Assurances over deer shooting on Falkland Estate

Roe deer
Roe deer

ASSURANCES have been given that any shooting of deer on Falkland Estate poses no risk to the public.

A Falkland resident raised concerns after encountering a hunter in the woods while walking his dog.

The man said his primary concern was that culling of roe deer was happening in an area to which the public have unrestricted access.

“My concern is that the bullets used to kill the animals can travel great distances,” he said.

“They can also ricochet and kill on the rebound.

“I heard the shot go off as I left he village and met a man carrying a dead deer in a bag on his way down the hill.

“I know this was all being done properly but was a bit concerned as this was just after 8am when anyone could’ve been around.”

A spokesperson for the syndicate which maintains deer numbers on the 5000-acre estate said safety always came first.

While the estate is open to the public under the Right to Roam act, all shooting was done at dawn and dusk when people were unlikely to be around.

The spokesman, who operates other professional deer syndicates across Scotland, said he had encountered dog walkers and joggers in the past, but if people were around, the deer would make themselves scarce.

“The deer are very sensitive to people and can detect someone at 300 yards, so there is no-way we would be able to shoot one if anyone was around,” he said.

Commenting on the power of ammunition involved, he said the three-man syndicate abides by government guidelines and legislation, and vigilance and care is taken at all times.

“The weight of the bullet and calibre of the weapon is laid down by law and we exercise this to the letter,” he stressed.

“We would not shoot deer with anything less than a bullet that will kill it outright.

“Deer can do a great deal of damage and landowners have an obligation to control their numbers.

“We undertake to do this for Falkland Estate and once we have the animal it is wrapped in the deer sack and taken to be disposed of properly.

“It is very unlikely that any member of the public would even see a deer being shot or being removed.”

He did say, however, that the same stringent precautions are obviously not taken by poachers.

Fife Constabulary’s wildlife officer PC Ian Laing said he worked closely with estate management at Falkland as part of the Lomond Hills Regional Park Partnership and had no reports of concerns being expressed by the public.

“Every landowner has a legal responsibility to manage their land from the perspective of culling deer when numbers rise toward an unsustainable level,” he said.

“Those shooting the deer do so with the necessary calibre of weapon as described in the legislation and with the permission of the landowner.”

He said he also had no recent reports of poaching on the estate.

PC Laing said one of his main concerns was the rise in hare and deer coursing across north east Fife where people set their dogs on the animals and chase them until they are brought down.

The dog either kills its prey or the person will cut the animal’s throat.

Anyone who has concerns about threat to wildlife is asked to contact Fife Police, tel. 0845 600 5702.