hen harrier

Have you seen a hen harrier?

The hen harrier has a huge global range, from Europe to Taiwan, with an estimated European population of 30,000 to 54,000 breeding pairs (BirdLife International, 2015). However, at the last national survey in 2010, the UK population was 662 breeding pairs, 505 pairs of which were in Scotland with strongholds…

Raptor Golden Eagle

Scottish shooters condemn illegal killing of raptors

The shooting community has condemned the illegal killing of birds of  prey after a new report into the disappearance of golden eagles provided strong evidence of raptor persecution over Scottish grouse moors. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report followed the movements of 131 golden eagles between 2004 and 2016 and…

DIY shoot

Shooting must make friends, not enemies

For this challenging article, I asked the National Trust, the Countryside Alliance (CA), the RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and BASC how shooting is perceived and how it could improve its public…

Lapwing

£100k for Humber wildlife

Barton on Humber Wildfowlers Club has secured a £100,000 loan from the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) to turn 16 acres of arable farmland into wetland habitat to benefit species including lapwing, golden plover and redshank. The club, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, plans to purchase 15.82 acres…

Conservation on grouse moors

Police donation to BASC funds school trips on grouse moors

North Yorkshire Police has donated £3,000 to BASC, which will be used to enable hundreds of primary school children to experience first-hand the work done on conservation on grouse moors and 
to meet the people who do it. The grant came from the Police Property Fund, which turns unreturnable stolen…

Cubs and scouts try their hand at wildfowl conservation

The youngsters, all from London-based groups, had a go at building mallard nesting tubes and heard about the role wildfowlers play in duck conservation and habitat restoration. Dan Reynolds, BASC south-east director, hosted two events for the London-based youngsters, in which he explained how duck nest tubes have been shown…

Nuthatch

Why the nuthatch is a sight to behold

One of the distinguishing features of nuthatches is that they can climb down trees — the only British bird that can do this. Woodpeckers and treecreepers work their way up the trunk, hunting for insects under the bark, then fly to the base of another tree to start again, but nuthatches can descend a tree headfirst. It is…

red squirrels

Volunteers needed to save red squirrels – and cull greys

“In most of the UK there are only a handful of refuges left for red squirrels,” said Dr Cathleen Thomas, programme manager of Red Squirrels United, a conservation partnership started in 2015. “Without help, experts predict this beautiful and treasured creature could be extinct within as little as 35 years.” Volunteers…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

grey partridges

Golden rules for wild grey partridges

The early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) has caused the organisation concern about chick survival success over the colder months. Sporting Gun writer Dr Roger Draycott, head of advisory at the GWCT, said that by taking part in its PCS and adopting certain conservation measures, farmers and keepers can help more birds survive the winter. Wild grey partridge rules for…

Purdey Awards judges

Purdey Awards celebrate the best of game conservation

Portloughan Shoot in Strangford, County Down, has won the 2016 Purdey Gold Award for Game and Conservation. The Purdey awards have been held annually since 1999 and each year the judges seek to celebrate the best game conservation projects to be found across the country. “They show what a well-run shoot can do to preserve and develop nature and wildlife,”…

Grey partridges

How the grey partridge can survive and thrive

If I did a straw poll of those who have worked with the selection of winged game we have in the UK, the grey partridge, Perdix perdix, would come top of the list. This little bird’s tenacity, endearing charm and ability as a parent raises it above almost all the rest, with the red grouse being my…

Halloween

Rural groups share their trick-or-treats

While the queue of trick-or- treaters at your door might cause a restless evening on Halloween, leading countryside representatives say there are bigger issues to lose sleep over. Shooting Times asked them what their own trick-or-treats would be and what issues are currently keeping them up in the middle of…

grouse moor

Protecting grouse moors

With around 75 per cent of the world’s heather moorland located in the UK, tied with the fact that heather moorland habitat is in a more critical condition than the rainforests, it is clear that conservation and positive management of the moors to maintain this diverse habitat is vital for its survival. Continuing the overwhelming efforts of the previous generations…

Fox snaring code

Rural groups take lead on new fox snaring code

Leading rural organisations last week launched a new code of practice on the use of snares for fox control in England. The newly published 12-page code is a collaboration between BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the CLA,…

grey partridges

GWCT gives advice to help grey partridges

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is calling on farmers, landowners and the fieldsports community to help ensure that wild grey partridges survive the coming winter. In contrast to reports of optimistic partridge prospects, the early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) have caused the organisation concern, particularly regarding chicks’ chances of survival over the colder months.…

anti shooting proposals

Anti-shooting proposals would be “disaster” for the countryside

A new series of animal welfare proposals, commissioned and “welcomed” by the Labour Party, has called for the licensing of shooting estates, a four-fold rise in the price of shotgun certificates and an end to snare use. The proposals, presented during the Labour Party conference, seek to “end cruel practices…

Woodcock

Now Packham sets sights on woodcock

BBC presenter Chris Packham is misleading the public and threatening the future of woodcock conservation in the UK with his latest attack on shooting, BASC has warned. The Springwatch presenter has accused those who shoot of pushing woodcock on to the red list of endangered species, implying that 17 per cent of…

Shoot Benchmarking Survey

Shoot Benchmarking Survey highlights conservation benefits of shooting

The important contribution of shooting to wildlife conservation and the increasing profitability of shoots has been highlighted in the Shoot Benchmarking Survey 2015-2016, recently published by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and estate agent Savills. The survey looked at the average salaries, costs, shoot performance and conservation work…

debate driven grouse shooting

Shooters welcome chance to debate driven grouse shooting

Shooting organisations say the public has been misled, but welcome the chance to state their case and debate driven grouse shooting, after a Government petition to ban driven grouse shooting passed the 100,000 signatures required to be considered for a Parliamentary debate. The petition was launched by former RSPB conservation…