03
Nov
14

‘Record breaking’ grouse season: but at what cost?

red grouse shotA ‘leading’ sporting agency is predicting that the 2014 Scottish grouse-shooting season will be one of the best for years, with ‘record bags’ being recorded on grouse moors across the country (see here).

It’s unfortunate that the grouse-shooting industry continues to measure a ‘good’ season based on the number of birds that are killed, not on the ‘quality’ of the shooting.

You can only get ‘record’ bags if the grouse are kept at artificially-high densities. That artificial high density is only possible if natural predators are removed (killed) on a massive scale. As we know, this happens on driven grouse moors both legally (e.g. stoats, weasals, corvids, foxes etc) and illegally (e.g. hen harriers, golden eagles, peregrines, buzzards, goshawks etc).

You can look at today’s headline one of two ways. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the names of the ‘record-breaking’ grouse moors were made public, so that their track record on raptor persecution can be cross-referenced?

Of course, the grouse-shooting industry will deny all involvement and/or knowledge of illegal raptor killing. If that was true, then wouldn’t it show that there’s no need to issue licences to kill protected species as the industry seems to be doing very well without them?

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13 Responses to “‘Record breaking’ grouse season: but at what cost?”


  1. 1 Alan Templeton
    November 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Well run grouse moors which obey the law should welcome a licensing system. The fact that they are almost all opposed to this says it all really.

  2. 2 crypticmirror
    November 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    As I’ve said before, I don’t object to shooting per se, but I do object to it being done like this. Apart from everything else, when they make grouse so dense and when they destroy other wildlife so thoroughly, and fence in wildlife so the grouse cannot escape properly, where is the achievement in your “record bag”? You might as well stay at home and play a computer game with the easy mode on, and the “god” cheat-codes enabled. There is no achievement. Bags like this ought to have the same asterisk next to them as Lance Armstrong’s cycling records, “*done whilst cheating”. Now go onto a proper open moor, find grouse or game that has had to freely compete with predators and are wily enough to hide, and maybe only come away with a couple for the larder, that would be a challenge, that would mean something. This is not sport, this is slaughter.

    • 3 Mike
      November 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      As a youth I was fortunate enough to experience wildfowling from a punt on a cold Essex salt marsh. Accompanying a wildfowler who got the couple of duck for the pot and then stopped shooting but continued enjoying the wildfowl and watching their movements. I can support this type of shooting and the similar challenge of walked up grouse shooting but not the ‘pleasure killing’ of the driven shoot where the object seems to be to get the biggest bag of kills of the day and for the estate the highest bag of grouse for a season. Monoculture it is, just like the yield of say wheat or potatoes and the grouse are dealt with in a similar manner.

      An interesting analogy with Lance Armstrong who carried on cheating and bullying all who spoke against him right up until the end. In a similar manner those associated with driven grouse shooting are in denial and are happy to lie, cheat and use under hand tactics to maintain their activities but like Armstrong they will surely come tumbling down – sooner or later!

  3. 4 nirofo
    November 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Absolutely disgusting that this Victorian pastime has not been banned years ago and still happens in this day and age.

    It’s totally abhorrent to think that so many birds of prey and other indigenous wildlife has had to suffer and die so that a few well heeled people can get their rocks off by killing for so-called “sport”. It’s also abhorrent to think that our once natural moorlands and uplands have had to be transformed into the virtually barren lands they have become, a monoculture, a habitat designed to support just one species of bird above all others, the vastly overstocked and pampered Red Grouse. This is a bird born for one purpose in it’s short abrupt life, it’s destiny is to be driven against it’s will by a horde of beaters and dogs to fly in one direction only, a direction where it’s fate is sealed when it meets the lines of gun butts populated by shotgun swinging morons who care nothing for the wildlife they are destroying and have destroyed to come to this final moment of industrial scale DEATH !!!

  4. November 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Good point, well made at the end…but youll never draw them out to admit thats whats been happening right up to the present – persecution of raptors only happened in the bad old days, didnt it???

  5. 6 Chris Roberts
    November 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    You forgot to mention wild cats and pine martins ‘removed illegally’.

  6. 7 Chas
    November 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Anything with tooth and or claw is killed or anything black.

  7. 8 Keith Brockie
    November 3, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    No mention of the attempted eradication of Mountain Hares on many grouse moors with their perceived affect on the grouse with louping ill via ticks. Will they start culling millions of voles next???????????

  8. November 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    In prehistoric times humans developed driven game killing. They needed to live and had no farming culture as a backup. This was, of course, many thousands of years ago.

    Why do the driven game shooters think it is such a great idea? Many of the participants are the idle rich, perhaps they would shoot peasants if it wasn’t illegal!

    I’m afraid my conclusion is the inbreeding that occurs in the upper crust has turned the, so called, privileged into backward primitive!

    It is well past time to curb these primitive people in their selfish attitudes and get their mass destruction stopped.

    They need educating!

    • 10 Carrie
      November 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Is it possible to educate those who are determined to cling to ignorance because it suits their purposes? This is a land use founded in ignorance which doesn’t have that excuse anymore. It seems to me that the tide is beginning to turn on them, but as long as those with a vested interest in keeping these barbaric, outdated ‘traditions’ alive are in positions of political power, any change is going to be painfully slow.

  9. 11 nirofo
    November 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Carrie, they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, a saying which is very apt for the still in the Victorian era shooting estate owners and their gamekeepers. As far as they are concerned they don’t want to be educated in ways which will see the eventual demise of their barbaric so-called “sport” of wanton killing for pleasure, they are quite happy to carry on killing any wildlife that poses any conceivable threat to their overpopulated beloved Red Grouse stocks. They honestly can’t understand why everybody thinks they are Raptor persecuting criminals, they are in denial that they are doing anything wrong at all, until that attitude changes then I’m afraid it will be impossible to educate them !!!

  10. 12 Marco McGinty
    November 5, 2014 at 3:54 am

    A prime example of the nonsensical beliefs of gamekeepers was to be heard on the first episode of On Weir’s Way with David Hayman. The episode covered the Glen Affric area, an area renowned for its variety of wildlife, and a part of Hayman’s conversation with gamekeeper John McLennan went as such;

    Hayman: This is a National Nature Reserve, so you would think it would be pretty full of, you know, I would think Pine Martens and Wildcat.
    McLennan: Yes, there are Pine Martens, but because the Pine Martens are here, there’s very little else.

    Typical of the idiotic, prejudiced belief that a predator will systematically wipe out all other species. The programme can be found here http://player.stv.tv/programmes/on-weirs-way/2014-10-27-2000/

    However, a quick look at some websites dedicated to the area, suggest that wildlife is flourishing in these parts (as a result of conservation measures!), and alongside several species of raptor, Crested Tits and Scottish Crossbills are mentioned. Mammals include Red Squirrel (allegedly an increasing population), Otter and Mountain Hare, all living alongside that “uncontrollable, mass killer”, the Pine Martin. Amphibians and reptiles also appear to be doing fine in this area.
    http://www.glenaffric.info/glen-affric-wildlife-flora-fauna.html
    http://www.glenaffric.org/glen_affric.html
    http://www.glenaffric.org/nature.html

    Can anyone guess who’s lying?


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