Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen portrays the most familiar image of wild deer in Scotland, and the red deer, the subject of that painting, is the predominant species to be found in the Highlands.
The more smaller non-herding roe deer is found mostly in woodlands all across Scotland. In addition, there are a number of localised populations of fallow deer and sika deer, a species introduced in the 19th century which have subsequently established a strong presence in Scotland and are rapidly expanding their territory in some areas. Fallow deer are also expanding their territory albeit less rapidly. To date muntjac deer are not thought to have become stablished in Scotland.
Sika hybridise with red deer and, to safeguard genetic integrity where possible and to restrict damage, are controlled within the red deer range.
The total number of deer in Scotland is currently estimated at some 750,000 based on a reasonably accurate assessment of red deer numbers from both NatureScot, DMG counts, and academic research along with impact assessments by FLS. Other species are not counted outwith the red deer range, and roe deer numbers, thought to be increasing unlike red deer, are not known as estimates based on incomplete cull returns and dealer records to NatureScot reflect a far from complete picture.