Stand­ing up for shoot­ers as con­ser­va­tion­ists

Shooting Gazette - - Letters -

Ican­not help but at long last, sit down and put pen to pa­per, over what I (and I am sure many oth­ers) see as a ma­jor and very im­por­tant fac­tor hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the coun­try­side that we en­joy and rely on for our sport.

In a word: preda­tors.

In all my years in­volved in shoot­ing, I have never known the numbers of these nat­u­ral born killers as great as to­day.

Not only does this group in­clude what is a lengthy list of rap­tors, but we also have corvids (I have never known so many mag­pies – even in sub­ur­ban ar­eas) and now we have gulls in ar­eas where there once were none, and many of these, like the birds of prey, are to­tally pro­tected.

the list does not end there for we also have cor­morants and in cer­tain ar­eas of our coun­try­side there are se­ri­ous com­plaints about the grow­ing numbers of ravens, which are even form­ing packs and killing young lambs.

When you add this to the four-footed (pro­tected) species, i.e. the pine marten and more fa­mil­iar badger, then surely our lead­ers should awaken to the fact that much of our wildlife is un­der se­ri­ous pres­sure.

I am sure that the folks at DEFRA and Nat­u­ral eng­land, along with our own as­so­ci­a­tion’s lead­ers, are aware that there is a need for man­age­ment con­trol (even of the ‘pro­tected species’) but will not press this fact for fear of up­set­ting cer­tain bod­ies.

As all of us in­volved in coun­try sports know, it is our game­keep­ers, river­keep­ers, ghillies, stalk­ers, farm­ers, foresters etc., who con­trib­ute most and over­see the state of our coun­try­side, so let them man­age it with­out in­ter­fer­ence from bod­ies official and oth­er­wise, who quite of­ten know less about our coun­try­side than those men­tioned above.

In cer­tain con­ti­nen­tal coun­tries like Aus­tria, which has a greater va­ri­ety of birds of prey than we do, they are al­lowed to cull them sen­si­bly if numbers de­mand. We should, as land man­agers, game­keep­ers etc., also be al­lowed to op­er­ate in this man­ner and prob­a­bly would if not for the pres­sure on gov­ern­ment bod­ies from those who have more in­ter­est in stop­ping shoot­ing than con­serv­ing birds.

In­stead of us con­stantly be­ing told about the hen har­rier prob­lems (of which I imag­ine most of us are now thor­oughly fed up) by the rspb, maybe they should think about the ef­fect of all these winged killers, i.e. the spar­rowhawk, buz­zard, crow, mag­pie etc. are hav­ing on our song­bird pop­u­la­tion.

We could go on, but suf­fice to say that our gov­ern­ing bod­ies should be­gin to be more pos­i­tive about what we legally do, and, if the an­tis don’t like it – tough!

Let’s be more pos­i­tive and proud of what we do, for gen­er­ally our wildlife is in bet­ter shape on land man­aged for shoot­ing than land that is not.

Colin Saun­ders west mid­lands

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