Let’s step up and take re­spon­si­bil­ity

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - LETTERS -

I re­cently found a copy of Shoot­ing Times and read the news item about hen har­ri­ers (Grouse moors’ key role in hen har­rier suc­cess, 8 Au­gust 2018). It prompted me to pon­der — in view of sub­se­quent and some­what less pos­i­tive news re­gard­ing the for­tunes of the hen har­rier — whether the con­tin­u­ing doc­u­mented deaths and dis­ap­pear­ances at man­aged grouse moors are ac­corded sim­i­lar promi­nence in your mag­a­zine. Not to men­tion the re­cent sorry episode in­volv­ing two short-eared owls at Wh­ern­side.

It is cer­tainly laud­able if the man­age­ment of grouse moors does in fact lead to in­creased hen har­rier breed­ing suc­cess. But this ef­fort is squan­dered if the fledglings never reach ma­tu­rity and vi­able adults “dis­ap­pear”, hav­ing been shot, poi­soned or trapped.

While the im­pres­sion given is that the shoot­ing fra­ter­nity feel that they are un­fairly as­so­ci­ated with much rap­tor per­se­cu­tion, I be­lieve that your mag­a­zine has a re­spon­si­bil­ity and a role to play in chang­ing ideas. If such fail­ures and wrong­do­ings were to be high­lighted to the same de­gree, it might re­sult in the even­tual shoul­der­ing of a greater col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity, to the ben­e­fit of all.

G. Hardy, Cheshire

The Ed­i­tor re­sponds: Rap­tor per­se­cu­tion is one of the big­gest threats to shoot­ing, which is why in these pages, on so­cial me­dia, and in the main­stream press, this mag­a­zine has railed against it. There was a time when young keep­ers on some es­tates were ex­ploita­tively ex­pected to com­mit acts of crim­i­nal­ity as part of their jobs. This was done in pur­suit of big­ger bags and greater prof­its — no­body should be al­lowed to profit in the short term to the detri­ment of field­sports in the long term. Those days are thank­fully al­most en­tirely gone but any­where where such a cul­ture per­sists should be given the cold shoul­der by the shoot­ing com­mu­nity.

I have re­ported wildlife crime in the past and would urge all read­ers of this mag­a­zine to do so. Li­cences for con­trol­ling preda­tors are de­sir­able in some places, but the ease with which such li­cences are ob­tained is cur­rently hin­dered by the ac­tions of the law­less few.

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