female capercaillie

Capercaillie could be extinct in Scotland in 20 years, says report

Scottish Capercaillie at risk The report commissioned by Nature Scot looked at the causes of the decline in the numbers of the birds and at how the decline could be addressed. In recent years, a number of very large estates in the bird’s core range in Badenoch and Strathspey have…

mountain hare

Mountain hare numbers on the rise according to latest data

Mountain hares are Britain’s only truly native Lagomorph and in recent years their numbers have been in steep decline due to climate and land use change. However, the new data shows that under the care of Peak District gamekeepers they are doing well. In order to understand how populations of…

Woodpigeon

More than a quarter of UK birds in serious decline

The list, which is drawn up by all the UK’s bird conservation groups including the GWCT, is updated every three years and categorises the status of birds as either red, amber or green. The ‘red list’ of birds of the highest conservation concern has increased in length by three species,…

Atholl Estates

Shooting faces ‘enormous task’ after Scottish Government announcement

The Scottish Government has published its programme for government and shooting now faces ‘an enormous task’ to secure its future in the country. Fox control Among the planned bills was a “Fox Control Bill” and without providing further details, the programme simply said that the bill would relate “to the…

on grouse moor

Climate change – shoots use nature-based solutions to tackle problem

Restoring petland has been identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the key tools to sequester Carbon and it is an opportunity shooting estates have eagerly taken up. The Sphagnum mosses which make up peat lock up carbon dioxide much more quickly and for…

Grouse shooting

Grouse moors: who buys them and are they still a sound investment?

Some 200 years ago, the moorlands of northern England and Scotland were most likely much as they are now. Local farmers would use the inhospitable landscape to graze their sheep and cattle in order to draw a living out of a landscape that would not accept crops and was largely…

Curlew eating worm

A new dawn for curlew recovery

In January 2016, I began planning a 500-mile walk across Ireland, Wales and England to try to find out more about the plight of the Eurasian curlew. I had read the British Birds paper from December 2015 (The Eurasian curlew — the most pressing bird conservation priority in the UK?,…

mountain hare

Mountain hare shooting banned in Scotland

Mountain hares in Scotland will have year-round legal protection following an amendment to the law proposed by Green MSP Alison Johnstone, which passed by 60 to 19 votes. At present mountain hares are controlled between 1 August-28 February to protect trees, fragile habitats and to manage tick populations. The mountain…

Scottish roe

2019 Scottish Roe Review

In 2018 a Swedish hunter called Jimmy Olsson took three gold-medal roe during his visit. In 2019 on the same estate he and his friend, Manollo Rodriguez, grassed four gold-medal heads between 30 April and 1 May, which scored 174.53, 173.95, 135.68, and 134.1. The largest of the heads was…

shooting in January

Is January the finest month?

January, for most of the nation, is the cruellest month. From Stornoway to the Scillies people are in credit card debt doldrums, their clothes no longer fit and family relations — after all that lovely time together at Christmas — are invariably fraught. For those like you and me, however,…

grouse shooting

Reactions to the Werritty report on grouse shooting in Scotland

The newly published Werritty report on grouse shooting in Scotland states that licensing should be introduced if there is no marked improvement in the ecological suitability of grouse management within the next five years. However Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hinted that licensing could be imposed sooner than the five year…