
The SGA has written to MSPs in the area, with up to 12 jobs potentially impacted which rely on deer stalking. Chairman Alex Hogg MBE has also written to NatureScot to seek answers on whether a seed source actually exists for regeneration in the glen and what socio economic assessments were undertaken when granting the out-of-season licence.
Local stalkers have questioned whether the NTS regeneration project will actually succeed and say every deer will have to be killed if it has any chance of achieving its aims.
“The local stalkers are not against regeneration. They are not unreasonable. Given the impacts and topography, they just feel this (project) is (in) the wrong place. The environment is important but, as part of a Just Transition, people and communities must be considered, too. Their view is that their jobs are not being considered at all.
“This is a fragile community. If ever there was an argument to say that socio-economic impacts should be properly considered, it is here.
“Put simply, if the deer go, so will the last remaining hill people and their families in Glen Coe and the surrounding area.”
To catch up with the story in Glen Coe and Glen Etive, go to: https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/latest-news/2022/2022-12-15-glen-coe-cull-could-clear-last-hill-people.php