SCOTTISH hillwalkers have been urged to make sure they do not disturb deer stalking before setting out as the country enters the busiest part of the season.

Deer stalking management helps to control the grazing pressure on nature habitats, protect woodlands and restore their carbon-capturing potential - and sees most of its activity in August.

That coincides with the same time that Scotland is likely to see the most hillwalking in the areas where deer stalking typically takes place, particularly since the relaxation of Covid restrictions.

The national agency NatureScot has encouraged hillwalkers to check its Heading for the Scottish Hills website, which provides details on deer management on the country’s estates up to late October to help plan ahead.

Walkers are also advised to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, note which routes are listed as “always okay” and follow reasonable advice from land managers on alternative routes to avoid crossing land where stalking is taking place.

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NatureScot recreation, access and paths officer Fiona Cuninghame said: “Many people are enjoying Scotland’s amazing hills more than ever following the restrictions of the last two years.

“Some people may be discovering the joys of exploring our hills and mountains for the first time which is fantastic – but it’s also important to bear in mind that this can be a very busy time for land managers.

“Our Heading for the Scottish Hills website is a great resource to help walkers have a great day out without disturbing deer stalking in their chosen area, as well as learning about your rights and responsibilities more generally under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.”

Association of Deer Management Groups chair Tom Turnbull added: “With increasing pressure to achieve culls from Scottish Government in the light of the climate and biodiversity crisis, ADMG would like to encourage all visitors to check the Heading for the Hills website and take notice of any signage on the ground when taking responsible access.”