The Campaign for Game will promote the benefits to wildlife of lowland shooting and highlight the need for more research into how reared game shooting can play a role in wildlife recovery. The GWCT will also offer direct support to shoots and shoot managers through a new biodiversity assessment which will help shoots make the most of their work to support wildlife.
The GWCT’s director of education and research, Ian Lindsay, said: “Game shooting has been rising in popularity over the past 20 years and an increased number of reared birds are now being released in the UK. This has caused some controversy. The Campaign for Game aims to encourage individual shoots to increase the wildlife benefits of their game management activities by choosing from a list of key management options.
“In addition, the GWCT’s advisory service can provide a new and bespoke biodiversity assessment which will help shoots to identify what they are doing well and what they need to do to improve. Effective national uptake of the assessment will start to provide a clear demonstration of the contribution of game management to wildlife conservation in the UK.
“As a community we need to identify what the challenges might be and where they exist, how we can address the effects of game bird releasing in order to maximise the environmental benefits. Although there are many game management success stories, we should be prepared to challenge ourselves.
“Sound conservation is something that shooting people pride themselves on delivering and I would urge all those that love their sport to support this campaign.”
Shooting Gazette columnist Barney Stratton has pledged his support to the campaign and is encouraging the 14 shoots in his shoot association to undertake a biodiversity assessment. He said:
“Shoots have a lot to be proud of in terms of what they do for nature conservation, but unless this is properly documented it counts for little in a media age where facts have to be presented clearly, consistently and constantly. We need to show those who wish to denigrate what we do that they are barking up the wrong tree.
“By getting involved in the GWCT’s Campaign for Game, at a local level shoots can help to provide a clear case for the biodiversity benefits that game management makes to wildlife conservation.”
For more information on the GWCT’s Campaign for Game visit www.gwct.org.uk/campaign4game or telephone 01425 651013.