Are curlew numbers declining? The suggests they are

Where I farm in Galloway, curlew numbers seem to be declining every year. There are a number of drivers for this collapse, not least the rapid expansion of commercial forestry in our uplands and a dramatic ramping up of grassland management. During the course of the spring, I set out…

Biodegradable shotgun cartridges – questions still loom

The move towards biodegradable shotgun cartridges, and wads and steel shot gets closer and closer by the day, but there are still some questions that need answering on the ramifications of the transition. I’ve been using the stuff on and off for years on shooting grounds that allow its use.…

Sea eagle

What is rewilding?

I expect most readers of Shooting Times will have a similar opinion of Chris Packham as mine, but I thought he plumbed new depths when he tried his latest PR stunt, calling on the royal family to rewild their lands. Rewilding – what is it anyway? Pick about the only…

curlew

Saving the curlew

Multiple campaigns are under way to help reverse the decline of the curlew, led by shooting and conservation organisations. There are only around 300 pairs of breeding curlew left south of Birmingham and, at the current rate of loss, they are expected to disappear from the region in the next…

What did we learn from Langholm?

What did we learn from Langholm?

(More background on Rob Yorke here). There is a chunk of moorland in Scotland that has been subject to a 24-year project involving upland land uses, habitat, nature conservation designations, biodiversity, fieldsports and rural economics. It all started with the Joint Raptor Study (JRS), funded by major conservation organisations, on…

How to hand rear wildlife

How to hand rear injured or orphaned wildlife properly

What would you do if you saw an injured squirrel or orphaned deer in trouble on land near you? David Whitby examines the ethics behind hand rearing wildlife back to health and even keeping them as pets – have you ever had to hand rear corvids, foxes or deer in…

House martins

Why are the house martins moving out?

When we moved into our current Norfolk home there were house martins nesting under the eaves, but there aren’t any now. Some people dislike the mess made by these delightful little birds, especially if the nest is attached to the eaves directly above a window, but we miss our house…

gamekeeper on horse

Meet Dragon – the last horse on the beating line?

A horse moving with a line of beaters isn’t a sight you’re going to see much these days. In fact Frank Shellard says he is probably the last person riding on the beating line in the UK. (If you know anybody else, please get in touch.) I asked him what…

Golden plovers: a rare asset

We never know how many migrant birds will return each autumn, but I am anticipating a shortage of golden plovers in the west of the UK, because this has been a strange spring and summer in Iceland. The national picture will be complicated by the fact that our winter flocks…

Sir Peter Scott

Father of the conservation movement

I am not a great one for conspiracy theories, but every now and then you come across an omission that is repeated so often and so consistently that it can only be a result of an attempt to deceive, whether conscious or unconscious. One such involves the life of Sir…

Catherine Leach Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall Norfolk’s lady gamekeeper Catherine Leach

What springs to mind when you think of Holkham Hall in Norfolk? The fabulous beach featured in Shakespeare in Love? Perhaps the tremendous 25,000-acre estate that covers miles of shoreline and some of the most beautiful parts of Norfolk? What about the Victoria Inn, where you can sit and listen…

red kite

Why back-garden bird lovers are wrong to feed kites

The town of Reading is home to a different type of commuter these days, with hundreds of red kites arriving each morning to take advantage of food that is put out for them by people who like getting close to nature without having to leave their own homes. In a…

blackgrouse

The battle to bring back Welsh grouse

It is difficult to imagine the grouse moors of Wales as they were 100 years ago. A look at the gamebook of one of the estates in the Ceiriog Valley in north-east Wales shows that 2,360 red grouse were shot in the 1913 season, and the same record shows this…

GWCT Loddington shoot

Why we need predator control

How much more evidence will they have to amass before countryside saviours GWCT are listened to by the Government? asks Editor-at-Large, Robin Scott.