Glen Coe Community 80% Against Charity Deer Cull

A National Trust for Scotland deer cull in Glen Coe and Glen Etive is opposed by nearly the whole community.

A controversial out-of-season winter cull of deer by National Trust for Scotland in Glen Coe and Glen Etive has been opposed by nearly 80% of the local community.

A survey, drafted by estates and local families, was taken by 139 individuals either resident or with businesses in the area.

Of those, 109 voiced opposition to the killing of deer out-of-season by the charity, with employment loss, negative tourism impacts and animal welfare being the principal reasons cited.

Only 27 respondents were in favour, saying that it would help promote habitat recovery and could reduce the presence of deer on surrounding roads.

Results of the community survey were overwhelmingly against National Trust for Scotland's deer culls

National Trust for Scotland were granted a licence from regulators NatureScot to shoot deer outwith the legal seasons this winter past, with the aim of reducing the number of wintering deer on their reserve.

Since September, NTS have shot over 220 deer (mostly Stags), with 41 shot under authorisation at night, in a bid to promote tree regeneration without the use of protective fencing.

However, the wintering movements of deer means local gamekeepers, who are reliant upon visiting deer stalking income to sustain their jobs and family homes, are being directly impacted.

Deer have sheltered temporarily in the part of the glen owned by NTS for millennia during winter snows before returning to neighbouring hills and glens when the weather improves.

There, they are regarded as an asset, with deer supporting gamekeeper jobs, the retention of working age adults and dependents in the community and attracting paying visitors to local businesses.

Attritional, heightened deer culls, over a long period, will naturally reduce the value of the asset to the wider community, with deer being viewed as a magnet for tourists.

With full-time employment fragile in the area, the majority of survey respondents (27) said the culls (which NTS aim to continue with) would negatively impact employment on neighbouring estates and could impact schools and teacher numbers, if jobs were lost.



Twenty six respondents said visitors regarded deer as iconic, with negative impacts on tourism if numbers were continually reduced, with little measurable benefit and no proper consultation by NTS.

A further 25 survey responses said the culls were indiscriminate, would impact deer welfare and ought only to be carried out within the legal seasons. 

“This is an important gauge of community opinion,” said Alex Hogg, MBE, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, which represents impacted gamekeepers in Glen Coe and Glen Etive.

Gamekeepers' Chairman Alex Hogg is worried about members' jobs and the wellbeing of families in Glen Coe.

“At the time the cull licence became operational, we wrote to NatureScot, the licensing body. They acknowledged that, as a regulator, they had ‘balancing duties’.

“Part of that would be to consider the impacts of their decision on others. 

“Clearly, this authorised cull has been carried out against the wishes of the local community and we also know that socio-economic impacts were not properly considered.

“There must be another way, here. Glen Coe and Glen Etive are not places with lots of other employment choices. Deer, and the jobs which go with them, are of particular importance. There must be a way of balancing improving the environment- which deer managers are in favour of- but also maintaining jobs and community wellbeing. That is what a Just Transition demands.”

Thirteen respondents said that, with such potential for negative impacts, NTS should have consulted properly with residents and should consider fencing some areas to protect deer and trees, as an alternative to culling out of season.

Ten others said that NTS’ plan to cull and move deer from their ground would only displace more animals into the village and peoples’ gardens, where they would do more damage.


Further Reading

The survey asked if respondents lived in Glen Coe or Glen Etive or had a business in the area. It asked if they had heard about the cull and where they had learned of it. It also asked people’s opinion of the cull, with space for individuals to give personal reasons.


  • Of the 109 respondents opposing the cull, the main reasons were fears over job losses and negative socio-economics (27), fears over loss of tourists who love to see the deer and impact on tourism businesses (26), fears that animal welfare is being compromised through indiscriminate, non-selective culling at a time when deer should be protected (25), disbelief that strategic fencing had not been tried as a compromise solution (13), inadequate community consultation and lack of transparency by NTS.

The Glen Coe community feels National Trust for Scotland's deer culls are indiscriminate and non-selective.


  • Every single working age person at the far end of Glen and in Glen Etive are dependent on estates (which are neighbours to the NTS property) for employment. 


  • Of the 27 in favour of the cull, environmental recovery (9) was cited as the main reason, alongside the feeling that reducing numbers would mean less deer in the village and on roads (9).


  • On the latter point, 10 respondents felt that NTS’ cull policy and their pledge to harass the deer from their ground would lead to more deer being pushed into the village and onto roads; that aspect splitting opinion almost equally amongst respondents.


  • One common theme in responses was that the deer had been present longer than humans in Glen Coe and Glen Etive and should be treated with greater respect. 


  • At a meeting of selected local stakeholders in Autumn 2022 at the NTS Visitor Centre, local land managers in attendance claim they were asked by NTS officials if they could ‘keep quiet’ about the intended cull plan.


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