We worked closely with Forest Enterprise Scotland in the Contin area, Torrachilty Forest (14,000 acres) to deliver a substantial reduction in deer densities by successfully delivering agreed deer culls over a sustained period of 15 years. Our efforts have delivered a situation whereby deer collisions have become very rare, the need for fencing has been removed and tree (leader) damage on restock sites is minimal.
In the early days of the project, the Highland Council were considering asking FES to pay for a fence to stop deer colliding with vehicles on the Garbat road. These days, it is difficult to find a damaged tree on any of the re-stocks in the forest as confirmed by Strath Caulaidh Ltd (SCL) who monitor the national forest estate on behalf of FES.
In 2007 we became involved actively in their biodiversity plan and inter agency collaboration with SNH on the Ben Wyvis NNR. Here we undertook an on-going project to actively reduce the red deer population to allow regeneration and achieve favourable conditions, this is an ongoing situation and due to the high visitation of hill walkers, great care must be taken to ensure the cull is obtained discretely and safely with no confrontations with the general public and minimal use of ATVS due to the sensitivity of the ground service and the area being of special scientific interest.
Glen Affric NNR is one of the jewel’s on the crown of the National Forest Estate (NFE) stretching to over 43,000 acres. We have held a contract to cull deer on this site for the past 10 years. Over this time, there have been remarkable changes in the condition of the pinewood habitats in large parts of the forest, as well as above the treeline in the montane scrub zone above Cannich. Part of this project has involved culling deer on the open range, towards the west of the site, where a range of fairly extreme logistical challenges has presented itself including culling deer above the 1000m contour, and being trapped by rising river levels whilst taking the winter hind cull. Monitoring by Strath Caulaidh (SCL) confirms that a marked downward shift in deer densities has occurred across the open range area since Roddy and his team started work.