The annual red deer rut in Scotland is becoming increasingly important for tourism, according to the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG).
Scotland’s iconic red deer have always attracted visitors, with stalking still a hugely popular pastime, but an increasing number of people are happy to simply to watch the animals.
Many sporting estates are now offering to take tourists on ‘wildlife safaris’ throughout September and October. Atholl Estates in Perthshire is one such estate that offers Land Rover tours. “As a working estate we time our stag rutting safaris to avoid deer stalking and so provide our guests with the renowned opportunity to see these magnificent beasts perform at the rut,” said a spokesman, adding: “The safari is hosted by a ranger or keeper who knows the land and wildlife and can uniquely present the rut within the context of a working estate.”
SCSTG Project Coordinator, Victoria Brooks added: “Stalking red deer is one of Scotland’s oldest and most traditional sports and the rut one of the most spectacular events in the wildlife calendar. Country Sports tourism brings visitors to Scotland outside of the normal tourist season and brings in over £240 million per annum to the Scottish economy. In time this interest will help to create a better understanding of deer stalking and how sporting estates operate. We hope this will help to break down any negative barriers associated with country sports.”