Muirburn

Burning helps store carbon according to new study

The claim that controlled burning is harmful and causes damaging releases of carbon dioxide has been increasingly used to criticise traditional upland management in recent years, with a focus on the use of muirburn on grouse moors. However, an authoritative new study has demonstrated that properly used, fire can boost…

Hedgerow

What we need to do about peat

It’s rather difficult to know quite where to start with the carbon debate, when, according to my research, we have been losing carbon into the atmosphere from our soils since the dawn of agriculture some 12,000 years ago, when we began tillage. The figure I saw was an eye-watering 133…

gamekeeper on moorland

Why gamekeepers are the best sustainable farmers

The word ‘sustainability’ is buzzing like a swarm of bees. But what does it mean for fieldsports? The simplest definition of sustainability is this: doing something today in a way that doesn’t detract from it being done in the future. So if I sell some of my sheep for meat,…

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,…

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…

lead ammunition

65% of country’s shoots will be ‘lead free’ by end of 2023, according to survey

The Savills Game and Conservation Benchmarking Survey found that the vast majority of shoots had already got rid of plastic shotgun wads and that most were expecting to transition away from lead shot. Conservation work is also being given increasing priority by shoots with two-third of respondents saying they undertook…

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…

hen harrier

Hen harrier chick numbers soar on managed moorland

Reports of successful hen harrier nests from around the country raise the prospects of another record-breaking year for hen harrier numbers. Land managers have reported 24 successful nests on moorland in Northumberland, North Yorkshire, County Durham, Cumbria, Derbyshire and Lancashire. Of the 24 successful nests, 19 are on moors managed…

Aim to Sustain

Fieldsports bodies maximise voice with Aim to Sustain

Aim To Sustain launched at the Game Fair 2021, comprising BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the British Game Alliance (BGA), the CLA, the Game Farmers’ Association, the Moorland Association, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and Scottish Land & Estates. Liam Stokes, chief executive of the BGA, described Aim to Sustain as: “……

Bees' Needs Week

Bees’ Needs Week – time to support bees and pollinators

The week from 12 to 18 July is Bees’ Needs Week, so what better time to think about supporting bees and other pollinators on the shoot? This is a key area where we who shoot can show that we care about much more than simply the game we manage. Small…

Perthshire keepers ally with conservation body to stamp out raptor persecution

Perthshire grouse moors are tackling raptor persecution head on by collaborating with Wildland to support eagle conservation. A satellite tag has been fitted to a golden eagle chick at a site in the Strathbraan area so the team can follow its movements. Wildland has been tagging raptors in the Cairngorms…

trophy hunting in Africa

Trophy hunting: when it’s well-managed, it’s a force for good

When I first moved to the UK from South Africa, I knew how much of a contributor to wildlife conservation regulated big game trophy hunting is. And of all the wildlife conservationists I’d met and idolised growing up in southern Africa, most of them were pro-hunting, or recognised that hunting…

Mink footprints

All about the mink and why mink rafts are an effective form of control

With all the news about new rules for trapping stoats, and changes to general licences for corvid control, it’s easy to forget that there are other predators out there that we need to address – like the American mink Why we need to control mink When we think about mink…

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?,…

Extinction Rebellion plans mass trespass of the countryside for Saturday 24th April

Environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion is mobilising supporters to trespass on private land to protest against being denied access to “92% of the land in England” which they claim “is being criminally misused.” It is scheduled for Saturday 24th April and participants are being encouraged to: “Peacefully climb over no…

magpie

Why has Natural England introduced new controls for corvids?

Things had calmed down after Natural England helped stoke anger over the general licences two years ago, but it has heaped coal back on the fire. Back then it was Wild Justice that threw a spanner in the works, helping to strip vital protection from endangered curlew, lapwing and other…

Duke of Northumberland

Outstanding contribution to conservation – Duke of Northumberland 

Outstanding contribution to conservation – Duke of Northumberland  The Duke of Northumberland has undertaken a number of projects on the Northumberland estate. In 2012, together with the Environment Agency, six new fish passes were installed on the river Aln, significantly improving breeding opportunities for salmon, sea trout and eels. Other…

Fishing for Atlantic salmon

Schöffel pledges 1% of new fly-fishing clothing sales to salmon conservation charity

Schöffel has pledged to donate one percent of turnover from the company’s new fly-fishing clothing range to the Atlantic Salmon Trust, a charity dedicated to the conservation of wild salmon and sea trout at sea and in fresh water environments. Says Marcus Janssen, Brand Director at Schoffel: “The Atlantic Salmon’s…

Waiting on the peg

How to avoid 2021’s corvid control trap

With the season all but over, my mind as usual turns to planning for the next. In just a few weeks, the pheasants will be setting up their territories, strutting their stuff and doing everything they can to keep their harems together. The corvids will be getting frolicsome too. Rooks…