IT was a killing that caused a global outcry and led to calls for the extradition of an American man accused of illegally "poaching" a lion on an organised trip in Zimbabwe.

The death of Cecil has also put the issue of hunting under the spotlight. In Scotland, country sports enthusiasts have insisted the £255 million industry will not be affected by the international outrage.

But the incident has also led to a call for shooting to be made more accessible to people in this country, with one conservationist saying that making the practice less elitist could help local people better understand the ecosystem around them.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BACS) Scotland said that while there are similarities between Africa and Scotland, there is a better understanding here that the shooting of animals that do not have natural predators such as deer in Scotland is required.

More than half of the country sports tourists coming to Scotland are from the south of England, according to a report commissioned by the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, set up by related organisations and associations, which said Scotland is widely recognised as the birthplace of many of the world’s premier country sports.

Colin Shedden, director of the BACS Scotland, he did not believe international concerns over the African incident would affect the industry in Scotland.

He said: “There has always been strong interest in coming to Scotland for country sports.”

In Scotland, he said, "people recognise that the populations might be low in some areas and the shooting community will voluntarily avoid it if species locally are not very abundant".

He said: "There are some similarities with Scotland (and Africa).

"Antelope fill the same niche as deer in Scotland.

"The majority (of hunting trips in Africa) will be antelope and to a certain extent they have to be shot because otherwise there could be too many of them."

Conservationist and commentator Niki Rust, of Kent University, said that if deer control was less elitist in Scotland it would help rural communities to interact better with their surroundings.

She said: "I believe that deer populations are too numerous in Scotland, causing ecological problems.

"I also feel that venison should be marketed more and that deer hunting should be less of an elitist activity.

"It should be a more mainstream thing. It is healthy for you.

"It run by those with a lot of money and power and difficult to get the political will."

However, Mimi Bekhechi, director of animal protection charity PETA UK, said: “Deer are, of course, an important part of Scotland's ecosystem, and while hunters prefer to call themselves 'conservationists', there are much better and kinder ways than hunting to look after wild animals, who, after all, managed themselves quite well before human exploitation and encroachment came along.

"The size of deer populations, like that of other animals, is determined by the amount of available food and the quality and size of their habitat, not at all by the number of hunters."

Country sports tourism is worth £155 million to the economy in Scotland each year, according to the Scottish Government.

The figures are outlined in the Benefits and Volume and Value of Country Sports Tourism in Scotland show country sports participants made 270,000 visits to Scotland resulting in 910,000 visitor nights spent in Scotland in 2013

Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said Scotland has a “global reputation as a prime destination for country sports, which occupies an important position within the wider tourism industry”.

“In a competitive market, our country sports tourism sector offers the complete package – fantastic scenery, coupled with great food and drink, and of course our traditional hospitality, all of which continues to make Scotland an attractive location for enthusiasts.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Country sports make a significant contribution to the rural economy and sustainable deer stalking, for example, provides conservation benefits.

"It is important that all country sport management activities are conducted in a responsible manner, and have regard to industry best practice and legal requirements.”