The sudden termination of shooting leases on a National Trust (NT) estate in Northumberland has led syndicate members to voice concerns that the organisation has an ?alarming? ignorance regarding shooting.

In December, an NT official told members of the Delf Burn shoot, on the Wallington estate, that this season would be its last because of plans ?to open up the estate and create visitor ?hubs? away from the hall.?

However, members of the shoot, which has been running continuously for 16 years, have questioned the reasoning behind the decision, believing it may be part of a wider, antishooting agenda. One member also told Shooting Times that he feared more land could be lost to shooting if the NT acquires the Forestry Commission?s (FC) 620,000-acre estate as part of the Government?s proposed sell-off of publicly owned land.

Syndicate member John Evans said that though the shoot had had a good relationship with the estate itself, he had been disappointed by the lack of knowledge and understanding of some NT officials on a national level. ?Apparently, they will not permit the release of grey partridges, because ?the survival rate is low?,? he said. ?But we know from research that you can produce viable results. Suppose you release 100 birds, the NT will say the survival rate is only 10 per cent, but that is 10 more birds than you had before.

?There are lots of examples. The last time we renewed the lease, the quarry list said that we were not allowed to shoot carrion crows. I took this up with the NT and it said that the birds were quite rare. The people who are laying down these rules appear to have no knowledge of the practical effects. It is not only disappointing, it is alarming.?

The rest of this article appears in 9th February issue of Shooting Times.

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