Shoot con­ser­va­tion

The GWCT has launched a new book packed with sci­ence-based ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion that is vi­tal read­ing for any­one run­ning or at­tend­ing shoots, writes Joel Holt

Sporting Shooter - - Contents - WITH JOEL HOLT

The GWCT has launched a new book to in­crease un­der­stand­ing of shoot con­ser­va­tion and to raise stan­dards by in­creas­ing aware­ness of Guns’ le­gal and eth­i­cal obli­ga­tions, in­clud­ing tack­ling some of the most con­tro­ver­sial is­sues af­fect­ing shooting to­day. The Knowl­edge: Ev­ery Gun’s Guide to Con­ser­va­tion is aimed at sea­soned Guns as well as those new to shooting. Equally, it will be of value to con­ser­va­tion­ists or peo­ple keen to learn more about how the Bri­tish coun­try­side is man­aged.

The 200-page book draws on more than 150 sci­en­tific publi­ca­tions to pro­vide a de­tailed in­tro­duc­tion to the prin­ci­ple quarry species, man­age­ment of habi­tat and predators and the law re­lat­ing to a shoot day. It in­cludes in­for­ma­tion on the use of lead shot, med­i­ca­tion in game rear­ing, health and safety, game han­dling and se­cu­rity.

The book is pro­duced in an ac­ces­si­ble, ques­tion-and-an­swer style in line with re­cent GWCT publi­ca­tions, such as The Moor­land Bal­ance. The new book gives read­ers the key ques­tions to ask their own shoots or those they are vis­it­ing or buy­ing a day from, as well as answers to ques­tions such as:

How do you de­fine a ‘wild’ pheas­ant? Why are grey par­tridges on the quarry list when they are in na­tional de­cline?

Do big shoots do more en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age than small ones?

What does pre­da­tion man­age­ment con­trib­ute to con­ser­va­tion? What UK habi­tats do wood­cock pre­fer? What con­ser­va­tion mea­sures should Guns look out for on a shoot day?

The GWCT’s first ‘plain English’ book on con­ver­sa­tion for Guns has been writ­ten by re­search spe­cial­ist Jen­nifer Brewin and Joe Dim­bleby, the for­mer edi­tor of Shooting Times.

Joe Dim­bleby said: “By read­ing this book, Guns will gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing about the coun­try­side and the con­tri­bu­tion made by shooting. We hope they will be bet­ter able to recog­nise and value the con­ser­va­tion mea­sures that come with good shoot man­age­ment, and know which other wildlife species can ben­e­fit.

“It of­fers an in­sight into what goes on out­side of a shoot day, as well as the pos­si­ble ef­fects of shoots not ad­her­ing to the re­quired stan­dards.”

An­drew Gil­ruth, direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions at GWCT, said: “The book is packed with facts from our sci­en­tific stud­ies about how the con­ser­va­tion el­e­ments of a shoot work. We are also of­fer­ing those wish­ing to go fur­ther and con­firm their knowl­edge an op­por­tu­nity to un­der­take an on­line assess­ment, com­plete with cer­tifi­cate, which will be launch­ing soon.

“We are do­ing all this be­cause the GWCT un­der­stands that prop­erly con­ducted game shooting has a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive im­pact on both con­ser­va­tion and the ru­ral econ­omy, and more knowl­edge among Guns can help it stay that way.”

The direc­tor of re­search, ad­vi­sory and ed­u­ca­tion at the GWCT, Pro­fes­sor Nick Sother­ton, wrote the fore­word, stress­ing: “It’s vi­tal that a bal­anced case is made for game bird man­age­ment. Some no­table, high-pro­file opin­ions pub­lished re­cently have lacked this bal­ance. As an ev­i­dence-based re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion, the GWCT would seek to put this right”.

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