Wednesday 25 March 2020


Photo by Neil McIntyre.
Guidance from SNH for deer stalkers/managers has been issued via the Association of Deer Management today (March 25th). Thank you to ADMG for clarifying this helpful advice and sharing it.

The critical tests SNH is applying for deer managers are non-essential travel and whether the activity may place more strain on frontline services.

The advice is clear in that deer managers should not be travelling to undertake deer stalking, when the Govt advice is to Stay At Home for the next 3 weeks, after which time the Government will review.

SNH is classifying deer stalking/deer management, in this period, as a non-essential activity which also carries a risk of accident, which could place pressure on frontline services.

Therefore, SNH’s advice is that, if you travel to undertake deer management, this should now stop for 3 weeks until Government re-assesses the national situation.

Carcass collection from larders could be affected although Government has stated that businesses involved in food supply can remain open providing they practice safe social distancing measures and the necessary health and safety requirements. 

Anyone with venison in larders should call their game dealer in advance, to understand if and how normal processes may be impacted.

As everyone who has been reading the news will know, this is an unprecedented time and receiving definitive guidance for every sector of our industry is extremely difficult. Many members carry out diverse and nuanced tasks in the countryside- and for different purposes- and clarifying one-size-fits-all rules is problematic and may not always be possible.

Many of our members, for example, will be carrying out activities to protect essential farm crops and food supply, such as fox control at lambing and deer/pest control to protect growing crops. 

We will endeavour to get as much information for members as we can, and will share it with you as soon as we can. 

In the meantime, exercise additional caution and, if in any doubt as to the advice given above regarding essential travel and non-essential activity, stay at home until further Government guidance is given.

The guidance is there to save lives.

Yesterday, the SGA released 2 videos on Facebook to clarify some of the activities members undertake and how Coronavirus guidance impacts upon them. We also discussed shoot planning for the months ahead at a time of great uncertainty for all.

It is a legal requirement for members to check snares and some traps every 24 hours so this should continue otherwise members will be breaking the law.

Members working on their home ground and not traveling, in socially isolated settings, can continue essential activities such as the above and, for all other activity, should continue to heed Government guidance. 

Where members of the public may share that ground for exercising, maintain safe social distancing to limit potential spread of the virus, clean equipment and wash hands regularly.

We also released information on the new trap legislation coming in on April 1st and the General Licences. Please take heed of this and ensure you have registered with SNH before April 1st if you intend to use traps.

If you did not see the videos, follow the Scottish Gamekeepers Association on Facebook and you will find them on our page.

As this is a moving picture, we will be publishing updates, as we receive them, on our website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

The SGA cannot accept liability for all advice given. What we will do is endeavour to provide our members with the best advice which we can source from Government and other trusted agencies and get it to you as effectively and quickly as we can. 

Our office is working from home and receiving a lot of inquiries. Please bear with us as we try to get the information you need.