red squirrels

Volunteers needed to save red squirrels – and cull greys

“In most of the UK there are only a handful of refuges left for red squirrels,” said Dr Cathleen Thomas, programme manager of Red Squirrels United, a conservation partnership started in 2015. “Without help, experts predict this beautiful and treasured creature could be extinct within as little as 35 years.” Volunteers…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

grey partridges

Golden rules for wild grey partridges

The early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) has caused the organisation concern about chick survival success over the colder months. Sporting Gun writer Dr Roger Draycott, head of advisory at the GWCT, said that by taking part in its PCS and adopting certain conservation measures, farmers and keepers can help more birds survive the winter. Wild grey partridge rules for…

Purdey Awards judges

Purdey Awards celebrate the best of game conservation

Portloughan Shoot in Strangford, County Down, has won the 2016 Purdey Gold Award for Game and Conservation. The Purdey awards have been held annually since 1999 and each year the judges seek to celebrate the best game conservation projects to be found across the country. “They show what a well-run shoot can do to preserve and develop nature and wildlife,”…

Grey partridges

How the grey partridge can survive and thrive

If I did a straw poll of those who have worked with the selection of winged game we have in the UK, the grey partridge, Perdix perdix, would come top of the list. This little bird’s tenacity, endearing charm and ability as a parent raises it above almost all the rest, with the red grouse being my…

Halloween

Rural groups share their trick-or-treats

While the queue of trick-or- treaters at your door might cause a restless evening on Halloween, leading countryside representatives say there are bigger issues to lose sleep over. Shooting Times asked them what their own trick-or-treats would be and what issues are currently keeping them up in the middle of…

grouse moor

Protecting grouse moors

With around 75 per cent of the world’s heather moorland located in the UK, tied with the fact that heather moorland habitat is in a more critical condition than the rainforests, it is clear that conservation and positive management of the moors to maintain this diverse habitat is vital for its survival. Continuing the overwhelming efforts of the previous generations…

Fox snaring code

Rural groups take lead on new fox snaring code

Leading rural organisations last week launched a new code of practice on the use of snares for fox control in England. The newly published 12-page code is a collaboration between BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the CLA,…

grey partridges

GWCT gives advice to help grey partridges

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is calling on farmers, landowners and the fieldsports community to help ensure that wild grey partridges survive the coming winter. In contrast to reports of optimistic partridge prospects, the early results of the GWCT 2016 Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) have caused the organisation concern, particularly regarding chicks’ chances of survival over the colder months.…

anti shooting proposals

Anti-shooting proposals would be “disaster” for the countryside

A new series of animal welfare proposals, commissioned and “welcomed” by the Labour Party, has called for the licensing of shooting estates, a four-fold rise in the price of shotgun certificates and an end to snare use. The proposals, presented during the Labour Party conference, seek to “end cruel practices…

Woodcock

Now Packham sets sights on woodcock

BBC presenter Chris Packham is misleading the public and threatening the future of woodcock conservation in the UK with his latest attack on shooting, BASC has warned. The Springwatch presenter has accused those who shoot of pushing woodcock on to the red list of endangered species, implying that 17 per cent of…

debate driven grouse shooting

Shooters welcome chance to debate driven grouse shooting

Shooting organisations say the public has been misled, but welcome the chance to state their case and debate driven grouse shooting, after a Government petition to ban driven grouse shooting passed the 100,000 signatures required to be considered for a Parliamentary debate. The petition was launched by former RSPB conservation…

Ibex

Ibex stalking in the Spanish Gredos Mountains

I have just returned from the most amazing, challenging, physically testing, at times frightening and most enjoyable hunting experience of my life, bar none. Through a good friend, David Pantlin, I had been invited to hunt Iberian ibex on an estate in the Gredos Mountains, 200km west of Madrid in Spain. I have often flown over the mountains…

Hunting safaris

The conservation benefits of African hunting safaris

Safari! Derived from the Swahili for a journey, the very word itself still evokes the spirit of past adventures, of hot, weary hours spent trekking in the bush, of long-forgotten hunting expeditions in East Africa. Even today, hunting safaris still conjures up the thrills and excitement of a bygone era, known most intimately by the hunter, rifle in hand.…

Grouse moor licensing

RSPB calls for grouse moor licensing

The RSPB has called for grouse moor licensing after withdrawing its support for the Government’s Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan, claiming that the project has failed due to the continued illegal killing of the endangered birds. The Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan makes several recommendations to help restore the population…

release pens

How to manage release pens correctly

Time and again as I wander into the depths of a wood in my role as a Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) game adviser, I come across an embarrassment. The combination of tatty fencing, battered feed drums, broken drinkers, bags hanging from branches, and other mess is a dreadful advert for shooting. Add a bit of over-stocking to…

count grouse

How should we do a grouse count on our moorland?

Our small syndicate has taken on a nice bit of moorland in the Grampian region this year and we have been keeping vermin under control. We would like to have one or two days this summer, but we don't want to overshoot our stock. How should we go about doing…

A-Z guide to shooting terms

Shooters look to post-Brexit future

Shooting organisations have revealed how they believe Britain’s vote to leave the European Union will likely impact on shooters. The general consensus is that only time will tell, but there is speculation that Brexit spells good news for trapping, “contentious legislation” and firearms imports. BASC Scotland director Dr Colin Shedden…

post-Brexit

Farming groups press DEFRA for clarification on post-Brexit policies

The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) and the CLA have set out what they believe is required to secure the immediate future of the UK rural economy post-Brexit. DEFRA secretary Elizabeth Truss has already stated that: “There will be no immediate changes — until we leave the EU current arrangements for farming…

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…