29
May
15

Gas-gun bird scarers deployed on Leadhills Estate grouse moor

These photographs were taken a couple of days ago on the Leadhills (Hopetoun) Estate in South Lanarkshire. They show three propane gas guns set out on the grouse moor (one inside a grouse butt).

These gas guns are routinely used for bird scaring on agricultural fields – they are set up to produce a periodic booming noise to scare pigeons, geese etc away from crops. The audible bang can reach volumes in excess of 150 decibels.

Can’t imagine why they’d be deployed on a driven grouse moor during the critical stages of the hen harrier’s breeding season, can you?

Bird scarer 1 - Copy

bird scarer 2a

bird scarer 3 - Copy

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109 Responses to “Gas-gun bird scarers deployed on Leadhills Estate grouse moor”


  1. 1 Grouseman
    May 29, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Will you ever be happy! Yes these bird scarers will be used to keep avian predators from settling and protect grouse as its also THEIR breeding season! If they were being used to disturb an active nest a crime would be being committed but as there seems to be several spread over the moor it’s clearly a protection method to protect the stocks that are there. Would you rather the raptors were being killed or just moved off and not being allowed to settle. It’s no wonder those in the shooting industry and birders are at such polar opposites in this debate you clearly have no desire to see things from or viewpoint or accept any sort of compromise then wonder why those in the industry feel the same!

    • 2 Marian
      May 29, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Why would raptors be killed, Grouseman? Are they not protected by law?

    • 5 Douglas Malpus
      May 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

      When the shooting industry starts to obey the laws of our land re Protection of Birds of Prey. Then the birders will respect the shooting industry. Until then all the attempts to disturb and kill birds other than grouse, pheasants and partridges will make the criminal activities of the shooting industry FAIR GAME!

    • 6 Dave
      May 29, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Maybe the shooting ‘industry’ should accept that if you are going to release your ‘livestock;’ into the wild (or culture a wild species) then you get a % loss due to predation But they seem to think that they should maximise their return at the expense of other species.

      • 7 Grouseman
        May 29, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Get your facts right grouse are a wild bird are cannot be artificially reared and released.

        • 8 Marco McGinty
          May 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm

          And as I’ve already pointed out to another of the shooting apologists, Dave did not state that grouse are reared and released. I shouldn’t have to keep pointing this out to the morons of the world, but just go over Dave’s comment again to understand what was actually stated.

          However, I fully understand that some people lack intelligence, so I’ll narrow it down for you, and for Bill – look for the section in brackets (it’s the only part in Dave’s comment where he has used brackets, and just in case we are dealing with true dimwits, brackets are punctuation marks, and are often used within a sentence to include supplementary information). There, I’ve just used them in the manner described, but in the unlikely event that you are still struggling, an open bracket looks like this ( and usually denotes the start of any given supplementary information, with the closing bracket looking like this ), which means the end of that supplement.

          Anyway, as for your “factual” comment that grouse cannot be artificially reared, I will alert you to this web page
          https://gallowayfarm.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/another-tool-in-the-box/

          It can be done if the will is there, and this is something I have suggested in recent times regarding the Capercaillie-Pine Marten issue – instead of the shooting industry’s repeated calls to cull Pine Martens! Furthermore, a Black Grouse reintroduction programme was carried out on Arran a few years ago, using captive bred grouse. So it would appear that you (and Bill) should get the facts right before shouting your mouths off!

          • 9 Oliver
            June 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

            If you want to be pedantic and condescending, those are parentheses, not brackets. Those dimwits, eh?

            • 10 Marco McGinty
              June 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm

              And if you want to be pedantic, yes, they are parentheses, also commonly and correctly referred to as brackets. What was that about dimwits?

              • 11 Jack Snipe
                June 2, 2015 at 12:05 am

                Brackets are not parentheses, Oliver. The parenthesis is enclosed within the brackets, or other alternatives such as dashes or even just commas. Anyway, this is off topic.

            • 12 Jack Snipe
              June 2, 2015 at 12:09 am

              Brackets are not parentheses. The parenthesis is enclosed within the brackets, or punctuation marks such as dashes or commas.

    • 13 nirofo
      May 29, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Preventing the protected Raptors from occupying their nesting territories is just as wrong for several reasons. Firstly and the most obvious is the fact that if the birds fail to breed that season it’s a loss of up to a possible 4 harrier young per nest site. Secondly, while this may seem to be a solution from the grouse moor owners perspective it is once again targeting a protected Raptor species to prevent breeding in it’s preferred territory, this again results in the loss of birds. Thirdly but by no means the last reason, it is obvious that these bird scaring devices are xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx.

      While this may not be illegal in law it is entirely unethical in it’s attempt to circumvent the law and should not be allowed.

      Grouseman.
      This is not compromise, it is a xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx on the breeding attempts of Hen Harriers, Merlins and Short-eared Owls who all use similar territory for breeding. Preventing the birds from breeding is no better than the usual method of stamping on their eggs or chicks, the end result is the same.

    • 14 Jimmy
      May 29, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Sorry Grouseman but that reply lacks credibility given that corvids are already heavily controlled via trapping and shooting on grouse estates so are unlikely to be present in any number. Every dog on the street knows whats going down on far too many of these grouse moors.

      • 15 Grouseman
        May 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

        These gas guns/bird scarers are unlikely to be to be targeted at crows but more likely at flocks of juvenile Ravens which of course are protected. As you quite rightly point out crows can be controlled legally and already are so. Provided they aren’t nested it’s a perfectly legal and reasonable way of reducing damage to ground nesting birds.

        • 16 Bimbliing
          May 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm

          If they work on ravens, why do they not work on the grouse and disturb their nesting (and any other species nearby; pipits, wheatears etc? Which of course would be both counterproductive, and illegal I guess.

        • 17 Jack Snipe
          May 31, 2015 at 2:29 am

          Grouseman, I accept that you’re not an ornithologist so don’t know when or how to differentiate between juvenile and immature Ravens, but in order to understand what your friends the gamekeepers are doing, isn’t a fundamental understanding of the ecology of the target species required? What threat do flocks of immature or non-breeding Ravens pose to Red Grouse? Virtually none. So why waste time and money scaring them off by the use of gas guns? In conjunction with my own ecological research on harriers I have also carried out studies of Raven feeding behaviour, mainly during spring and summer but including autumn-winter observations too. These have taken place over a period of 17 years; my study area (in southern Scotland) holds up to 12 nesting pairs and a non-breeding flock of up to 113 birds. A large part of my study area is a grouse moor. Flocks of feeding Ravens on moorland almost always indicate an abundance of field voles, although sheep carrion also plays a very important part in their diet. They also spend a surprising amount of time sitting around doing nothing or ‘playing’ in updraughts! In periods of low vole population cycle, Raven flock sizes are much smaller or even non-existent. Colour-ringing studies show that non-breeding Ravens will travel easily in excess of 35 kilometres (22 miles) to congregate at sites holding high vole numbers. Without going into details, they divide most of their foraging time between taking their share of sheep carrion and searching in rough grass for invertebrates and field voles. I have spoken to quite a number of gamekeepers over many years, and I have to say that as “wildlife managers” as they like to be known these days, most of them have a poor knowledge of ecology and their chosen species to control are based on a mix of some truth, but mostly prejudiced received wisdom from their peers and a load of auld wives’ tales.

