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Wildfowling under attack

Most serious wildfowlers know that Wigtown Bay on the Solway is a mecca for wildfowling, and the Crook of Baldoon, in particular, is arguably the best stretch of foreshore. Well, not for much longer, if the RSPB has its way.

Unfortunately, the RSPB recently purchased the Crook and I understand that it has approached Dumfries & Galloway Council with a request to prohibit wildfowling on the Crook. How it can restrict the public when it was awarded a £200,000 grant of public money from Scottish Natural Heritage towards the purchase of the Crook is beyond me.

As usual, the RSPB is not seeing the whole picture. If this shooting ban succeeds, there will be some impact on the local economy. Many visiting shooters will go elsewhere.

The farm that we stay at has five letting cottages and generally they are all booked for the complete wildfowling season. How many other owners of farms, guest houses and cottages rely on this income during the winter months from visiting sportsmen? In the week that my friends and I stay, we probably contribute at least £800-£1,000 to the local economy.

The majority of wildfowling in Wigtown Bay is carried out under the guidance of the local nature reserve, funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council. The permit scheme operated by the reserve works perfectly and I would like to see Dumfries & Galloway Council include the Crook of Baldoon in it.

The RSPB must not be allowed to succeed in banning shooting on the Crook and I urge all those who oppose the abolition of this centuries-old traditional recreational right urgently to lobby Dumfries & Galloway Council. Speak up now, or lose it forever.

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