Half-made raptor trap found on Scottish sporting estate

PR2-new-cmykFieldworkers from Project Raptor have posted an interesting article on their website about the discovery of what appears to be a half-made raptor trap found in woodland on a Scottish game-shooting estate (see here).

Project Raptor contends that the trap was un-set but was perhaps being prepared for use. Had it been set, it would have been an illegal trap.

The reported grid reference of the location where the partially-made trap was found indicates woodland on a pheasant and partridge shooting estate in the Angus Glens, according to 2006 data published on the Who Owns Scotland website.

According to Project Raptor, “Police Scotland (Tayside) acted promptly after we informed them of the trap and it has now been removed“.

We’re quite interested in this police action. On the one hand it’s very good to see a prompt police response and the removal of a potentially illegal, potentially lethal threat to raptors, although it’s not clear who ‘removed’ the trap – the police? Gamekeeper? Land agent? Landowner? And what does ‘removed’ actually mean? Confiscated? Destroyed?  Given back to the trap owner so it could be put somewhere else? But on the other hand, as far as we can tell no offence had been committed (because the trap wasn’t functional or set) and so this discovery will not feature in any official raptor crime statistics. Had the police chosen to install a covert camera overlooking the half-made trap for a few days, the outcome may have been quite different.

Of course, there was probably a perfectly legitimate reason for a half-made raptor trap to be found in woodland on a game-shooting estate……er…….can’t quite think of one right now but looking forward to hearing of possible explanations from the game-shooting industry…


12 Responses to “Half-made raptor trap found on Scottish sporting estate”

  1. 1 nirofo
    October 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Maybe the SGA or the NGO could throw more light on this, it would be interesting to hear their comments anyway, printable ones that is !!!

  2. October 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    We can tell you now that according to a Tayside Wildlife Crime Officer, Blair Wilkie, the trap was removed by her and another officer. They sort advice on the legalities of the trap from SASA and it was decided that the trap, although not illegal as it was found, its use would certainly have been unlawful. Evidence at the scene suggested that the trap was in the processes of being modified, with the compartment at the bottom of the trap, where the live birds would have been placed as bait, being enlarged with fence wire. After this alteration it was just waiting for the net to be attached and then it would be ready for use. It didn’t look abandoned as a bundle of plastic ties and a pair of pliers was found next to it and they looked as though they hadn’t been there for very long.

    I believe that the trap is now being kept for the purposes of police training as it’s such an unusual trap. As for police enquiries we are not exactly sure what is happening.

    Please feel free to ask any more questions and we will try to help if we can.

  3. 4 John McAree
    October 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I think the SGA will be shocked that someone is sneaking onto a shooting estate and clearly planting false evidence of wrongdoing.

    • 5 Dave Dick
      October 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      I know you were being ironic here John…but taking that comment “half seriously” – why anyone plant a half-built trap, instead of a fully working one if the wanted to get someone in trouble…also, all those objects and tools must be covered in recoverable DNA..if this was treated as serious crime that would be taken?..and lastly, why isnt this an attempted offence, as in sec 18 of the 1981 Act?..just saying…

      • 6 Anti-Anti
        October 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm

        Yet another suspected case! It may not be in the official figures but I’m sure RSPB will include it in the figures they produce each year with the rest of the “probable and possible” figures they publish each year, is it not also “possible” that the police have higher priority crimes to use there ever tightening budget on with in the Angus area? it is also “possible” that project raptor placed the trap there for some publicity! Just as it is possible that a gamekeeper half set a trap to kill raptors, In my opinion this website and several of its bloggers set out to tarnish the reputation of the shooting industry at every opertunity without knowing all the facts, there could be several explanations to this trap, but I am sure in the bigoted minds of many the gamekeeper is to blame, I would like to remind you that in our democratic society we have a saying – innocent until proven guilty

        • 7 Dave Dick
          November 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

          I’ll restrict my reply to that very tetchy response to one set of facts…the gamekeeping “profession” has been proved guilty many times over in this country, in government reports, in charities reports, in raptor study group reports and finally [in spades] on this Blog – just keep reading it and pay particular attention to the archives section. Innocent?.dont make me laugh.