          • 18 Grouseman
            May 31, 2015 at 8:38 am

            I apologise Jack if I used the term incorrectly I’m not afraid to admit it if I’m incorrect I maybe should have used the term non-breeders to describe what I meant. I accept that the area you study you find large groups of non-breeders congregate to feed predominantly on voles. While this may be true would you admit that much of the uplands in Southern Scotland is dominated by a grass heather mix which is ideal habitat. How will their feeding habits differ on other types of heather dominant moorland where there is perhaps a far lower vole population but more breeding grouse, plover, etc? I have to completely disagree with you saying that these flocks will do little damage to grouse numbers. How can dozens of large egg and chick eating predators not affect populations by eating eggs. Amounts of sheep carrion vary hugely from region to region also dependant of sheep stocking densities, whether lambed on the hill, farmer conscientiousness and flock health. Again as you have carried out much of your research in southern Scotland it’s an area that has historically been a bigger sheep farming area than much of the Highlands/East Grampians/Angus glens. More sheep = more sheep carrion although I’m sure there will be people willing to argue this.

            • 19 Jack Snipe
              May 31, 2015 at 10:19 pm

              No need to apologise for a very minor error Grouseman. However again you raise a number of scientifically contentious points. In my 50 years as an amateur naturalist and professional ecologist I have learned to take the views of the average country man or woman with a pinch of salt. The average City dweller knows remarkably little about architecture or social history, and I find that the average country dweller knows very little about wildlife ecology. That’s just fact, not criticism. Unfortunately they tend to assume that they know more than most, but they don’t. I’m sorry to say you’re demonstrating yourself to be a bit like that.

              On what basis do you disagree with me that Raven flocks are doing little harm to grouse? As I’ve already mentioned the Carrion Crow itself does not deserve its reputation in the shooting and farming industries, but are you perhaps confusing the ecology of the two species? Both do predate eggs and young ground nesting bird chicks to some extent, as nature intended, but the Raven in particular is far more of a carrion scavenger and predator of insects and small mammals, especially Field Voles. Some people may jump to the conclusion that Raven is the bigger bird and more “ravenous”, so must predate nests more than Carrion Crows do, but that is a fallacy. Counter-intuitively, the Raven is more of a basking shark than a killer whale.

              If I simply believed the shepherds in my study area, I would contend that Ravens attack healthy ewes and their lambs, usually pecking their eyes out first for a bit of wickedness. I’ve even been told that Ravens “regularly” attack birthing ewes just as the lamb is emerging, because the lamb opens its mouth to take its first breath and the Ravens peck their tongues out. A healthy modicum of scepticism encouraged me to undertake amateur research to discover the truth for myself, which tied in nicely with my interest in Hen Harriers. One element of my study was to watch for many hours over about ten years carefully noting observations of Raven flocks interacting with lambing ewes.

              The results amazed even me, and it was not long before I came away with a life-long affection for the Raven. What had almost certainly been interpreted as Ravens pecking lambs emerging from ewes was actually Ravens delicately picking afterbirth and other discarded organic material from the ewes’ back ends AFTER they had given birth. I never once recorded any Raven pecking the eyes out of a dead ewe, or attack a healthy ewe or live lamb. On many occasions I observed what I term “midwife duties” by Ravens, when one to four birds stood around a ewe which had settled to give birth, sometimes for up to an hour or more. The Ravens never attempted to take a new-born lamb; in fact all they did was clean up the afterbirth and the back end of the mother. The ewes would even stand still to allow the Ravens to do their cleaning up. I did record two incidents which were difficult to watch, but only where moribund animals were concerned. That involved less than one per cent of interactions where Ravens fed upon sheep.

              I assume you mean a grass/heather mix is ideal habitat for Hen Harriers, not Ravens. In general terms that is true, but during the breeding season harriers prefer a far higher ratio of heather to grass. If you map their foraging ranges from vantage points, they spend only a small proportion of their time crossing the boundary between heather moor and upland grassland or sheep walk. Due to the wetness of peatland however, the upland bird species found on heather moors varies tremendously depending upon topography, mineralogy and various ecological factors. Because of this it can be difficult to generalise. Golden Plover, for example, tend to occupy a niche which is dominated by grazed grassland within a heather moorland setting. The aspect of harrier ecology which some find difficult to comprehend is that although they breed where there is a high percentage of heather cover, they don’t actually hunt over the heather itself to any significant degree. They hunt more along microhabitat edges, burns, wet flushes and areas of cotton grass or purple moor grass. When large numbers of juvenile voles are dispersing, they hunt them along hill ridges with “smooth” grazed grass or areas dominated by matgrass (Nardus stricta). The hatching of harrier broods is usually timed perfectly to coincide with the mass fledging of young Meadow Pipits.

              I’m not sure where on the grasss/heather scale you would rate Leadhills, but you may be interested to hear that in the past year there has been a significantly large vole population on parts of that estate, producing a higher than average wintering population of Buzzards, Kestrels, Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers. There was even a rare Rough-legged Buzzard (another vole specialist) from northern Europe which spent the winter near Wanlockhead. Most of these birds have now dispersed to establish breeding territories.

              The harrier’s bond to heather moorland breaks down at the end of the breeding season, usually mid-August onwards unless vole populations remain higher than usual. However the voles are also present in most upland rough grassland so family groups of harriers wander and split up. They then disperse to wintering areas mostly on lower ground, with most Scottish breeding harriers moving south or west to England or Ireland. Some cross over into the near continent. A surprising result of recent satellite tracking is that some go north in autumn, in the opposite direction!

              So as you see the situation is a bit more complex than most might imagine. It is likely that predation on grouse chicks varies from one site to another, and will be at its highest where the vole population crashes during the breeding season for harrier and grouse. There is also an occasional poor season for breeding pipits, as in 2011 when the great storm of 23 May caused widespread and destructive pipit (and Skylark) nest failure in southwest Scotland. I believe it is unfortunate that much of what we “know” currently about harriers is based upon research at Langholm, which probably has one of the highest levels of grouse chick predation in the country. Nest camera studies at the Renfrewshire Heights SPA, on a managed grouse moor in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, revealed a quite different picture. Between 2003 and 2008, of 1,340 identified prey items brought to five nests, not a single Red Grouse was amongst them! This was despite grouse brood numbers being relatively high during the earlier half of the period.

              The only realistic and possible compromise, in my opinion, is for the grouse moor managers to accept that harriers and other protected predators take some grouse chicks, and focus moorland management on optimising grouse productivity through habitat manipulation in an environmentally responsible fashion with minimal impact on biodiversity potential. If that makes grouse shooting more expensive, then so be it. However I have my own ideas about how such a compromise can be achieved, but am keeping them up my sleeve for the moment. Otherwise the only other solution apart from returning to wild west mentality is to ban driven grouse shooting. Morally I feel we should end all killing of wildlife for fun, or for spurious reasons based on old-fashioned notions of competitiveness between man and wild animals. That seems to me to be a form of zoophobia.

