FORESTRY and Land Scotland's approach to deer management has attracted international attention.

Three members of the Latvian Forest Service recently spent three days with FLS managers looking at data, population modelling and systems associated with deer management and venison sales, as well as the practicalities of deer control on the ground.

In addition to meetings in Silvan House, Edinburgh the group met with wildlife rangers on the ground in Highland Perthshire. This included a visit to the Tummel deer larder to learn about carcass preparation, larder compliance, and to discuss population counts and working with neighbouring land managers to manage deer pressures.

The group also observed deer stalking in local Tayside forests and also visited Cunningar Loop in Glasgow where the focus was urban deer management and the difficulties of establishing and enhancing urban woodlands.

Doug Knox, Head of FLS Technical Services Group, said: “As in Scotland, Latvian foresters acknowledge that deer are an important element of the landscape.

“But they are as acutely aware as we are that there is a balance to be struck in managing deer populations to sustainable levels for the benefit of the deer themselves and the natural environment which can suffer in places from over-browsing.

“Our processes and systems were a key interest for them, and they were very impressed that all the deer we cull then go into supporting Scotland’s high-quality food and drink sector through the sale of venison.”

He added: “We were pleased that they wanted to visit Forestry and Land Scotland to see how we manage deer. It is nice to know that our way of working is attracting the attention of other forestry professionals overseas and it was nice to learn from the Latvians too.”