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The gamekeeper has stopped me from shooting pests!

Steve Bowers
Gamekeepers are, quite rightly, very protective of their birds, especially at this time of the year, and are keen to minimise disturbance.

However, a zero policy on shooting is going too far.

As a keeper himself, he must be shooting to keep down pests. Shooting around pheasant pens and feeding stations is obviously out of order, but the odd shot from a rifle will cause no lasting damage to the birds.

If you were regularly shooting clays or sighting-in a rifle near feeders then the birds might indeed become jittery, though it is amazing how repetitive noise is often ignored by wildlife if it proves to be non-threatening.

You have even more reason to be upset if you are using a sound moderator.

A .22 rifle or air rifle with a moderator will cause minimal disturbance, as will a shot at a deer or fox.

The shot may engage the birds? attention but, if not followed up by a second shot, they will soon go back to feeding or resting.

Try talking to your keeper again and explain that you will co-operate with him but feel that a complete embargo is uncalled for.