              Didn’t mean to compose such a long reply! Hope you manged to read it all.

              • 20 Jack Snipe
                May 31, 2015 at 10:59 pm

                My apologies Grouseman for a typographical error of my own. When I said above that “I never once recorded any Raven pecking the eyes out of a dead ewe…”, I meant healthy ewe. Unfortunately this site doesn’t seem to allow commenters to edit their own mistakes.

          • 21 Bimbliing
            May 31, 2015 at 9:08 am

            This sounds interesting. Any of it written up?

            • 22 Jack Snipe
              May 31, 2015 at 10:39 pm

              Bimbling, I’m not sure who your question is directed towards.

            • 23 Jack Snipe
              June 1, 2015 at 12:19 am

              I’m currently writing up papers on Ravens and Hen Harriers for publication in Scottish Birds journal.

              • 24 Bimbliing
                June 2, 2015 at 7:27 am

                Excellent, look forward to reading once published. It’s high time some science was applied to raven interactions with sheep. Especially to the unquestioned impacts they are purported to have on sheep rearing.

    • 25 Marco McGinty
      May 29, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Grouseman, I think most people would much prefer an environment where raptors were able to nest in peace, without being harassed, or killed by those involved with the shooting industry.

      Would you, or anyone else from the shooting industry, care to explain how this fits in with the proposed Hen Harrier Brood Management Scheme? How can brood management possibly work, when adult harriers are being killed during the nesting season, or they are prevented from nesting in the first place?

    • 26 Carrie
      May 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Grouseman, what it boils down to is those in the shooting industry being unwilling to allow raptors to exist on ‘their’ estates. Whether by site disturbance or outright illegal killing, the result is the same – no raptors. I don’t see any compromise there on the side of those estates, do you?

    • 27 Kevin
      August 21, 2017 at 8:50 am

      No we’d rather see you lot moved on. Leave our iconic countrside to the people and nature At least then it will be appreciated and respected and not used for greedy individuals to destroy. The grouse and the raptors lived happily before you lot got here…. And before you give it ‘we manage the moor crap’ If the moors are unmanaged then they return to their former state which is how an ecosystem should be. Less grouse? Well thats fine by us… Give us back our Hen Harriers etc etc etc!

  2. 28 dave angel
    May 29, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Is the use of that apparatus, in that location, consistent with cross compliance requirements?

  3. May 29, 2015 at 11:32 am

    More bad news from this Black Spot & just another example of how there is nothing natural about a Grouse Moor!

  4. 30 Peter Moss
    May 29, 2015 at 11:36 am

    People in the countryside have a strange definition of the word “industry”. I would have thought an industry was something that made you know, a profit. But we have the farming “industry” which, in Scotland, manages to turn £500m of taxpayers money into an income of £250m. Some “industry” that. And now we have the shooting “industry” which we’re forever being told relies on the millions earned elsewhere that are poured into the countryside so they can have their sport, and wildlife benefits at the same time. “Wildlife” here excluding foxes, corvids, mustelids, mountain hares, ring ousels, dippers, deer, raptors, peat bogs, rare plants and mosses, not to mention the birch, pine and oak woods that would grow on grouse moors and the many many plants and animals that would live in them…….What is “industrial” is “modern” grouse moor management techniques. The people in the grouse “industry” need to wake up and smell the coffee. You need to accept that you’re going to have less grouse to shoot, and that there will be breeding populations of eagles, harriers and so on on the moors, otherwise, like many that have gone before, yours is an “industry” that is on the way out. Unlike the industries that did support peoples livelihoods in whole vast communities, and not just a very few forelock tuggers in a few lonely glens, I won’t mourn its passing.

    • 31 Douglas Malpus
      May 29, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Don’t forget that these “killing industries” also receive huge subsidies to benefit the sick rich killers!

      Pheasants are also strange birds that morph from livestock to wild and back again. In so doing rake in more subsidies for the sick rich killers.

      Why should we subsidise these sick folk?

  5. May 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Yup, I discovered a new treat on Hunthill estate this month, bangers on a string. These are lengths of fuse hemp rope with explosive bangers tied on at intervals to go off in a sequence. They are strung up on fence posts and are used to scare Carrion Crows and Ravens away from nesting grouse, reduces the need for cage traps maybe. Photo here; http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XhDTiCvs-yI/VVj6B1XX4BI/AAAAAAAAH7k/yIbdg4TWq1Y/s1600/ExplosiveScarer.jpg

  6. 33 Ernie O'Malley
    May 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Would grouse not flush after disturbance too!? Habitat in those pictures looks heavily over-grazed aswell. Very poor. The whole grouse shooting scene is a warped shambles. Only a matter of time before its a thing of the past.

  7. May 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    We at Project Raptor would question the introduction of the these gas guns when there may be nesting birds, protected by law, already established in the area and such activity could disturb the adults enough to abandon their nests, eggs or chicks, or is that the purpose? We are also concerned that dummy decoy raptor birds (plastic buzzards/falcons) are presently being used on the estate. What is the intention of such activity we wonder as raptors will also be interested in these as well as crows and these birds will come close into the decoys to investigate them. Game keepers are often close by these decoys hiding with their guns……….

    • 35 Jack Snipe
      May 31, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      I agree with what you say about gas guns Project Raptor, and the use of deterrent dummies (the plastic falcons, not the gamekeepers) is presumably demonstrating the lengths they are going to, to pretend to be using “legal” means of deterring Hen Harriers. A well known ruse in the gamekeeper trade. However like gulls on City rooftops, the harriers will not be fooled for an instant by the dummies; even from a distance they can distinguish a living bird from a lump of plastic.

  8. 36 Chris Roberts
    May 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    What a desolate, lifeless and unnatural landscape those depressing pictures show. I am not an SNP supporter, however, I do support their land reform act. The quicker that these Victorian, antiquated and heavily subsidised, ugly landscapes are destined to the history books, together with those killers of the countryside, the gamekeepers, the better for planet earth.

  9. May 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Another point …..why have grouse estates started to use these devices all of a sudden? Correct me if I am wrong but they were never used on high moorland before.

  10. 38 keen birder
    May 29, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Aye its all very unnatural, on the hills there ought to be a lot more woodland especially in the Gills and along the streams. But the same could be said of most farmed areas, man has cleared the trees away a very long time ago. On a happier side they are now being replanted through stewardship schemes , sometimes in their thousands. Look at the Lune Gorge on the Southbound M6, this is an example, planted 18 months ago and already having a good benefit to nature.,more trees more birds,generally.
    It is a wonder that the banging does not upset sitting grouse., probably does but only those that are fairly close to the gas gun. I suppose you could say theres more than on way of skinning a cat and this is one of them.
    I dont think it will contravine the cross compliance rules. I cannot see it in the 64 page guide ,yes 64 pages.
    The bottom line is this ££, as long as people are willing to pay a lot for shooting then the supply will continue, and the more expensive it sems to be then the more attractive it seems to be.Theres probably more money in grouse than sheep.

