Monday 27 September 2021


Jamie Renwick receives the Scottish Young Gamekeeper of the Year award 2021, flanked by partner Emily and SGA Chairman Alex Hogg MBE.

A Highland gamekeeper who developed enduring respect for the nation’s deer through his farmer father has been named Scotland’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year 2021.

Jamie Renwick, 21, from Ullapool, received his trophy from Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, on Friday at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair in the grounds of Scone Palace.

Jamie Renwick receives his Young Gamekeeper of the Year award from  Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair.

The prestigious award celebrates the future of the gamekeeping profession in Scotland and has been presented by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) since 2008.

Jamie fought off competition from gamekeepers, deer managers and river ghillies nationwide to land the prize after being selected from the shortlist by the SGA award steering group.

Raised on a farm in Ross and Cromarty, he was introduced to deer management as a 13 year old by his dad, Scott, a sheep farmer.

Upon leaving Ullapool High School, he undertook a Modern Apprenticeship in Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management at North Highland College UHI in Thurso, also completing a National Certificate.

During a work placement at Invermark Estate in Angus in 2016, he impressed his peers so much he is still there, 5 years on.

He now works his own beat on the estate in the Angus Glens, splitting his time between grouse and deer management, which remains a passion.

“I have known of other people to win this award but I never really thought I would do the same. I am surprised and very honoured,” said the talented youngster, who was unaware that he had been nominated.

The 2021 award is a significant one within the game sector.

This year marks the SGA's Year of Employment, a 12 month celebration of the work carried out by land and river managers, largely free of charge, on behalf of Scotland’s environment and biodiversity.

Also honoured by the gamekeeping body was Dr James Fenton for unstinting advocacy in support of Scotland’s moorlands, globally rare habitats recognised by international Directives. 

Dr James Fenton with the Ronnie Rose Award 2021
James received the Ronnie Rose Trophy for lasting contributions to Conservation and Education, an award named after the late wildlife manager, author and one of the developers of the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

James, a botanist, was the National Trust for Scotland’s first ecologist and has worked in the UK, Antarctica and the Falkland Islands.

He authored the SGA’s paper, A Future for Moorland in Scotland, in 2015, and remains committed to moorland preservation, opposing ill-judged forestry expansion which results in biodiversity loss.

He said: “The open moors of the Scottish highlands could be one of the most natural vegetation patterns remaining in Europe. There needs to be agreement on the areas of moorland to be retained as moorland in the light of its continual loss and fragmentation through forest/woodland creation.”

The SGA 2021 award winners with their prizes.

Rounding off the ceremony in Perthshire, SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, MBE, presented Long Service Awards to Roddy Forbes, Brian Dickson and Ian Dempster for over 40 years of unbroken service to their profession. 

John Mcleod from Peebles was presented with his long service award on Saturday.

John Mcleod receives his Long Service award from SGA Chairman Alex Hogg MBE.

Thursday 16 September 2021


Photo accompanying the Shooting Times article, referenced below.

The SGA is urging members and supporters to respond to the UK consultation on lead shot, issued by DEFRA’s new chemicals regulator, UK Reach.

The consultation, which closes on October 22nd, is seeking evidence ahead of UK Reach issuing options for future restrictions on the use of lead ammunition.

The link to the online consultation can be found here:

An article published by Shooting Times this week

highlights just how extensive the reach of this consultation is, with evidence even required to assess restrictions on clay pigeons, targets and silhouettes.

DEFRA has already indicated it is 'moving towards' a complete future ban- something which would also pertain to Scotland.

It is clear that, should individuals or organisations have evidence relevant to the debate on the future of lead shot, now is the time to present this to the consultation. 

Some Countryside shooting organisations, lead by BASC, have publicly declared they are behind the phasing out of lead over 5 years and are working with the UK Government.

The SGA was asked to sign up this position but did not do so. The SGA remains unconvinced by present evidence, particularly on how humane and safe lead shot alternatives, currently in development, are when it comes to wildlife management with welfare in mind. 

