Scotland’s deer stalking sector under threat

(Getty images)

A survey undertaken last month by the Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG), Lowland Deer Network Scotland (LDNS) and the Scottish Venison Association (SVA) has found that if there is no let stalking this year for stags, hinds, roe bucks or roe does then the 103 respondent businesses will lose in excess of £2.5 million. 

The research was undertaken to establish what the financial loss would be to those letting upland and lowland stalking given restrictions on UK and foreign travel under current Covid-19 regulations and social distancing rules, and how this might affect 2020/21 cull plans.

The survey also wanted to establish how the loss of let stalking and potential changes to game dealer/processor arrangements, which will be subject to reduced capacity due to the inefficiencies created by distancing requirements, might affect the amount of venison going into the food chain.

The survey’s main conclusions are:

Loss of income from let stalking

  • The total amount of income estimated at risk of loss to 103 respondents covering > 800,000 ha if there is no let stalking this season is in excess of £2.5 Million.
  • However, if there is no or limited let stalking this season the deer cull plans of 57 per cent of respondents (covering some 448,000 ha) would be unaffected.
  • Similarly, 51 per cent of respondents also said that the loss of all or part of their letting income would not affect the volume of venison they put into the food chain.

Changes to venison dealer/processor arrangements and venison supply chain

  • 62 per cent of respondents said however that if arrangements with their game dealer, including price, change they would adjust their planned cull.
  • Only 25 per cent of respondents (covering 197,000 ha) said that their cull would be unaffected by both loss of let stalking and by changes to game dealer/venison market arrangements.
  • Richard Cooke, ADMG Chairman, said: “This survey gives us some very valuable insight into the potential impact on deer management businesses if there were to be no let stalking in the coming season due to the fallout from Covid-19.”

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