  11. 39 Me
    May 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Surely this Independent Estate of the UK should be renamed ” Nae Hopetoun” In their world xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx so that they could bred vast numbers of “game birds” too boost their income.Are these “game birds” bred in a natural environment? Allegedly it would appear that many are reared in pens/ cages until they are able to take flight for them to be blasted from the sky in the name of “sport” Some,I would allegedly imagine,look forward to ending up on a dinner plate rather than in a stink pit,but now prior to their short existence on this Earth ” Nae Hopetoun Estate ” are going to subject the “game birds” to relentless noise ( or are the poor birds already death,sorry,deaf )
    It appears to me they are xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx as the organ grinders and their monkeys are scared of getting the jail ( have they had some inside info from their mates in the Scottish Office etc) and can no longer xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx OUR countryside of OUR Raptors and OUR wildlife in the pursuit of monetary gain.
    I would rather my children saw all forms of wild life when we go hillwalking than see xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx shooting birds out of the sky

    • 40 Grouseman
      May 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

      You really need to start learning a bit about what your offering opinions about before you write such drivel. Yes Hopetoun Estate and Leadhills Estate are affiliated with one another (same owner of both properties) but they are over an hour apart and very different places. Infact Leadhills until very recently has been leased out on a long term basis to a third party. Leadhills is a grouse moor and if you bothered to look into the facts grouse are NOT bred and released to be ‘blasted out the sky’ as you most crassly put it. They are a WILD bird that’s populations can only be increased through habitat management and predator control. I’m not aware whether Hopetoun (which is a low ground estate) has a pheasant shoot which is an entirely different entity but this isn’t relevant in this case.

      • 41 Marco McGinty
        May 30, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        But I’m quite sure that the sign at Leadhills used to read “Hopetoun Estates”. I could be wrong on that, and if so, I tender my apolo….Oh, hold on, I was correct all along – here it is https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/leadhills-the-end-of-a-terrible-era/

        So in the respect that, commenter Me has a valid point.

        Grouseman, just in case you are unaware, Hopetoun Estate does offer pheasant shooting, but you appear to have taken a dislike that the commenter has managed to alter the thread from the use of gas guns (perhaps illegal use), to the environmentally destructive practice of pheasant shooting. Well, that is hypocrisy of the highest order! How many times have you, and other shooting apologists, immediately tried to switch topics by wheeling out the anti-RSPB mantra?

        • 42 Grouseman
          May 31, 2015 at 8:47 am

          Marco once again YES I know there is a connection between the estates they are owned by the same person/people! Incase you aren’t aware it’s common practice where one family/individual/group of people own several properties to amalgamate them for easiness sakes under one banner name, usually the main property. It wouldn’t matter if Hopetoun owned every moor in Scotland chances are they would still come under the mantle of ‘Hopetoun Estates’ This still doesn’t mean it has had any dictation over the day to day managment of Leadhills.

          • 43 Marco McGinty
            May 31, 2015 at 9:22 pm

            The Hopetoun Estate could easily dictate on management issues on the Leadhills Estate. What’s to stop them having certain clauses in the lease agreements, dictating that the law must be adhered to at all times, and any issues of criminal activity, would have the lessee in breach of contract, and subsequently removed from their position of leaseholder?

            • 44 Jack Snipe
              June 1, 2015 at 12:16 am

              Marco, the only problem with that is that it would be like the Mafia policing themselves! I assume you posed the question rhetorically. We shouldn’t need lease conditions to tell people they require to obey the law of the land. A bit more help from the police might improve the situation, but the current austerity measures and public service cuts are putting ‘Police Scotland’ under almost as much strain as the NHS.

              • 45 Marco McGinty
                June 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm

                Yes, it was. We all know that if the Hopetoun Estate truly wanted to combat wildlife crime, there would have been some hardline action taken years ago. But instead of a zero tolerance approach to wildlife crime, many estates only follow this zero tolerance route where predators are concerned.

                I agree, more help from the police, less corruption in the judicial system, and much stronger government action are all required. Perhaps, if the SSPCA are granted additional powers, we might see some improvement.

      • 46 Me
        May 30, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        Sorry,Grouseman,for writing such stupid nonsense, yet again.I bow to your superior knowledge.

  12. 48 Jack Snipe
    May 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks Grouseman for that little insight into the mind of the grouse shooting ‘industry.’ You do yourself and your vile leisure activity no favours, which is to be welcomed. We can’t deny historical grouse shooting gave us many of our heather moors, but it’s time to look to the future and manage them in a more sustainable fashion that blends appropriate modern land usage with compassion for wildlife and respect for ecology. The morality of grouse shooting stinks; the immorality of wiping out rare and legally protected wildlife to accommodate it is beyond the pale.

    • 49 Grouseman
      May 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

      What’s this wonderful little insight I have provided. Grouse Moors exist to produce a harvestable surplus of grouse. Grouse are wild ground nesting birds. To enable this surplus predation of them particularly at nesting time must be reduced. If control is either illegal, impractical or unfeasable predation can be reduced by not allowing said predators to settle in one area. I don’t think anyone on here will be surprised by these facts or opinions! Hardly groundbreaking stuff!

      • 50 Marco McGinty
        May 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

        “If control is either illegal, impractical or unfeasable predation can be reduced by not allowing said predators to settle in one area.”

        That’s an interesting comment, Grouseman, and it could be perceived that you are advocating illegal methods.

        I’m prepared to be told I’m wrong here, but under current legislation “it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly harass any wild bird listed on Schedule 1A”, and as Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite are the only species on this list, I believe that the usage of these gas guns in an upland situation is illegal, and anyone that supports their usage in this respect, is wholly supportive of illegal and criminal activity.

      • 51 Jack Snipe
        May 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm

        Grouseman, thanks for yet more insight into how the twisted logic of a hobby killer works. Leaving aside whether it is really necessary or morally acceptable for grown men to have fun shooting little birds, we share our countryside with wildlife and no man has an exclusive right to determine what species are allowed to co-exist. Society has determined that the Hen Harrier is special (and ruthlessly persecuted) enough to merit legal protection, and we are all expected to abide by the law. To attempt to use a loophole in the law (and as I’ve already said that is yet to be tested), is disingenuous indeed.

        It also fails to understand the breeding biology and ecology of the target species. Just like grouse, Hen Harriers require an area of suitable habitat which supplies them with nesting requirements and the food supply which they have evolved to prey upon. In modern mainland Britain, most of the suitable breeding habitat is on grouse moors, with the exception of parts of northwest Scotland. Quite simply, they choose the best habitat for reproductive purposes wherever the criteria are optimal. If not “allowed to settle,” as you put it, they have the choice forced upon them of taking up territory on poorer quality habitat, where their productivity is diminished below species survival level, or just not breeding at all. Either way, they lose out and we risk returning to the early 20th century when the species was extinct on mainland Britain. A tangible element of biodiversity and our ability to marvel at the sight of these magnificent birds would be taken away from us. That is already the situation in England.

