The Scottish Government’s desire to ‘rewild’ the Highlands could lead to the biggest deer cull in UK history. Documents seen by Fieldsports Channel viewers suggest that the Forestry Commission for Scotland is considering a reduction of deer numbers to just 5 per sq km.
The idea is thought to come from experiments at the Corrour Estate, Inverness-shire. Swedish packaging company heiress Lisbet Rausing owns Corrour. She writes on the estate website: ‘We are reducing deer numbers from c. 20 per square kilometre to under 5.’
Lisbet Rausing’s sister, fellow heiress Sigrid Rausing, owns Coiganfearn estate in the Monadhliath Mountains. She also owns and edits anti-hunting magazine Granta. She too is testing the FCS theory. Here is a film describing what she is doing:
In line with what Nicola Sturgeon wants, Sigrid Rausing’s people are systematically killing the deer ay Coignafearn, so she can plant trees. She has killed so many that at least one neighbouring estate stopped stalking deer this year. Local stalkers complain that the quality of deer locally has reduced.
The Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon says it wants to wipe out Scotland’s deer. Her government wants to replant the Highlands with trees. Her supporters believe this will remove the underlying sporting amenity that attracts foreign landowners to Scotland. With them gone, it will be easier to carry out land reform, and hand the large estates back to local people. Some landowners, however, refer to her plan as ‘the new Highland clearances’, as rewilding is incompatible with people living in Scotland’s rural areas.
Landowners in areas hit by the policy hope that the Scottish Government’s fad for planting trees will hit a bump thanks to climate change. As Scotland’s climate changes and grows warmer, trees such as sessile oaks do not thrive like they once did. By planting trees, the Scottish Government is creating good conditions for wildfires, like the 23 square miles of Morayshire and the 22 square miles of the Flow Country that caught fire in 2019.
Thanks to Iain Thornber for additional reporting, and for standing up for deerstalking in the Oban Times