Deer Management & the Environment

Introduction

Corrour estate, which extends to 52,000 acres, is located between Fort William and Dalwhinnie. The estate strives to protect the wild land now and for future generations. It adopts a holistic approach to protecting the land and addressing the social and environmental impacts of all its activities. The estate promotes biodiversity and beauty, responsible use of resources and strives to enhance the experience of all who live in and visit Corrour.

Deer in Scotland

The numbers of red deer in Scotland have fluctuated markedly since the end of the 17th century where they survived only on remote hills in the Highlands. In 1939 there were about 200,000, in 1950 about 100,000, in 1986 300,000 and today there are about 350,000 deer in the Highlands.

Corrour Deer Management Policy

On Corrour in 2007, there were about 2, 500 deer: 1,500 stags, and 1,000 hinds. This approximates to 12.5 deer per square kilometre.

To encourage natural vegetation regeneration without using unsightly fencing, we aim to reduce deer numbers to around 7.5 deer per square kilometre by 2010. We try to reduce deer numbers most in those areas where the potential for regeneration is highest.

Beyond 2010, we will keep deer numbers stable, while we measure re-vegetation at focal sites, particularly Loch Treigside.

Law and Best Practice

All at Corrour obey the Deer Commission for Scotland 'Best Practice' guidelines and the law (Deer Acts and Orders).

We do not:

  • Use anything except legal firearms to kill deer.
  • Shoot out of season (except by special authority).
  • Shoot at night(except by special authority).
  • Shoot from a moving vehicle or use a vehicle to drive deer.
  • Sell deer carcasses except to a licensed venison dealer.

Environmental Measures at Corrour

  • We will reduce deer numbers to 7.5 per square kilometre by 2010.
  • We use copper bullets to control deer to prevent lead contamination of the environment.
  • We have removed 600 sheep off the hill at Treigside. We expect the recovering heather will encourage more red grouse.
  • We encourage native species and will consider re-introducing native small mammals and birds. We do not control foxes, weasels and stoats.
  • We will control non-native animals such as mink, brown rats and sika deer.
  • We will remove non-native plants, excepting the historical Stirling Maxwell plantings, which we conserve.
  • We will replace non-native pine conifer plantations with native species, including Caledonian pine. In the historical gardens, we will eradicate invasive natives such as Japanese knotweed.
  • We will remove fences, where possible, to allow hill walking and to return the land to a more natural state. This will also reduce bird strikes, especially of black grouse.
  • We will limit Argocat movements to minimise visual track scars.
  • We will improve existing paths and tracks.
  • We will invest further in alternative energy for our heat and power.
  • We will make our houses more energy efficient by using alternative energy sources and will use more efficient vehicles.

These measures will lead to:

  • More and better heather as well as the regeneration of birch woodland. Eventually, we hope we will have a natural altitudinal tree line in focal areas.
  • More birds including golden eagles, peregrine falcons and ospreys.
  • More diverse plant life which will result in more wildlife as excessive deer grazing and deer trampling is reduced.
  • More woodland cover as existing woodland is restructured, new woodland is planted with native, local provenance, species.
  • A more beautiful estate as fences are removed, heather and woodlands spread.
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions from peat (less erosion), animals (fewer deer), vehicles and oil burning boilers. Consequently, there will be a greatly improved carbon balance on Corrour.

Communicating Our Policies

Corrour has an environmental management board which regularly holds meetings with neighbouring estates at all levels.

The estate is an active participant of the Mid West Association of Highland Estates Deer Management Group. The environmental management board also consults with the Deer Commission for Scotland, Scottish National Heritage, John Muir Trust, The Macaulay Institute and other leading institutes, experts and consultants.

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