        If grouse shooting has to continue, the participants should tolerate predators and accept that the management to produce a surplus takes account of the fact that a percentage of grouse chicks may be taken by harriers. If that renders grouse moors uneconomical, then the shooting fraternity will just have to pay more for their recreational pursuit. Most of them just happen to be very wealthy already, which means that only an elite can “enjoy” the privilege of shooting grouse anyway. There lies the rub. The irony is that the harrier does not take as many grouse as it’s reputed to do. The Langholm studies have unfortunately distorted the picture, largely by adopting a site for research where the picture is not typical. Much of the data were gathered during one of the worst vole population crashes ever in southwest Scotland, which may have led to harriers taking more grouse chicks than average. Some intelligent redesign of grouse moors could lead to the harriers preying mainly on their preferred prey items, which are field voles and meadow pipits. They also prey upon Mountain Hare leverets, of which there is also now a shortage, thanks to gamekeepers!

      • 52 nirofo
        May 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        How can the grouse be truly wild if they are artificially manipulated and induced to provide an harvestable surplus for the guns to shoot. Surely by this definition they must be stock birds and therefore livestock, as such they are open to scrutiny by the SSPCA for excessive cruelty and abuse.

        By not allowing a Schedule One protected Raptor species access to breed on it’s known preferred territory, and most of these territories are already known and documented, the shooting estate employees could be committing an offence. This is a very narrow line you are treading, be careful you don’t step over it !!!

  13. May 29, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I have been told that “you cant walk on the hills because you will disturb the sensitive ground nesting birds”… and the same hypocrites install these things?! I might print these out and carry them in my wallet..

  14. 54 Me
    May 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Ed please replace ” would not exits” with were extinct ” Sorry

  15. 55 bill
    May 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Davie grouse aren’t released if you knew anything about the “evil” shooting industry you would know this. Scareing away wing predators, of which there are many not just your precious harriers is a perfectly legal way of protecting ground nesting birds. You lot are never happy.

    • 56 Marco McGinty
      May 30, 2015 at 3:22 am

      Erm, Dave didn’t state that grouse were released. Perhaps, instead of trying to score points, you should have read his statement accurately.

    • 57 Marian
      May 30, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Hen harriers are precious – partly because they appear to have been pretty well exterminated in England. And no, we who value them – and all birds, raptors, ground nesting birds or of whatever species – are not at all happy to see this happen.

    • 58 Dave
      June 2, 2015 at 12:45 am

      As Marco says, read it again. To make it easy for you, I’ll explain. I would class grouse under the ‘culture a wild species’ part in parenthesis (in fact ,specificaly why I included that). Release of captive bred pheasants and partridge would come under the first part.

      In hindsight, I may have swapped them about, however controlling predators is not about ‘protecting ground nesting birds’ it’s about artificially boosting the numbers of one species at the expense of others.

      I don’t think the shooting ‘industry’ is evil per se, in fact I come from a long family tradition of shooting for the pot. It’s the ‘scorched earth to guarantee’ as many bags as possible that I object to.

  16. 59 bill
    May 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Oh and thanks to xxxxx xxxxx for the snaps showing that grouse moors are using legal methods to protect their grouse.

    • 60 Marco McGinty
      May 30, 2015 at 3:14 am

      And how can you prove that using gas guns in such a way is legal?

      Judging by the photographic evidence, these devices do not appear to have been out on the moor for months, so if the devices have been recently deployed, then that could point to potential illegal activity, especially if any Schedule 1 species had started nest building.

      We’re forever being told by those in the shooting industry, that as a result of “conservation management” grouse moors are teeming with raptors, so using gas guns could indeed be deemed as an illegal deterrent, and therefore a criminal offence.

      So, what is the true situation, Bill? Are grouse moors great for raptors, or is there a zero tolerance approach employed, and they are illegally killed, or prevented from nesting at all costs?

      • 61 Grouseman
        May 30, 2015 at 10:52 am

        Marco what would be the point in having them their for months as things would soon get used to them. This is a short term approach while the grouse are nesting as I’ve pointed out early probably to reduce predation from flocks of juvenile Ravens. There’s not a simple answer to that – grouse moors are great for raptors (large food supply) but let’s not kid ourselves they are tolerated rather than welcomed or encouraged! It’s a bit like asking fisherman how they feel about seals or sheep farmers what they think of foxes. But none of this means we can’t appreciate an eagle soaring on a peregrine in full swoop.

        • 62 Marco McGinty
          May 31, 2015 at 7:07 am

          Right, so we agree that the deployment of the gas guns is quite a recent addition, which brings us nicely to the points I was making earlier on – that by using such a device in an upland setting can certainly be deemed as illegal activity. Let me reiterate the wording of the current legislation regarding the species on Schedule 1A; “it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly harass any wild bird listed on Schedule 1A”.

          Current legislation for the four species on Schedule 1A means that it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb any of these four species at all times, in any given situation. It is certainly not limited to the breeding season, and the birds do not need to have started building nests.

          Any time of year. Any situation. Now we all know that Hen Harriers regularly use grouse moors (as do the two eagle species on the list), and that Hen Harriers would frequently nest in these areas given a chance, so would anyone from the shooting industry care to defend their open support for such illegal activity?

        • 63 Jack Snipe
          May 31, 2015 at 3:17 pm

          Flocks of juvenile [sic] Ravens rarely predate grouse nests (see my previous explanation), and in any case the setting of three gas guns in a vast 11,000 acre estate is not going to chase them off the moor. Let’s stop the pretence; these instruments are being used solely to disturb harrier nesting attempts. This is almost certainly illegal.

        • 64 nirofo
          May 31, 2015 at 9:37 pm

          So now it’s Ravens, don’t you lot ever allow anything other than grouse to live on the moors ???

          How can you appreciate an eagle soaring or a peregrine in full swoop when they’ve all been “removed” form the grouse moors.

  17. 65 Jack Snipe
    May 30, 2015 at 2:22 am

    Surely the legality of these instruments is still to be tested in court? As a harrier ecologist I can clearly see that one at least is positioned overlooking a likely nesting site. It is illegal to disturb a harrier at an active nest, and I rather suspect the gamekeeper is likely to have set up the gas gun AFTER the male has commenced nest building and has been observed skydancing to attract a female. Another method used to “move the birds off” is to burn a patch of heather which a male is showing interest in, again almost certainly destroying a ‘cock nest’ in the process. That is also illegal; a nest just has to be in use or being constructed to be protected, whether eggs have been laid or not.

    • 66 bill
      May 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Thats a lot of speculation there, it could have been there since March and is being used to scare of crows hunting a prime grouse nesting area. nonsense like this is why a minority of individuals are pushed to the wrong side of the law because they have their backs to the wall with few opinions, theit are no compromises made by the raptorphiles.

