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Driven Grouse Shooting a UK Disgrace?


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#121 douglaswise

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 09:06 PM

@kittykat23uk:

 

I sent off a submission today (FWIW).


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#122 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 29 October 2016 - 08:35 AM

For those interested another satellite tagged Hen Harrier has been killed in "suspicious" circumstances and Natural England and the Hawk &Owl Trust have referred the matter to the police after an autopsy.The Harrier was a bird fledged this year and was tagged by the above organisations.The Hawk & Owl Trust is the only conservation charity whose leadership still supports the Hen Harrier plan.
Scottish Natural Heritage have just published a report confirming that the high levels of illegal killing of red kites in the north of Scotland have not changed in 25 years.
As for the petitions the Scottish parliament has been hearing evidence on the petition to licence grouse shooting and are considering referring it to the next level the Environment Climate change and Land Reform committee.
The Guardian newspaper have picked up on a report by Friends of the Earth highlighting the subsidies paid to grouse moor owners as part of the common agricultural policy-in 2015 the Duke of Westminster shooting estate received £203,000 whilst the Mossdale estate received £170,000.That estate withdrew this year from the Moorland association after film was released showing illegal pole traps being set.A licencing scheme may of course stop that entertaining juxtaposition.
The UK parliament have also just finished hearing oral evidence before the debate on the 31st.I doubt the debate will achieve more than publicity.Entertainingly the witness from the Countryside Alliance a country sports organisation, was questioned by one Simon Hart MP. Simon Hart MP receives £30,000 per annum in his role as chair of the Countryside Alliance.
To end on some potentially good news there is consultation going on considering the possibility of reintroducing Golden Eagles to southern Scotland

#123 douglaswise

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 11:24 AM

For those interested, there was a UK parliamentary debate yesterday on the proposal to ban driven grouse shooting.  The unanimous vote at the end was against a ban.

 

The entirety of the debate can be watched:

 

www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/0b841a46-eb3d-44b3-83b7-9500482b6d92 . 



#124 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 12:40 PM

To be watched particularly if you like the feeling of banging your head against a brick wall and crying into your beard over the  large amounts of absolute rubbish spoken by our elected representatives! Lets hope that the Scottish idea of a regulated system is chosen in Scotland and then adopted in England



#125 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 11:34 AM

I thought it might be interesting to provide an update on the exciting world of Driven grouse Shooting.

Recently the RSPB released a press statement about a decision by the Crown Office(The  body in Scotland that decides on whether to proceed in criminal cases) after 9 court hearings and before the trial, of a now former game keeper and his illegal killing of a Hen Harrier on a grouse moor estate The only evidence was video evidence that was obtained as part of the RSPB monitoring of Hen Harriers to see what problems they face whilst nesting. The Crown office  press statement says

The RSPB have now released the video which is on Youtube  and also hopefully here

http://www.bbc.co.uk...etland-39803548

 

“A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) spokesman said: "In accordance with the Crown's ongoing duty to keep prosecutions under review and after carrying out a detailed review of all of the relevant material, Crown counsel considered that the inevitable conclusion was that RSPB investigators entered the land in question and embarked upon evidence gathering for the purpose of prosecution.

"Discussions have taken place over a number of years between RSPB and COPFS about the admissibility of evidence obtained through the use of covert surveillance.

"The Crown has consistently made it clear that strict legal tests must be met before evidence which has been obtained irregularly, such as the evidence in this case, is admissible. We will continue to have further dialogue with RSPB.

"In the whole circumstances, Crown counsel concluded that the evidence would not be admissible in court.

"In light of that conclusion it was entirely appropriate that proceedings were brought to an end."

This is strange in that video evidence has been successfully used in similar prosecutions before and argued about in court as to if they are advisable. At the very least it is a point that should be up to the Judge. The RSPB put the camera there (I think they need a licence to do so) to help research on the problems Hen Harrier’s face in raising young. Indeed a RSPB government project uses such cameras as part of its remit

Earlier this year a gentleman in the Lammermuirs was photographed next to his tethered Eagle Owl near a buzzards nest, now I often take my Eagle Owls for a walk and tether it near a nest, as I am sure we all do from time to time. He however had a shotgun but left with his owl when photographed.

In better news Golden Eagle pairs now are over 500, but there are still gaps where they should be, these gaps coincidentally being where there are grouse moor hotspots. A young satellite tagged Golden Eagle did seemingly disappear over a Grouse Moor estate near the Cairngorms National Park. Now satellite tags are not infallible. A tagged Hen Harrier that was thought to have been killed did resurface this year. And  indeed just around the time the Golden Eagle disappeared, and just after news of  its disappearance had been announced the estate released video footage of what they said was the very bird, which is nice. You can judge for yourself

https://www.youtube....h?v=h0NYoMmHvvs

The estate, the North Glenbuchat Estate, is a bit of a Bermuda triangle where satellite Birds of Prey are concerned. Here is a list of Birds whose tags have failed and who have not been seen again over the estate,

