How 750 000 deer went missing in Scotland

the story they didn't want you to know


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Much of which people hear about deer in Scotland is misleading.

 The narrative goes like this: ‘Scotland has a deer problem. It must be those big ones in the highlands with the antlers (red deer). Wealthy landowners charge people to shoot that kind. So, the reason we are ‘nature depleted’ is because these landowners with deer forests are allowing deer numbers to rise. Why? More deer = more cash for the landowner.’

 Today, evidence shows this is largely wrong.

 Nonetheless, it is still reinforced by some environmental groups.

 Scottish Government and its agencies, too, will sometimes justify a divisive cull, impacting peoples’ lives, on the fact Scotland has a ‘million deer’.

 The species causing the ‘problem’ is rarely mentioned or where they are. Most possibly, the figure is wrong but that doesn’t seem to matter.

 As the film says, though, 750 000 of those million deer in Scotland are not ‘the ones with the big antlers’ in the highlands.

 They are to be found in forestry (all over Scotland), in the lowlands and around the major cities in middle Scotland. The greater majority will be roe. We need to ask why this has happened.

 How do we know 750 000 deer are somewhere that is ‘not the highlands’?

 In 2019, the 46 deer management groups in the highlands took all available published deer count data, and other data sources, and calculated that the number of red deer in the highlands was circa 246 000. Since then, there hasn’t been anything published which runs contrary.

 If we’ve got a million deer, three quarters of them are not the ones with the ‘big antlers’ in the highlands.

 Therefore, we continue to prioritise the vast majority of our energies on a quarter of the so called ‘problem’ allowing the three quarters to bubble away.

 What a weight upon the highlands!

 And now, with the introduction of the proposed Deer Management Nature Restoration Orders, highland deer cull refuseniks could be sent to jail.

 There’s justice - and, clearly, there’s a Scottish version of it.

 Take a look at this map, published by permission of native woodland adviser, Victor Clements.

 It shows where Scotland’s vehicle collisions with deer occur. It also overlays where the 250 000 red deer are, and where the other 750 000 are located. Revealing, isn’t it? 

Note: Is this map not showing that there are more cars and drivers in a certain area? Is it not likely to show more collisions? To a certain extent, that is true. But it is not all true.

You can’t hit a deer that’s not there. In order to hit them, the deer are there, and the numbers of deer vehicle collisions are rising in these areas. 20 years ago, this was much, much rarer.

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