The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Deer Forests

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DEER FORESTS, large tracts of waste or uncultivated and mostly uncultivable land, chiefly situated in the Highlands of Scotland, set apart as grounds in which the stag or red-deer is hunted for sport, but is otherwise protected and allowed to roam in its natural wild state. The name forest does not in this case imply the existence of trees. As a matter of fact most deer forests are mountains or high-lying stretches of ground, exhibiting large areas covered with heath, in many places peat-bogs, marshes, lochs or bare rock, elsewhere patches of grass or other herbage, while plantations of trees of greater or less extent may also occur. Some of the deer forests are of very great extent, the larger covering, say, from 50,000 to 70,000 acres. The counties in which they are chiefly situated are Sutherland, Ross, Cromarty, Inverness, and Argyle, while they also exist in Aberdeen, Banff, Forfar, Perth and Caithness. A number of them are retained in the hands of their proprietors, while many others are let, either for the shooting season or for a period of years, and in this case may bring a large rental to their owners. The annual rental value of the larger deer forests ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 or even more, and the total rental of the deer forests of Scotland has been set down at over $1,000,000 per annum. Every stag killed costs the person who rents the ground about 50 guineas. A deer forest is always an expensive affair, not only for the rent that has to be paid, but also for the number of keepers, guides, watchers, beaters, etc., that have to be employed in connection with it.