Another year, another gas gun deployed on a driven grouse moor

It’ll come as no surprise to anybody that gas guns are still being deployed on driven grouse moors, at a critical time in the hen harrier breeding season.

Here is one photographed this week in use on Glenogil Estate in the Angus Glens (photo from one of our blog readers):

We’ve been blogging about the use of gas guns for two years. For those who don’t know, propane 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. We suspect these are being used on driven grouse moors throughout the UK uplands to prevent hen harriers and other ground-nesting raptors from settling to breed.

We’ve previously asked the statutory conservation organisations about the legality of use. We assumed that the deployment of these gas guns would be subject to guidance and rigorous licensing controls by SNH and Natural England (as they are the licensing authorities for the Wildlife & Countryside Act (as amended)), particularly in relation to the hen harrier, which, as a Schedule 1A species (in Scotland only), is “protected from harassment [including disturbance] at any time”, not just when it’s trying to breed (see here). After a long delay, SNH replied with this and Natural England came up with these (useless) ‘guidelines’.

Hopefully the use of gas guns will be included in the forthcoming independent review of grouse moor management techniques.

Hen harriers haven’t bred successfully on the grouse moors of the Angus Glens since 2006. Can’t think why.

10 Responses to “Another year, another gas gun deployed on a driven grouse moor”

  1. 1 Henry Swardle
    June 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

    At least one gas gun in constant use (at the moment) on East Arkengarthdale Estate (remember them?) Apparently to deter gulls.

  2. 3 Steve Moyes
    June 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I would assume that they will also deter grouse from breeding, so where is the logic in it? Beats me.

  3. 4 Dopey_172
    June 17, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I seen/ heard one of these when I was walking on the Hill of Wirren last month. I was also very disturbed by the number of bulldozed tracks that I think the average family car could use, the tracks were in better condition that some council maintained roads.

  4. 5 AnMac
    June 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Just home from a trip in around the Leadhills/Wanlochead area. Pleased to report no gas guns in evidence in this area. Area covered in traps on all of the small burns on main roadsides and on the hill. Few grouse evident on Lowther Hill. Vole numbers would seem to be prolific with runs and holes everywhere.
    Saw one Red Kite and pair of Buzzard north of Leadhills Village More Buzzards to the west near Crawfordjohn.

  5. June 17, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Look at the state of the peat in that photo!!

  6. June 18, 2017 at 10:15 am

    get them removed asap…………………………………..

  7. 9 Merlin
    June 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    its just one thing after another with these people isn’t it, the last thing you want when walking in the hills is a 150 decibel boom going off at regular intervals, no consideration for anyone else

  8. 10 Bill
    June 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I think it’s more for deterring gulls and ravens from robing grouse and wader nests. Seems to me they are trying to do their job within the law, what other legal means do they have?

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