Statutory records


The aim of this guide is to summarise the statutory records which Scottish Natural Heritage requires deer mangers to keep.


There are three types of statutory record required by SNH:

  • Annual Cull Returns
  • Authorisation Returns
  • Venison Dealer’s Records

The table below details who is required to keep these statutory returns and how the information collected can be used.
All information related to individuals is treated as confidential unless the provider agrees to release cull data to their local DMG. The release of this information is important as not all owners/occupiers are members of their local Deer Management Group (DMG) and their cull returns allow the setting of a more accurate DMG cull target.

What it is Who it Applies to Information required/requested What you do What it is used for
SNH Annual Cull Return All owners/occupiers that cull deer in Scotland and who are requested to do so by SNH The number and sex of each species of deer culled between 1st April - 31st March of each year In April each year SNH will send a letter requesting these details along with a form to complete. You are required to return the completed form within 36 days.
If you cull deer in Scotland and have not previously received a letter requesting this information you should inform SNH.
Deer Larder Records* will assist when completing Annual Cull Returns.
See example of SNH Annual Cull Return Form below.
Index of the total number of deer killed in Scotland.
Index of the distribution of species of deer.
SNH is currently unable to identify all landholdings where deer are shot, as such the total cull figure record represents only the majority of deer culled in Scotland
SNH Authorisation Returns All owners/occupiers in Scotland that cull deer under a SNH Authorisation. Varies depending on type of authorisation.
A SNH letter of authorisation and a cull return form are sent out; this provides details of the required information, as well terms and conditions
You are required to send your completed cull return form and original Authorisation document back to SNH within 7 days of the Authorisation expiry date.
For further information see SNHG Authorisations and SNHG Driving Deer and the SNH Code for Night Shooting.
Provides an understanding of how many deer have been shot under Authorisations throughout the year and where.
Can help to identify where significant economic loss may be incurred by farmers or foresters
Venison Dealer Records All Licensed Venison Dealers in Scotland
(See BPG Sale of Venison)
SNH requests that all Venison Dealers submit their records of all purchases and receipts of venison for the period 1st April - 31st March each year to SNH. You may be requested to submit records annually or monthly, by post or email to SNH.
You are required to keep records for 3 years and to produce records for inspection by SNH or a Police Officer and to allow them to take copies.
See example of SNH Venison Dealer Record Form below
Provides a summary of the quantity of venison being sold. Acts as a check when investigating illegal sales of venison.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: I cull deer in Scotland but have not previously received a SNH letter requesting a Statutory Annual Cull Return; do I need to contact SNH?
  • A: If you are the owner/occupier or agent of the land over which you cull deer please Telephone SNH on: 01463 725000 or email SNH on: If not, you should contact the person from whom you obtained permission to shoot deer to check that cull returns for the land are being made to SNH
  • Q: How can I get a SNH Venison Dealer’s Record Book or the standard SNH format for electronic and email records?
    • The standard form can also be found in the forms section of your Best Practice folder.
  • Q: Why are the SNH Annual Cull Figures different to those for my local DMG?
  • A: SNH cull figures usually exceed those for the local DMG, as cull data from owners who are not DMG members is included in the SNH cull totals for an area.
  • Q: Where can I find information resulting from analysis of the data gathered in these returns and records?
  • A:  telephone: 01463 725000.