by Countryside Alliance

Results from the survey, which gathered responses from 103 businesses covering just under two million acres of land, found the loss of let stalking this year for red deer stags, hinds, roe bucks and roe does would cost them in excess of £2.5 million.

Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG) chairman, Richard Cooke, said the survey only represented just under a third of the total let stalking sector and estimates for losses to the whole sector are closer to £9m, before the impact of reduced venison sales is taken into account.

"This is of course the worst-case scenario - full cancellation - and hopefully the impact will be less if the Scottish Government roadmap out of lockdown proceeds as hoped," added Mr Cooke.

The survey also found 57% of respondents said no or limited let stalking this season would not affect their deer cull plans and 51% said the loss of all or part of their letting income would not affect the volume of venison they put into the food chain.

Mr Cooke added: "While venison dealers and processors had lost all their restaurant, foodservice, and catering customers during the COVID-19 crisis. ADMG's firm advice must be to take planned culls in full to avoid future problems with deer numbers but a high degree of cooperation with processors will be necessary to ensure that the venison supply chain can remain operable throughout the coming months."

He said the ADMG was developing a recovery plan for the sector in partnership with the Scottish Venison Association. You can read the full report here.

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