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Navigating Change: A Consultation on Managing Deer for Climate Change and Nature

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James Scott, Policy & External Affairs Scotland, British Deer Society

Consultation on Managing Deer for Climate Change and Nature

On January 5th, 2024, the Scottish Government took a significant step toward the sustainable management of deer populations by launching a consultation on potential changes to the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. This initiative aims to implement the recommendations put forth by the Deer Working Group.

The consultation addresses six key themes, each playing a crucial role in enhancing the natural environment, ensuring compliance, promoting deer welfare, managing close seasons, handling venison, and regulating kept and farmed deer.


The British Deer Society (BDS) invites its members, Scottish Branches, and the wider community to engage with the consultation, and also contribute their valuable perspectives back to the BDS to help shape our official response.

We want to ensure our responses reflect the opinions and wishes of our members and that they also align with the BDS’s key objective of protecting and promoting deer welfare.


Members are encouraged to consider the consultation’s contents, recognising the Scottish Government’s preference for straightforward yes/no answers. Your input is important in guiding our Policy & External Affairs Officer, James Scott, toward a preferred response. While addressing each theme, members should keep in mind that they are not obliged to answer every question, focusing on areas aligning with the primary objective.


Responses should be submitted via email to by midnight on February 11, 2024. The Scottish Area Council will consider the output on February 26, followed by the BDS Board on March 13, before submitting the final response.


The BDS encourages its members to actively participate in this consultation, ensuring that the collective voice promotes the welfare of deer while acknowledging the broader impact on Scotland’s natural environment.

We also encourage members to share their thoughts directly with us to help our response reflect your voice.

By engaging in thoughtful and informed responses, the BDS aims to contribute to the creation of legislation that aligns with our core objectives and safeguards the delicate balance between private and public interests. Together, let us navigate change responsibly and sustainably for the benefit of both deer and nature.


If you believe deer deserve better and should be managed fairly and humanely then get involved by:

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