        • 8 Merlin
          November 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm

          “ but I am sure in the bigoted minds of many the gamekeeper is to blame, I would like to remind you that in our democratic society we have a saying – innocent until proven guilty”

          That’s a bit rich isn’t it, how many Gamekeepers need to appear in Court rooms before you admit there’s a problem then, I think you need to change the last sentence to Innocent until caught, a Democratic society is one where everyone agrees to obey the laws not pick and choose which suite them, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the police having more higher priority crimes but what is the point your suggesting, we start forgetting about certain crimes just because it doesn’t suit you! Just in case its slipped your mind, we have a special wildlife crime unit to investigate these crimes. should we stop responding to gamekeepers who report Deer and Salmon poaching too. The only problem I have with this incident is that they didn’t stake it out and catch whoever was responsible but that probably wasn’t possible in this instance.

        • November 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

          So are you saying that the police should ignore incidents related to wildlife crime? If you are, then I would question why you would prefer them to turn a blind eye to such crimes? Surely, if the police didn’t respond to incidents involving wildlife crime then this would suit the criminals and they would get away with poisoning, shooting, trapping and bludgeoning our protected wildlife to death….even more than they do now? Is it this that you want? Reading your comment it is “possible” that this is precisely what you would prefer to see.

          Project Raptor of course expects to be accused from time to time of planting evidence. These accusations go with the territory and are quite historic and often perpetrated by those that condone such crimes or have some misguided sympathy with the criminal. Project Raptor works to a strict protocol, has many years’ experience in the field and without giving away our operational methods, we are confident that all the evidence that we have recorded and examined thus far, as well as the circumstances surrounding any particular incident, it is clear to us who has committed the crime and you may not like to hear this, but it ain’t no Anti….er, Anti-Anti.

          Tarnish the shooting industry’s reputation? Please, a reputation? Dream on…..unless you mean the reputation for polluting the countryside with tons of toxic led shot every year or introducing millions of non-native birds into the environment and then slaughtering thousands of native mammals and birds, which the industry perceive as a threat to their business. This kind of reputation is endless and only involves slaughter and destruction, but I have a feeling that you may “possibly” have meant a reputation where the industry does good. As I said, dream on.

        • 10 nirofo
          November 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

          The reputation of the shooting industry, (never was sporting as some would have you believe) doesn’t need any more tarnishing, it’s already tarnished to the extent that any shine and lustre it may once have had has long since disappeared. It should have died out long ago, along with it’s Victorian attitudes and all the untold damage to wildlife and the environment it has caused and is still causing. There are no excuses, trapping and any form of wildlife persecution should be banned totally, there is no justification for it at all in any so-called educated modern society.

        • 11 Marco McGinty
          November 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm

          I was going to reply to this imbecile, but decided against it, as it is just impossible to educate some people. However, I have since changed my mind.

          Anti-Anti is a typical member of the bloodsports industry – failing to admit responsibility for his or her industry’s widespread criminal actions, and then complaining that the police service has the audacity to investigate such crimes – you do realise that the police service is there to investigate and clamp down on crime? However, I would be willing to bet that Anti-Anti would expect the police to launch an investigation for poaching offences, or even if someone damaged his/her car or property, all minor offences in the wider scheme of things. Yes folks, we have another hypocrite in our midst.

          And onto your innocent until proven guilty belief. Jimmy Savile was never convicted for any offence, so are you saying that he is the innocent party of all the posthumous sex-abuse and child-abuse allegations? Are you saying that he never committed any of these acts? Also, to date, almost 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster, no person has been convicted. Are you saying that South Yorkshire Police, Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative government of the day, and the Football Association are all innocent in relation to one of the biggest cover-ups in British history?

          [Ed: Marco, fyi, ‘Anti-Anti’ shares the same connection details as someone who has been a regular commentator here for several years under a different name]

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