Proposals to change the way deer are managed in Scotland have been accepted by the Scottish Government.
The list of 99 proposals, developed by the Deer Working Group, include phasing out the use of lead ammunition to cull deer, enhanced monitoring of deer numbers, and the removal of a ban on night shoots.
“As the scale of tackling climate change and the biodiversity crisis increases, and the measures needed to address these challenges become ever more necessary, it is evident that a significant stepping-up of deer management efforts are required,” said Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister, Ben Macpherson.
“The Scottish Government supports, and has accepted, the vast majority of the 99 recommendations. Deer management is a complex area, and consultation with stakeholders will continue as the practical implementation of the measures announced today are developed.”
The proposals included a move to extend the cull season for female deer from its current period of October 21 until February 15 to a longer season from September 1 to April 15.
This was criticised by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) which warned it could increase the chance of dependent calves starving to death if their mothers are shot in September and deer managers cannot also dispatch the calf.
It also warned it will result in deer managers potentially having to cut large calves from the stomachs of heavily pregnant female deer.
The Scottish Government did not accept the proposed changes and said it would keep the season dates under review.