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…

Benefits of shooting

BASC chief executive on the benefits of shooting

Volunteers make things happen. From the ladies who run the Cub Scouts, to the committee that arranges the village gala, and to the shotgun coaches who give their time to inspire the next generation, volunteers are so often the fabric of our pastimes and our communities. Their contribution is so…

Wigeon

The way of the wigeon

Sympathetic management of a local patch may be an important contribution to conservation but sometimes action has to be taken on a much larger scale. For instance, to look after populations of wintering duck, such as wigeon, the scope has to be international. This is where overseas grants from the charity set up…

RSPB

Are the RSPB pro or anti-shooting?

Britain’s heather moorlands are both beautiful and rare, and they owe their existence to grouse shooting. If we are going to maximise the wildlife in these upland habitats, it is vital that conservation charities and gamekeepers can work closely together. This can be a fraught relationship; moorland gamekeepers fund their…

Heather Burning

Burning heather: an issue of moorland management

Why do we burn heather moorland? The practice of muirburn – or burning heather, as it’s more commonly known by the practitioners -is extremely old. It was originally done to produce fresh grazing for animals, as it still is over huge swathes of the planet, though not on heather moorland.…

Burning moorland

RSPB criticised for twisting scientific evidence

The charity has said that heather burning on grouse moors is a “damaging practice”, basing its statements on a research paper written by an RSPB scientist and requesting government involvement last year. However independent scientists have studied the evidence and say that the RSPB press statements show “only passing resemblance to…

Golden Plover

Time to enter the Golden Plover Award 2016 for moorland management

  The Golden Plover  recognises progressive, practical and sustainable moorland management in Scotland and this year the Award theme reflects sheep farming’s role as a major upland land use. Adam Smith, Director (Scotland) of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust said “The judges will be looking to identify the best…

people shooting in countryside

Report shows UK bird numbers halved since 70s

Shooters have a “major part” to play in conserving the UK’s bird populations, say countryside groups, following the publication of the 2015 UK Biodiversity Indicators Report by DEFRA and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee last month. The report highlights the declining fortunes of Britain’s birds, with statistics showing that between 1970 and 2014…

Grouse moor management

Grouse shooting: why moorland managers are conservation heroes

If the critics are to be believed then the picturesque patchwork of heather glens and valleys that comprise our nation’s grouse moors is a battlefield between gamekeepers and wildlife. Some groups and individuals who call themselves conservationists believe that the faults and failings of driven grouse shooting are so systemic…

hen harrier

Government publishes Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan

It makes six recommendations to help restore the population of Britain’s endangered hen harriers, including the controversial brood management measures. It proposes to monitor hen harrier numbers in the UK via satellite tagging and tracking, to share best practice with land managers and gamekeepers, to encourage the provision of food…

shooter with spaniel

What’s coming up in 2016 for the shooting and countryside community?

Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation If the past is any sort of indicator of the future, 2016 will be a busy year for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO). The list of major issues that might alter how we go about our jobs grows ever longer by the day.…