      • 67 Jack Snipe
        May 31, 2015 at 2:59 pm

        Bill, your own speculation is really wide of the mark, due to ignorance. Have you ever visited Leadhills? The Carrion Crow has almost been exterminated in the area, unjustly because it does not have any significant effect on Red Grouse breeding populations. Gas guns are effective only over a relatively small radius of their position – farmers who use them to deter pigeons, etc., from sown cereal fields are using one or two guns in an 10-acre field. A male Hen Harrier has a mimimum foraging range around its nest site of 30 acres (13 hectares), often extending to double that. Leadhills shooting estate I believe extends to around 11,000 hectares, so the setting of three gas guns randomly is hardly likely to “move on” harriers (or Ravens) off the grouse moor. They are clearly set to disturb specific harrier nesting attempts, and it is hardly a lot of speculation to surmise that this is almost certainly illegal. It is also clear that harassing the birds and frightening them away from their chosen nest site is a form of persecution, not simply “management.” It’s just another version of brood management, another unrealistic and ridiculous proposal put forward by those with little understanding of harrier breeding biology and ecology. One other point I don’t see being taken into consideration is the threat these instruments pose to human health and safety. Any innocent rambler walking close by could be given a heart attack by the shock of one of the guns going off. The arrogance of the grouse shooting community knows no bounds.

  18. 69 Beefsteak
    May 30, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Looks like the game keepers on lead hills have turned a new leaf!! We should be happy they have decided to do this. As I read on a previous blog harriers (and am sure other bird species) are heavily driven in their breeding instincts at this time of year so surely they would move elsewhere to breed rather than just decide not to? I for one would rather see that than the lethal option.

    • 70 Marco McGinty
      May 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      So, it could easily be argued that you fully support illegal and criminal activity. That’s good to know!

    • 71 Jack Snipe
      May 31, 2015 at 1:17 am

      Beefsteak, I’m scratching my head trying to work out if you’re being naive, ironic or just simply being a supporter of grouse shooting. What evidence there is suggests that the gas gun is an ADDITION to other methods of persecution. If only it were that simple, that the birds could be persuaded to “move on” elsewhere to breed. It doesn’t work like that. Hen Harriers, like most birds, are naturally attracted to the best breeding sites in terms of nesting habitat and food supply. By the latter I don’t mean Red Grouse! Optimal conditions are occupied first, so there is no ground for harriers to “move onto”, at least no ground where breeding productivity is sufficient to sustain the populations. In most cases the birds don’t “decide” not to bother breeding; it’s more a case of conditions not being conducive to breeding. To come into egg laying condition, female harriers require a decent population of field voles, which they hunt themselves as well as being provisioned by male harriers. Vole populations undergo natural population cycles, so harrier fecundity varies from place to place, year to year. The number of eggs they lay is dependent upon the availability of voles in spring. The main prey species upon which they feed their young in the nest are Meadow Pipits and Field Voles. They resort to grouse chicks only when the preferred species are in short supply, which can be for a range of different reasons. It is perfectly feasible to optimise conditions for Red Grouse through habitat management without controlling Hen Harriers. However in my considerable experience, a hatred of harriers is built into the DNA of the grouse shooting community and their gamekeepers. The bird has been unfairly demonised. Even crows aren’t the rogue grouse nest predators they’re made out to be. That myth is perpetuated to justify the conservation of gamekeepers, not the game itself!

  19. 72 Grouseman
    May 30, 2015 at 11:09 am

    As a footnote I find it incredible and shocking that a couple of gas bangers is enough to generate 30+ comments from blog followers but the photo of the poisoned sea eagle in Ireland from a few weeks ago can’t warrent half a dozen comments. Any true raptor enthusiast must find this mind blowing! This just shows that the majority of people on this blog are only concerned with attacking Gamekeepers, shooting estates (particularly Grouse moors) and landowners. They care very little about the birds themselves or reaching any sort of solution to the conflict. Even the incidents that have nothing to do with sporting estates get a host of comments bringing it back to estates or keepers.

    • 73 Marco McGinty
      May 31, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Perhaps the reason that this article has generated so many comments, is down to the fact that the shooting industry has adopted yet another illegal method to stop protected species from nesting, and you and some of your allies immediately jumped in to offer support for this illegal activity.

      As for your theory that the contributors to this blog are only interested in attacking gamekeepers, well, that is utter nonsense. If you care to read the articles and comments throughout the years, you would soon realise that many people have been attacked – various governments and politicians, shooting organisations, landowners, landowners organisations, some in the farming community, the police, the judicial systems, broadcasters and other media, and yes, the RSPB. To suggest that only gamekeepers are attacked, is far removed from the actual reality of the situation.

      Then you follow on with your absurd belief that we “care very little about the birds themselves or reaching any sort of solution to the conflict”. There has been some suggestions on how to reduce or minimise any conflict, but it is the shooting industry and their representatives that have refused to budge in any way whatsoever. However, it is noteworthy that you (and other shooting industry apologists) have collectively failed to respond to my very first questions on this topic. As the Hen Harrier Brood Management Scheme is the shooting industry’s latest attempts to deceive the public, I will ask those questions again.

      Would you, or anyone else from the shooting industry, care to explain how the use of gas guns fits in with the proposed Hen Harrier Brood Management Scheme? How can brood management possibly work, when adult harriers are being killed during the nesting season, or they are prevented from nesting in the first place?

      All relatively straightforward questions, so I wonder if I will receive a reply this time?

    • 74 Grouseman
      May 31, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Is no one going to admit this is absurd!?!?

      • June 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm

        What is absurd is that you can’t see the difference.
        The difference is you.
        No one came forward on these pages and defended the poisoning of the Irish eagle. I don’t respond to most of the RPS blogs, that doesn’t mean i don’t care you idiot.
        You have defended the use of the scare-gun so of course a blog dedicated to the protection of raptors is going to respond.

        Secondly you contradict yourself.
        Your original post was the first comment to the RPS blog and was defending the use of the scare-guns against ‘avian predators.’ To quote ‘Yes these bird scarers will be used to keep avian predators from settling’. By implications this included birds of prey, after all this is what this blog is about RIGHT, raptors! This isn’t Raven Persecution Scotland. You even make it clear you mean raptors by your line ‘Would you rather the raptors were being killed or just moved off and not being allowed to settle’. Then you write ‘If they were being used to disturb an active nest a crime would be being committed’. Wrong, it is not just during breeding that birds are protected.
        Presumably you later realised you didn’t understand the law and back-tracked to say the scare-guns are for juvenile Ravens but your first post is still there. Great thing the internet. Shot yourself in the foot?

        • June 6, 2015 at 6:04 pm

          Since you are obviously a bit thick, here are the other differences which matter to a raptor enthusiast.
          1. The Irish poisoning was covert, as far as we know isolated and no one has been prosecuted. The raptor-scaring guns are in the open, it is obvious who was responsible and that xxxxx xxxxx have given approval (passive or otherwise). [The Red Kite massacre was similar to the former but there, the sheer scale of the massacre and the inability and incompetence of the Police to do anything and their bumbling press-releases made the comment numbers very high]
          2. The scare guns are new as far as scaring raptors go. Poisong of eagles is sickeningly old. Sometimes there is nothing to be done but just cry about the latter but (see 3). Anything new that persecutes raptors is to anybody but an idiot going to be highly commented upon.
          3. about the scarers we can do something. I can do virtually nothing about the poisoning of Irish eagles.
          4. The use of these scare-guns is linked to an industry. An organised industry and I would say an industry that is commonly associated with raptor crime. Hence i refer to it as organized crime. This is a huge difference. It is also organized crime that is covertly defended by various agencies. This is worthy of heated comment. This is where politics, crime and social and ethical issues come to the boil. So of course there is outrage. These are our Hen harriers that are being restricted and in England exterminated.

