The results also reveal how successful predator control, grouse broods and the new gamekeeping team have been in making ‘real improvements to a moor that has lain virtually dormant in respect of management for red grouse for 10 years’.

One of the key achievements is the fact that two pairs of hen harriers successfully reared a total of nine chicks – the best breeding success for five years.

As part of the research, both hen harrier pairs were given carrion (dead rats and day-old chicks) in order to reduce their predation on grouse.

Formerly one of Scotland’s most successful driven grouse moors, Langholm became synonymous with hen harrier research during the 1990s when the moor hosted the Joint Raptor Study.

It is hoped that driven grouse shooting can be re-instated while at the same time allowing hen harriers to build up numbers.

The rest of this article appears in 16 October issue of Shooting Times.

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