The worst fears of wildfowlers in Scotland may soon be realised, following the decision by local councillors in Dumfries and Galloway partly to accept an RSPB plan to ban wildfowling on one of the prime stretches of foreshore on the Solway Firth coast.
The land is next to a large area of saltmarsh and floodplains at the Crook of Baldoon on Wigtown Bay, bought by RSPB Scotland in 2010.
The charity has urged the local council to impose a ban on shooting, and a compromise has been reached whereby by-laws could be introduced to ban shooting along 75% of the coastline.
Local wildfowlers and shooting organisations believe the proposal is misguided, and promised to fight against it.
BASC Scotland?s events and training officer, Donald Muir, commented: ?We are working with wildfowling clubs around Wigtown Bay to ensure that one of the best wildfowling areas continues to be available to local and visiting shooters.?
Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, agreed.
He said: ?The great majority of individuals who participate have a keen interest in conservation and enjoy the sport in accordance with the rules. They understand the need for balance and it is in their interests, or their sport would not survive.?
There is particular consternation about RSPB Scotland?s position, given that a £200,000 grant from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was used to fund the charity?s purchase of the land less than two years ago.