    • 77 Jack Snipe
      May 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Are you surprised, Grouseman? It’s the estates and keepers who are breaking the law. Those of us speaking out for the birds (which we do care about) have the law on our side.

    • 78 crypticmirror
      May 31, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Grouser, this blog is called Raptor Persecution Scotland and this incident takes place in Scotland. The Irish incident took place in Ireland, which you may be shocked to discover is not Scotland. It was deplorable, sure, but this one is closer to home Grousey. If someone is an asshole in another country then I’m depressed, but that is another country. If a bunch of tweedy assholes want to cause stink in my own country then I’m angry. Nice try with the whataboutery nonetheless Grouseton.

      • 79 Grouseman
        May 31, 2015 at 11:08 pm

        Hmm that’s interesting so Irish Eagles don’t matter? Surprising saying we sent them the bulk of the Golden Eagles they have ever released! They are so endangered and rare in Scotland but it’s ok to catch them in the Eyrie and export them to Ireland! Oh and while we are on the subject if this blog is called Raptor Persecution Scotland does that mean it shouldn’t mention any persecution incidents in England or Ireland because I think you will find there is dozens or posts about English, Irish and Welsh matter regarding raptors!

        • 80 crypticmirror
          June 1, 2015 at 7:45 pm

          But what about, but what about, but what about. That is all, what we shall loosely refer to as your argument is based on. What about problems in other countries? Well, what about ’em, what about the problems of raptors in Ireland, what about the problems of vultures in Turkey, what about the plight of hawks in Canada, what about every problem in the world that we should work on before dealing with the problems on our doorstep? Tell you what, we’ll work on solving the ones here first. The ones which are most relevant to this blog’s mission, then we’ll be in a place to tackle the problems other other countries in the knowledge we are leading by example.

        • 81 Marco McGinty
          June 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm

          Grouseman, crypticmirror clearly stated that the Irish eagle incident was deplorable, and just because we as a collective did not comment, does not necessarily mean that we are not disgusted. No-one has even attempted to suggest that “Irish eagles don’t matter”.

          However, your fatuous comment about eagle chicks being taken from their nests for release in Ireland, has only shown your own lack of understanding on the ecology of the Golden Eagle.

          • 82 Grouseman
            June 2, 2015 at 7:21 am

            So your denying eagles were taken from nests in Scotland and relocated in Ireland?

            • 83 Jack Snipe
              June 3, 2015 at 12:56 am

              I’m sure Marco will reply himself, Grouseman, but I’m pretty sure he is referring to the fact that most (about 95% of) second chicks in a Golden Eagle’s nest in Scotland die before fledging. So it does not affect the Scottish eagle population to remove the younger, smaller chick for the Irish reintroduction programme.

          • 84 Marco McGinty
            June 3, 2015 at 5:15 am

            Did I deny that it happened? Is there anything in my comment that could conceivably be described as a denial? No, there isn’t anything in my comment that even resembles a denial, and I’m not denying it, so we have another perfect example of your twisted logic. As Jack Snipe has correctly identified, I was referring to the frequent cases of siblicide along with the other natural causes of mortality in young eagles.

            So, there you have it, and just as I had mentioned earlier, you have shown your ignorance on the very basics of Golden Eagle ecology.

            But can you see how simple that is Grouseman? Person 1 asks Person 2 a question, and Person 2 provides a straightforward reply to that very question! It’s easy, you should try it! I think there are a few questions on here that you have left unanswered, so you should give them a try for starters.

        • June 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

          CrtpticMirror:
          ‘The Irish incident took place in Ireland. It was deplorable’
          Grouseman:
          ‘so Irish Eagles don’t matter?’
          Me:
          ‘Grouseman. If you can’t make sense, please shut up’

          • 86 Jack Snipe
            June 6, 2015 at 11:46 pm

            Hasn’t Grouseman gone strangely quiet?

            • 87 Marco McGinty
              June 7, 2015 at 3:43 am

              This is a particularly common occurrence whenever any member of the pro-shooting lobby has had their feeble arguments destroyed by logic and/or science.

              I’m still waiting on questions being answered, with some of those questions dating back a few years!

  20. 88 crypticmirror
    May 30, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I hope the local traveller community don’t hear where some unguarded and unsecured gas cannisters have been placed. You never know what might happen then.

  21. 89 JML
    May 30, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Of course 100% of the facts have been gathered before this was posted??
    Or is this just the same old propaganda against the shooting industry ?

  22. 91 Grouse Chick
    May 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Seriously? Have you people got nothing better to do with your time?

    • 92 Jack Snipe
      May 31, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      If honest people didn’t fight for the welfare and conservation of these birds, the magnificent Hen Harrier would be extinct in the UK. I’d say that’s a pretty wholesome and virtuous use of anyone’s time. I’m grateful for the existence of this site and the decent people who care about wild birds rather than persecuting and shooting them.

  23. May 31, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Regarding the explosive cartridges on a rope that I mentioned earlier, they were positioned near estate tracks where walkers pass by with no warning signs. It would be helpful if the SGA provided information on their web page about all the current tools of the trade that game-keepers use, then speculation about these tools would unnecessary. Personally I have come across posts with fence wire loops stapled to them half way down the post and to me they fitted the bill for pole trap use, but it came to pass that these loops are for tying stalking ponies to. I was ridiculed by local keepers for enquiring about their use but they matched photo examples of such traps, even the local wildlife officer did not know what they were for. So, a litte info goes a long way and I would welcome info signs on these devices telling ignorant townies like me what they are really for, after all most crow cage-traps have to have legal info attached to them. It would be nice to think that all these devices are for an innocent purpose but how many act as a double edged sword? Change to the relationships between game-keeper, shooting estate and public needs to happen but hatred shown by both sides will not inspire that change.

  24. 94 I C T
    May 31, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Grouseman, I haven’t commented previously but in your remark “solution to the conflict”, the simple answer is for shooting estates to do what everyone else does………obey the law. Do you think your criminal associates can do that?

    • 95 Grouseman
      June 1, 2015 at 9:38 am

      I fully argee the laws should be obeyed but that answer is far to simplistic and clearly isn’t working. We are dealing with a deep rooted and aendemic problem where opinions and passions run very strong. The bottom line is the people persecuting Raptors (that are very much in the wrong I would add) are doing it as they see it as the only solution to protect their livelihood. Do you really think people would be putting their freedom, firearms certificates, jobs and houses on the line unless they felt there was any other way. Yes this blot on our nations wildlife needs sorted out but surely there is a happy medium there when we can still have a driven grouse shooting industry and raptors co-existing? The problem is the keepers and the birders are at opposite ends of a bell curve and some common ground must be found if we are to move forward.

      • 96 Marco McGinty
        June 1, 2015 at 9:22 pm

        “I fully agree the laws should be obeyed but that answer is far to simplistic and clearly isn’t working.”

        The answers are very simple – for the shooting industry representatives to stop the illegal persecution of protected species, and follow the laws of the land. Such a simple step would be a massive leap forward, and despite the animal welfare issues that many people hold, the vast majority of people would then accept shooting as a legitimate pastime.

        “Yes this blot on our nations wildlife needs sorted out but surely there is a happy medium there when we can still have a driven grouse shooting industry and raptors co-existing?”

        Of course there is a happy medium. Stop illegal persecution, obey the laws of the land, accept predators and predatory behaviour as vital to a natural balance and get used to having slightly fewer grouse to shoot in any given year. Having slightly fewer grouse to shoot, or a change to a walked-up system, does not mean that there will be any loss in income for the estates – all they have to do is charge the same, or more if they wanted to – and they could branch out into the environmental tourism sector, adding even more revenue.

        “The problem is the keepers and the birders are at opposite ends of a bell curve and some common ground must be found if we are to move forward.”

        It would be foolish to disagree on that point, it’s just that the majority of birders (or conservationists and naturalists) manage to obey the law where wildlife is concerned, whereas it would appear that many gamekeepers do the opposite. Ruling out any calls for the culling of protected species, what would you suggest we could do in an attempt to move forward?

      • 97 Jack Snipe
        June 2, 2015 at 12:24 am

        Grouseman, you keep advocating happy mediums and compromises. Could you suggest any ideas yourself, because I can’t think of any compromise which is realistic or ecologically sound that you haven’t already rejected. I suggest you avoid brood management, which is not a compromise and wouldn’t work anyway. I look forward to hearing your constructive and realistic suggestions.

  25. 98 Grouseman
    May 31, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Some people on this blog are seriously paranoid or just cannot consider any other bird in the world other than a Harrier! ONCE AGAIN these are not designed to stop Harriers breeding or ‘brood management’ or any other such emotive tagline they will be for reducing predation by Ravens and black backed gulls!

    • 99 crypticmirror
      June 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      Just because it isn’t designed for a task, Grouselton me ol’ mucker, doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform that task. It may be incidental to its purpose, but it still manages it. That is why they need to go. Back to the drawing boards and find something that can scare away the corbies without negative side effects on other avifauna. Can i just say, nice work at trying to tie the black backed gulls into this, I know there has been a lot of press on them as a pest, and trying to associate them with this argument for your own emotional manipulation attempt is not bad. Sneaky one Grousey-bae, sneaky.

    • 100 Jack Snipe
      June 1, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Grouseman, you have every right to express your point of view, but your replies are getting more and more ludicrous. I think this is the first time you’ve mentioned black-backed gulls. Are you getting desperate? I note you don’t say which species of black-backed gull, so it’s difficult to respond to your latest rant in detail. I’ve already explained (laboriously) that Ravens pose no significant threat to grouse, and I speak as someone who knows quite a bit about their ecology. Lesser Black-backed Gulls foraging on heather moorland during the grouse breeding season are seeking out Northern Eggar moths, and as far as I’m aware no-one has resorted to shooting them for sport! Great Black-backed Gulls are very few and far between in the Leadhills area, and are mainly scavenging for carcasses, typically sheep. That aside, the idea that THREE gas guns in a vast 11,000 acre estate are going to scare off gulls or Ravens is just ridiculous. They won’t even scare off harriers, which might take fright initially but then would just move away and avoid going too close to them. They are CLEARLY designed to do what you say they’re not intended to do, that is to DISRUPT HARRIER NESTING ATTEMPTS. The desired effect would appear to be the same as brood reduction, i.e. zero young for harriers to feed. Time to stop the kidding, you’re not fooling anyone! At best it is a rather transparent sham attempt to pretend that the birds are not being persecuted any more. It would be interesting to know how implicated you are in all this! It’s time the RSPB reported this criminal offence to the police.

    • 101 Marco McGinty
      June 1, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      “Yes these bird scarers will be used to keep avian predators from settling and protect grouse as its also THEIR breeding season.”

      “If they were being used to disturb an active nest a crime would be being committed but as there seems to be several spread over the moor it’s clearly a protection method to protect the stocks that are there.”

      “Would you rather the raptors were being killed or just moved off and not being allowed to settle.”

      “If control is either illegal, impractical or unfeasible predation can be reduced by not allowing said predators to settle in one area.”

      Grouseman, the comments above, were all provided by you, on this very topic, before you were aware that the gas gun usage could be illegal. It was clear from the start, that you believed that as long as the Hen Harriers had not started nesting, it would be permitted to move then on before they had the chance to settle. However, once it had been pointed out that the Hen Harrier is on Schedule 1A, and therefore any intentional or reckless disturbance would be illegal, you switched your analysis to that of the marauding Raven flocks. Now that you have been taught a lesson on Raven ecology, you are now using black-backed gulls as your excuse!

      You can protest all you like, and you can ignore the questions, but these gas guns have been placed to stop Hen Harriers (and other raptors) from settling. Stop apologising for [seemingly alleged] criminal behaviour.

    • 102 Kevin moore
      June 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      It is the keepers that cannot consider any other bird, and that bird is grouse, anything on the moors that could predate on grouse is exterminated .

  26. 103 Boaby BTW
    June 1, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Grousey

    I have heard that type of comment many times before ‘ common ground must be found if we are to move forward’, ‘ reach a balance’, ‘compromise’ etc etc etc

    I don’t see this attitude towards any other criminal act.

    No one is asking for compromise with drink driving

    No one is asking for balance with domestic violence

    No one is asking for common ground with persons illegally using red diesel

    so why should there be any distinction with persons killing protected wildlife species

    There is absolutely no difference…..these people are common criminals and ‘moving forward’ society will eventually treat them so.

    Its just taking us a bit time to get there.

    • 104 nirofo
      June 2, 2015 at 2:24 am

      Yes many of these people are habitual criminals when it comes to persecuting protected wildlife. We’re not talking about the odd harrier or goshawk being knocked off because it’s considered a nuisance, we’re talking about a concerted effort on a daily basis to remove all raptors from the moors by the majority of the grouse shooting estates. It’s become so bad it could be termed as a crime wave against legally protected birds, in no other society would this sort of behaviour be tolerated, but here we have a situation where some of the people who are responsible for making our laws and enforcing them are the ones who are actually breaking them or turning a blind eye to them. Sooner or later the general public are going to wake up to what these publicly funded stalwarts of our society get up to and put a stop to it, the sooner the better I say.

  27. 105 I C T
    June 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Hello Grouseman, people as you describe them ( criminals to the rest of society) are not putting their freedom , firearms certificates, jobs & houses on the line by killing raptors because they have been doing it with impunity. However times are changing, in some parts of the United Kingdom faster than in others. If they don’t change some will end up where they deserve to be.

  28. 106 Mr Carbo.
    June 12, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Methinks Grouseman has been at the Famous Grouse so we will leave it at that.
    Mr Carbo.


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