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red stags

red deer in the highlands

Wild venison is the ultimate heritage, free-range meat delivering on succulence, substance, leanness and tenderness. It's also low in fat and high in protein, making it a winning combination for everyday dining.

Red Deer, the largest native land mammal in the UK, have roamed the Highlands of Scotland since time immemorial, surviving and thriving on open hill ranges and woodlands for shelter red deer enjoy a carefree, stress free existence.

While movement is not restricted and the deer are not owned by a specific estate until culled, deer management groups, usually involving around eight to a dozen neighbouring estates, ensure the red deer retain a regular supply of food if the weather becomes worse than normal, and ensure the meat they provide is the healthiest around.

sustainably managing red deer

While red deer thrive in the wild, there is always human support in the hills of Scotland when it is needed from rangers who recognise there is occasionally a time when they need a helping hand. When the weather is particularly inclement in winter and spring, the rangers step in.

There is a keen interest to ensure the deer population is controlled so that the grazing areas don't get overrun. In so doing there is a calculation made so that if numbers of hinds (female deer) appear to be falling below an acceptable level of sustainability there will then be a call for less culling of them in the hind season.

venison casserole with mashed potatoes

the season for wild venison

Autumn going into Winter is the main season for venison and top chefs and resteraunts such as Michel Roux, Mike Robinson and Gordon Ramsay all extol its virtue as a succulent, tasty, healthy option. There is a strong belief among the fine dining world that free range wild venison from the heritage lands of the Highlands of Scotland is more than just a worthy addition to the table, it is also something special yet at a more affordable price than is sometimes perceived.

'Wild venison from red deer hits the mark in all respects,' says John Pallagi of Farmison & Co. 'We also make a point of only developing relationships with those who care about the animals themselves and look after their welfare. Even when animals are regarded as wild this is still important, in fact probably more so, as the natural, traditional, heritage flavours that come from wild venison can only do so through people who care for stock and the landscape.'

'You simply don't get anything more stunning than stags in the Scottish Highlands - and you don't get anything that compares to succulent, mouth-watering wild venison on your plate.'