Grouse moor management bang out of order

There are lots of ways gamekeepers sorry, mysterious visiting fairies, can, and obviously do, get rid of pesky hen harriers from the grouse moors of upland England and Scotland.

Options available might include disturbing them with booming gas guns (here), or lying in wait with a decoy hen harrier (here), or setting illegal pole traps to catch them (here), or burning out their nests (here), or poisoning them (here), or catching them with baited spring traps on the ground (here), or stamping on their chicks (here), or shooting them (here), or removing their eggs/chicks as part of a government-sanctioned plan designed to appease grouse moor owners (here).

Here’s another method that can be included in the Mysterious Visiting Fairies’ Guide to Getting Rid of Hen Harriers on Grouse Moors. The following two photographs were taken on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens last week (thanks to the contributor who sent these):

bangers1 - Copy

bangers2 - Copy

This is a bird-scaring banger rope, draped around a gatepost. These banger ropes are designed to mimic the intermittent sound of a shotgun and are used for scaring birds from agricultural crops. You set fire to one end of the rope and as it burns, it’ll cause loud explosions as the flame reaches the banger units. Some ropes are designed to burn for six hours, setting fire to the explosives at 15 or 30 minute intervals. Other ropes are designed to burn through the night for up to 12 hours.

Obviously, it’s a really good idea to deploy these explosive banger ropes in areas where the public are likely to access (say, like on a gatepost), on land that is susceptible to wild fire (say, like a heather moor), and in areas where nesting birds (including gamebirds, waders and ground-nesting raptors) are trying to breed (say, like a driven grouse moor).

It seems like the mysterious visiting fairies think June is an ace time to deploy them on grouse moors because here are some more photographs taken on a North Yorkshire grouse moor just four days ago. This time the banger rope had been deployed inside a (wooden!) grouse butt and the remains were quite evident on the ground. The smell of burning still hung in the air.

Yorksbanger1 - Copy

Yorksbanger2 - Copy

Yorksbanger3 - Copy

Here’s a close up of the back and front of one of the tags found inside the butt, photographed when we got home. These were Portek banger ropes:

Tag1 - Copy

Tag2 - Copy


15 Responses to “Grouse moor management bang out of order”

  1. 1 Alan Johnson
    June 12, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    The label says “Not to be used by under 18 year olds”……….how about 22 year old “apprentice gamekeepers”?

  2. 2 Nigel Raby
    June 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    It never ends does it!

  3. June 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Exclusive preview of the Moorland Association’s press release on this matter –
    “The Moorland Association condemns all acts of wildlife crime and supports the prosecution of those fairies and other magical creatures who break the law.
    We were not aware of the events leading to this discovery but we think it’s all rather stringy. We learnt yesterday that the Ministry of Magic have conducted their enquiries and have decided to take no further action. We believe that this is because that, from the evidence, that it must actually be the work of muggles, not fairies as widely reported. It is well known that fairies never do this sort of thing.
    The identity of any person allegedly decorating butts and gates with this explosive bunting is unknown but can’t possibly be anything to do with us. No crime has been committed as far as we can see but we’re not really looking terribly hard. Making judgements of any sort that might reflect ill on us and our chums just isn’t cricket. The intentions of those who have reported this incident must be suspect because it makes us look bad and the reality of raptor persecution on our moors is not something we are going to enter into.”

  4. 4 Chris Roberts
    June 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Gamekeepers must have the sickest, most inhuman and depraved jobs in existence. Most definatly they do the most harm to the majority of our wildlife, which would thrive much better without them.

  5. 5 Andrew
    June 12, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Hopefully the photographer had a full bladder at the time. Oh, and was male.

  6. 6 Andrew
    June 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Tip for NYDP. Terms of lease – no audible bird scaring devices( gas guns, bangers ……fill in as necessary ……) to be used on the land unless approved by NYDP.

  7. 8 Mr Carbo.
    June 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Funny how some keepers in Angus reported 2 mysterious heather fires recently and that they claimed that they must have been deliberately set and yet in the same Angus glens these ” bangers ” are being used . Maybe these same keepers are careless , clueless and Carbofuran ! Mr Carbo.

  8. June 12, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    We have had to abandon using these (for legitimate bird dispersal in an aviation environment) for exactly that reason, they kept setting the grass on fire. Unsurprisingly the Fairies have chosen to ignore the manufacturers instructions (as per their website) and hung them where there is public access and it could hardly be classed as agricultural use.

  9. 10 Jack Snipe
    June 13, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Every now and again it just strikes you how much unpleasantness is associated with grouse shooting. It just seems incredible that society tolerates such yobbish and thuggish behaviour, not to mention all the environmental vandalism, perpetrated by certain arrogant sectors of the middle and upper classes. The sooner we get the guns off the moors the better.

  10. 11 Pete Hoffmann
    June 13, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Gamekeepers are a law unto themselves…very often out of control…with “initiative”. Just as the estate owners require…
    Mind ya I have known a few that help themselves to hinds out of season… And mess around as they please
    ..as if the place was their playground. A perk for their badly paid jobs…they quite possibly see a funny side of placing these banger ropes in inappropriate locations… Until you get a fire…not so good when you have game birds in the heather… Many are not that bright TBH. But then neither are the estate owners in spite of their expensive education…

  11. 12 against feudalism
    June 13, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Is someone ( gamekeeper ) to be charged for leaving dangerous explosive devises in the open ? Will a charge of vicarious liability be brought against the land owner ? If not, why not !

    If small boys with matches found these………

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