The SGA position can be read, here:

*NB: An article in the forthcoming edition of Scottish Gamekeeper contains a link to the consultation which has subsequently been moved since the time of writing. The consultation link in this article is the most recent and the one to use. 

Friday 3 September 2021


Have you nominated someone yet for our 2021 awards? 

If not, you have one week left before nominations close (Friday 10th September). 

We are delighted to welcome back the awards after a year's absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

All awards will be presented on Friday 24th September at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair

So, get nominating NOW for our Young Gamekeeper of the Year award, for the Ronnie Rose trophy for Conservation and Education and for our Long Service medals. 

Make your nominations to or call the office on 01738 587 515.

Don't know how to nominate? You will find all the details, here:

Wednesday 1 September 2021


Scotland’s professional deer managers are considering withdrawing from Wild Deer Best Practice, sickened by a controversial female cull in the nation’s forests.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) was highly instrumental in developing the nation’s codes for humane deer control.

Described as the ‘highway code’ for Scottish deer managers it still guides new entrants into the rural education sector and is in the process of evolution.

Now the SGA is considering withdrawing after Forestry and Land Scotland ordered its deer controllers to undertake a blanket out-of-season cull of females, beginning on September 1st.

The SGA feels the nationwide cull, which last year saw 1300 deer killed, is unjustified, will result in dependant calves starving and was mis-directed towards open hill areas without trees in 2020.

They also consider the move to be a ‘first resort’ action rather than the last resort condition demanded by the out-of-season licence granted to them by NatureScot.

Since FLS announced its plan, the SGA office has been inundated with angry professionals aghast at public departments’ disrespect for deer seasons.

The SGA has also received messages of support from the public.

An FOI request to FLS revealed that forestry body chiefs did not record whether an identical September cull they ordered last year led to calves being orphaned or not.

At this time of year, weeks before the season legally opens, tiny calves which are missed before their mothers are shot will slowly starve as they rely on the mum for survival.

After scrutinising FLS data on the age profile of Scotland’s forests, the SGA claims only a small fraction would be susceptible to damage by females in September.

“We are proud of our 5 years of work in developing best practice in Scotland. These guidelines need to evolve and we appreciate that,” said Mr Hogg.

“But our members are questioning why our name should be on future codes when the direction of travel, within public bodies, appears to be to kill deer, day or night, in-season or not.

“The Government-commissioned Deer Working Group report, due to be implemented, will rid Scotland of protections which professionals fought hard for, through closed seasons, to give an iconic species respite to rear their young without welfare detriment.

“If bureaucrats can scrap seasons and public departments can get sign-off on carte blanche authorisations, why bother having a code for humane deer management at all?

“This is what we now need to consider, with our membership.”

The SGA says its members have managed a million deer in a decade, more than any other entity.

While FLS has justified its September cull by citing deer population estimates of 1 million (all deer species), the SGA says this statistic requires clarification.

“The majority of our members work in the open hill red deer range. Recent research has acknowledged this open hill deer population has been either stable or decreasing for some time now. The Scotland-wide target of 10 deer per sq km is being met across most of that open range.

“In forestry, however, despite a huge increase in night shooting and out-of-season culling, damage is still increasing in a number of areas. FLS need to tell the public where the 1 million deer are coming from and explain why its model, paid for heavily by the tax payer, is not achieving its aim.”

  • Scotland’s Wild Deer Best Practice codes guide industry standards and are regarded as the benchmark.  You can find a link to them, here:
  • The Scottish guide has been assimilated into other national codes in Europe.

  • When the Guides were finalised, the SGA refused to sign up to the section regarding use of Helicopters in Deer Control. It was the only body to do so and remains SGA policy.

  • The SGA, represents over 5300 members in Scotland and contains the highest number of professional, trained, deer managers of any membership organisation.
  • You can read its vision for sustainable deer management, here, which views Scotland’s deer as a national resource to be better utilised to the country’s advantage: