The estates or landholdings within each DMG area are individual rural businesses, providing employment often in remote communities. Estates are often involved in many other activities as well as deer management – for example farming, forestry, fishing, shooting, and the provision of tourist accommodation and other facilities. Many are privately owned, while others are in public or community ownership.
Estates are often owned for enjoyment, for the satisfaction of development and improvement; also for the provision of recreation and sporting activities such as fishing, shooting and deer stalking. An increasing number of estates have been purchased by membership organisations including The National Trust for Scotland, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The John Muir Trust and The Scottish Wildlife Trust. The principal land ownership objectives of these bodies may be different from those of traditional deer management – for example, the regeneration of the Caledonian Pine Forest, or the management of wildlife or special natural heritage features. Habitat regeneration is also the primary objective for an increasing number of private estates.
Where potentially conflicting land uses occur on neighbouring properties there is a role for deer management groups in assisting in the negotiation of shared deer management policies that meet the reasonable requirements of all members through a process of compromise.