In September 2011 a satellite-tagged eagle (#95065, named Strathy) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In February 2012 a satellite-tagged eagle (#57111) ‘disappeared’ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In May 2013 a satellite-tagged eagle (#84133, named Angus 33) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In April 2014 a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle (White 1) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In April 2014 a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle (White 1) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped. This bird I think was the first successfully fledged from the East Scotland reintroduction project

The Scottish government are still looking at the possible licencing of grouse shooting ( and given the above what other option is there?)and as part of that they commissioned a report on how hunting is licenced in other European countries. It makes interesting if lengthy reading and can be found here,

http://www.snh.org.u...reports/942.pdf

It would be interesting to see what hunters in Europe can add to the debate and how such regulation works. In all the 14 countries reviewed, those wanting to hunt have to take an exam and part of the exam involves understanding the ecology of the hunted species. There is no such requirement in the UK. In many countries the game bird hunting is on state land and so there is less of desire to kill birds of prey. There is a wide variety of systems and it is difficult to draw conclusions that might work in Scotland or indeed England.

The go ahead for a reintroduction project in the South of Scotland for Golden Eagles has been given. There are only 5-6 pairs where there should be a lot more. The biggest factor on numbers is, yes you’ve guessed it, illegal persecution from grouse moors!. This will still continue unless the publicity about the project puts those committed law breakers off so let us keep our fingers crossed. It has been given lottery funding

https://www.goldenea...scotland.co.uk/

 

As for a Hen Harrier project, it is mired in difficulty, not least the continued persecution. a couple of potential southern sites have been identified, but birds cannot be taken from  UK populations and so far only Russia have not said no to the possibility of supplying birds. The problem is that by their very nature Hen Harriers are wanderers A bird fledged in the south of England would not stay there, and sooner or later it will fly over a grouse moor



#126 Csaba

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 07:35 AM

RSPB criticises Crown Office over dropped raptor case.

 

Confidence in prosecutors' ability to convict for crimes against birds of prey is being significantly undermined, according to RSPB Scotland.
 
The charity has questioned the Crown Office's decision to drop the case against a gamekeeper accused of setting an illegal trap.
 
It has released footage which was due to be used in the trial purporting to show a "pole trap" being laid out.
 
The case against Craig Graham has been discontinued.
 
The gamekeeper, of Brewlands in Angus, was due to be tried next week.
 
It follows a decision to drop proceedings against another gamekeeper, Stanley Gordon, from Cabrach in Moray.
 
The Crown Office said video evidence provided by the RSPB in both cases was not admissible to the court because it was filmed for the purposes of gathering evidence.
 
The charity has insisted that was not the case and that the crimes were recorded accidently.

 

 


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#127 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 04:38 PM

What makes these decisions unfathomable is that evidence like this has been used in Scottish criminal courts and the point has been argued before a judge.I cannot see how land could be entered illegally bearing in mind Scotland access laws @Czaba
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#128 offshorebirder

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 10:50 PM

I thought it might be interesting to provide an update on the exciting world of Driven grouse Shooting.

Recently the RSPB released a press statement about a decision by the Crown Office(The  body in Scotland that decides on whether to proceed in criminal cases) after 9 court hearings and before the trial, of a now former game keeper and his illegal killing of a Hen Harrier on a grouse moor estate The only evidence was video evidence that was obtained as part of the RSPB monitoring of Hen Harriers to see what problems they face whilst nesting. The Crown office  press statement says

The RSPB have now released the video which is on Youtube  and also hopefully here

http://www.bbc.co.uk...etland-39803548

 

“A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) spokesman said: "In accordance with the Crown's ongoing duty to keep prosecutions under review and after carrying out a detailed review of all of the relevant material, Crown counsel considered that the inevitable conclusion was that RSPB investigators entered the land in question and embarked upon evidence gathering for the purpose of prosecution.

"Discussions have taken place over a number of years between RSPB and COPFS about the admissibility of evidence obtained through the use of covert surveillance.

"The Crown has consistently made it clear that strict legal tests must be met before evidence which has been obtained irregularly, such as the evidence in this case, is admissible. We will continue to have further dialogue with RSPB.

"In the whole circumstances, Crown counsel concluded that the evidence would not be admissible in court.

"In light of that conclusion it was entirely appropriate that proceedings were brought to an end."

This is strange in that video evidence has been successfully used in similar prosecutions before and argued about in court as to if they are advisable. At the very least it is a point that should be up to the Judge. The RSPB put the camera there (I think they need a licence to do so) to help research on the problems Hen Harrier’s face in raising young. Indeed a RSPB government project uses such cameras as part of its remit

Earlier this year a gentleman in the Lammermuirs was photographed next to his tethered Eagle Owl near a buzzards nest, now I often take my Eagle Owls for a walk and tether it near a nest, as I am sure we all do from time to time. He however had a shotgun but left with his owl when photographed.

