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Deer Management

North Harris is home to a large herd of Red Deer which are thought to be some of the most genetically pure Red Deer in Scotland.  Being isolated from the mainland population they have not come into contact with Sika Deer, which were introduced to the UK from East Asia and have spread throughout much of the mainland, hybridising freely with native Red Deer populations and so presenting a significant conservation concern.  The origins of red deer in the Western Isles are uncertain; it is thought that they are unlikely to have been able to swim out to colonise the islands of their own accord but it is not known when they were introduced.

Red Deer

Management Activity

Although the planned, annual cull is the primary management activity; deer monitoring is conducted on a regular basis, including annual recruitment counts, and out-of-season culling is also undertaken to control individual animals wherever necessary. 


From the early days of entering into community ownership in North Harris, members of the community were keen to gain the opportunity to legally stalk on the estate. In order to involve the community in deer management, the Trust facilitated the establishment of the Harris Stalking Club in 2004. The Club is open to anyone living in Harris or the neighbouring South Lochs area of Lewis and is run by its members as an unincorporated organisation.

North Harris Trust Deer Management Policy Statement


The Red Deer of North Harris are an important part of the local natural heritage. They have a significant impact on native habitats and species through their grazing and trampling effects and bring a range of opportunities through tourism, stalking and venison.


Although deer calves provide an important food source for resident eagle populations, adult deer have no natural predators, and therefore active deer management is vital to prevent damaging economic and environmental impacts.


The North Harris Trust employs Wild Deer Best Practice methods and where possible works collaboratively with all stakeholders, to manage deer populations in a way that ensures a benefit for all.

The success of the Club as a means for the community to access stalking and venison is well recognised.  It currently has 30 members, all of whom are required to be trained to Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1.  The members of the stalking club make a significant contribution to deer management in North Harris, not only directly through stalking, but also by assisting with other aspects of deer management when required, for example through deer counts and monitoring, as well as maintaining the access routes which are essential to allow for the extraction of carcasses. 


We also have a close working relationship on deer management with the local sporting estates of Aline, Amhuinnsuidhe, and Soval.  As well as being our immediate neighbors, these estates all hold deer leases on different parts of North Harris.

The full North Harris Trust Deer Management Plan for the estate can be found here, however the map below provides a summary of the Deer Management Zones incorporated in the plan:

North Harris Deer Management Zone
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