In better news Golden Eagle pairs now are over 500, but there are still gaps where they should be, these gaps coincidentally being where there are grouse moor hotspots. A young satellite tagged Golden Eagle did seemingly disappear over a Grouse Moor estate near the Cairngorms National Park. Now satellite tags are not infallible. A tagged Hen Harrier that was thought to have been killed did resurface this year. And  indeed just around the time the Golden Eagle disappeared, and just after news of  its disappearance had been announced the estate released video footage of what they said was the very bird, which is nice. You can judge for yourself

https://www.youtube....h?v=h0NYoMmHvvs

The estate, the North Glenbuchat Estate, is a bit of a Bermuda triangle where satellite Birds of Prey are concerned. Here is a list of Birds whose tags have failed and who have not been seen again over the estate,

In September 2011 a satellite-tagged eagle (#95065, named Strathy) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In February 2012 a satellite-tagged eagle (#57111) ‘disappeared’ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In May 2013 a satellite-tagged eagle (#84133, named Angus 33) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In April 2014 a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle (White 1) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped.

In April 2014 a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle (White 1) ‘disappeared‘ on North Glenbuchat Estate. Its tag had been functioning perfectly well before it suddenly and inexplicably stopped. This bird I think was the first successfully fledged from the East Scotland reintroduction project

The Scottish government are still looking at the possible licencing of grouse shooting ( and given the above what other option is there?)and as part of that they commissioned a report on how hunting is licenced in other European countries. It makes interesting if lengthy reading and can be found here,

http://www.snh.org.u...reports/942.pdf

It would be interesting to see what hunters in Europe can add to the debate and how such regulation works. In all the 14 countries reviewed, those wanting to hunt have to take an exam and part of the exam involves understanding the ecology of the hunted species. There is no such requirement in the UK. In many countries the game bird hunting is on state land and so there is less of desire to kill birds of prey. There is a wide variety of systems and it is difficult to draw conclusions that might work in Scotland or indeed England.

The go ahead for a reintroduction project in the South of Scotland for Golden Eagles has been given. There are only 5-6 pairs where there should be a lot more. The biggest factor on numbers is, yes you’ve guessed it, illegal persecution from grouse moors!. This will still continue unless the publicity about the project puts those committed law breakers off so let us keep our fingers crossed. It has been given lottery funding

https://www.goldenea...scotland.co.uk/

 

As for a Hen Harrier project, it is mired in difficulty, not least the continued persecution. a couple of potential southern sites have been identified, but birds cannot be taken from  UK populations and so far only Russia have not said no to the possibility of supplying birds. The problem is that by their very nature Hen Harriers are wanderers A bird fledged in the south of England would not stay there, and sooner or later it will fly over a grouse moor

 

It's too bad the families of those poor birds of prey cannot file civil suits against  the gamekeeper!


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#129 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:49 AM

News of another Hen Harrier illegally shot this time in southern Scotland, another hotspot for this kind of thing. according to the local paper the Police are appealing for witnesses and CCTV footage as presumably they don't yet realize the Scottish Crown office  do not like that kind of evidence! you don't need me to tell you it took place on a grouse moor do you?

apparently a gentleman armed with a shotgun and with his face covered was seen at the scene and left on a quadbike. A couple of years ago a tagged hen Harrier "Annie" was shot about 2 miles from here and another tagged bird "Chance" vanished near here last year. In fact there have been 48 reported crimes involving birds of prey in this area in the last 14 years with only 2 prosecutions many involving the illegal use of carbofuran as a poisoned bait and in 2013 an otter was shot!

some might think this is more evidence that Grouse moors should be licenced


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#130 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 11:18 AM

at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Sunday Herald, a Scottish newspaper reported yesterday that the Crown Office has refused a request from the Scottish police to bring a prosecution against a gamekeeper for alleged poisoning of 2 buzzards on the Edradynate Estate, a grouse shooting estate in Perthshire. This relates  to an incident in 2015 when 2 buzzards were discovered close to the estate and following a raid it is alleged that a third poisoned bird was discovered.

Readers may not be surprised to know that this is another unfortunate estate where strange things appear to happen.As long ago as 2002  charges were brought but then dropped in relation to 9 alleged offences relating to poison bait and spring traps.2010 a poisoned Red kite was discovered and in the last 15 years  9 buzzards 2 sparrowhawks 1 gull 1 tawny owl, 1 polecat and 1 domestic cat have all been found poisoned. 2011 a banned poison was found. The Scottish govt are again considering if there is a problem and if licencing is the answer tomorrow when a committee will report back to the government. the Scottish government is also supposed to be releasing a report on satellite tagged birds of prey. finally some good news, it appears that Hen Harrier numbers in Wales are increasing, a country with no real driven grouse shooting, I think, but with foxes and other predators of ground nesting birds present



#131 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 11:15 AM

By a narrow margin, the committee of the Scottish government has voted to recommend to the government that they explore the idea of a licensing system for Driven Grouse moors It has a long way to go but Hurrah!


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#132 kittykat23uk

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:16 PM

Sounds positive :)
If an experience is amazing enough to be "once in a lifetime," I want to do it every year.
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