Wednesday, 30 April 2014

SGA SPORTING CLAY SHOOT FOR CONSERVATION AND EDUCATION



On Sunday 8th June, an SGA 50 bird sporting clay shoot plus barbecue and auction is to be held in aid of conservation and education.
Entries are now being taken for teams of 4 but individuals entering will be teamed on the day. There will be prizes for best individuals and teams.
To enter, contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515. See full details on the poster above.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

SNARING COURSE AVAILABLE

The SGA has a snaring course available for May on its Jobs, Courses and New Laws page. See the details here: http://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/jobs-courses-and-new-laws/courses-available.html

Friday, 25 April 2014

STATEMENT: MISSING SEA EAGLE, ABERDEENSHIRE

Scottish Gamekeepers Association statement: Missing Sea Eagle, Aberdeenshire.

A Spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “The case of the missing sea eagle in the North East is currently under live investigation. There is very little known about the bird or the case at present so we await the outcome of the Police Scotland investigation.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014

BANCHORY SGA DINNER AND DANCE (AUCTION LOTS)


SCOTTISH GAMEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION

DINNER AND DANCE 3RD MAY 2014
BURNETT ARMS HOTEL, BANCHORY
TICKETS £20 PER PERSON

Mini Silent Auction

The Auction will close at 10 pm on Saturday 3rd May

LOT 1        SINGLE ROD ON THE 13TH SEPTEMBER 2014
        River Dee – Lower Crathes beat

LOT 2        ONE GUN ONE DAY STAG STALKING – date to be arranged
        Glendye Hill, Banchory

LOT 3        SINGLE ROD ONE DAY BETWEEN 4TH AND 8TH AUGUST 2014
        River Dee – Woodend beat

LOT 4        ONE GUN ONE DAY HIND STALKING – date to be arranged
        Glendye Hill, Banchory

LOT 5        TWO RODS ONE DAY BETWEEN 5th and 7th AUGUST 2014
        River Dee - Dinnet Beat

To buy tickets for the dance and to place a bid please email audreydykes@btinternet.com or telephone 01330 850342. State which lot you wish to bid on and how much you want to bid. Please also leave your name and contact details.

The successful bidder must make full payment within 48 hours or the lot will be awarded to the next highest bidder.

EASTER OFFICE CLOSURE

The SGA office will be closed tomorrow (18th) and Monday (21st) for the Easter break. We will be back on Tuesday 22nd. Wishing all our members and supporters a very Happy Easter.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

STATEMENT: POLICE INVESTIGATIONS IN CONON BRIDGE

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association hope Police Scotland can bring the investigation into the deaths of Red Kites and Buzzards in Conon Bridge, Ross-shire, to a successful conclusion.
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: "We are pleased to see the Police investigations into this alarming and worrying incident in Ross-shire have moved on a stage and are hopeful they get any additional support they require to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.
"We continue to urge anyone who knows anything about this to put themselves forward and speak to those dealing with it, on the ground.
"It is obviously imperative that justice prevails here and that the appropriate punishment for this offence is applied."

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

GAMEKEEPERS WELCOME TAIL DOCKING RESEARCH PUBLICATION


 The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has welcomed the publication of research on tail injuries in working dogs in Scotland and hopes this evidence will pave the way for a change to the law.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The Scottish Gamekeepers Association welcomes the publication of the research from Glasgow University on tail injuries sustained by working gundogs and terriers in Scotland.
“This research has been a long time in coming but provides a sound evidential basis from which to approach a change to the legislation regarding tail docking in working dogs in Scotland.
“That fact that 56.6 per cent of undocked spaniels and 38.5 per cent of undocked Hunt Point Retrievers sustained at least one tail injury in one working season alone suggests, as the research concludes, that docking by one third would significantly decrease the risk of tail injury.
“As from the outset, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association will continue to work towards legislative amendment based on the interests of animal welfare.
“We look forward now to submitting our response to the research findings in the hope that the correct action will be taken by Scottish Government to better the welfare of working dogs in Scotland.
"We thank the Scottish Government for commissioning the research."

In February 2014, The Scottish Gamekeepers Association presented a petition to Holyrood, signed by 4158 people, calling for an end to the ban on the docking of working dogs’ tails.

To see the research findings, click: http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/27/vr.102041
http://press.psprings.co.uk/VR/april/vr102042.pdf

CLARIFICATION: MEDIA REPORTS ON ACCESS AND WILDLIFE

Reports in some media this morning (April 8th) regarding SGA Chairman Alex Hogg advocating ‘closing Scotland’s mountains to walkers’ have been presented in such a way as to pitch countryside stakeholders against each other rather than examine the very reasonable ecological concerns the original remarks touched upon.
Within the proper context of a general debate on wild land in Scotland, in which access was amongst a number of topics, Mr. Hogg simply asked a question of whether it may be a possible solution on some mountains, for a short period, to close selected areas where wildlife was struggling to co-exist?
The clear interest for wildlife, which was being expressed, has been lost in the concern to portray a game management versus walkers row which, in reality, is not the issue.
The SGA would happily speak to other countryside groups to come to the right decisions on what is best for countryside users and wildlife and, indeed, the SGA played an active role, with other stakeholders, in establishing the access code in the beginning.
Responsible access is something the SGA supports. However, if there was a clear ecological reason to suggest that some restricted access for a short period, on a particular area, would benefit wildlife suffering problems because of that increased access, then surely this would be in the interest of all to look at this.
There has been research undertaken, for example, which shows the negative correlation between access and the breeding success of endangered Capercaillie in a core territory.
The SGA feel that this legitimate concern has been missed by some reports and wishes to refer people to the original blog and the context within which it was written.

http://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/news/chairmans-blog.html

Friday, 4 April 2014

SGA RECEIVES FIRST WADER COUNTS


The SGA office was very pleased to receive its first Wader counts of 2014 this morning (April 4th) as we look to assemble an accurate picture of upland wading birds in areas managed for grouse and other species.
Thankfully, the initial results were positive with a strong presence of breeding pairs of curlew, in particular, on this piece of ground.
Please encourage other keepers to take part in this important conservation project as we establish a base-line in order to help threatened wading birds.
The SGA appreciates this work is undertaken willingly and as part of the job of work of skilled, responsible gamekeepers across Scotland’s uplands.
The project also received recognition this morning by World Migratory Bird Day, a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

YEAR OF THE WADER COUNTS: HOW TO TAKE PART


The SGA is calling on all keepers on grouse moors to take part in our biggest ever conservation project- the SGA Year of the Wader. (see full details in previous post on web site).

How People Can Take Part:

Recording Presence and Recording Abundance.

Presence:

1/ Locate a decent sized Ordnance Survey map of your ground area. Squares should represent 1km square. These pink land ranger maps can be purchased at most walking/tourist information outlets.
2/The waders in this study are Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover.
When waders arrive on you ground, if you see a breeding PAIR in one of the 1km square boxes, mark either C for Curlew, L for Lapwing or P for Golden Plover in that box.
3/ If there is one pair of Curlew or 8 pairs in that box, only mark ‘C’ once. The key thing is to mark PRESENCE.
4/ Once you have recorded, and the waders are preparing to move on, send the information to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk marked “SGA Year of the Wader COUNTS’. Detail also how many gamekeepers work on your ground area and the name and size of your estate. (Estate names will be kept confidential).

Abundance:

If you have time, the SGA would gratefully receive data on Abundance.
1/ Take 2 of the 1km square boxes on your map, one where the number of breeding waders is highest and one where they are lowest. This will enable an average to be taken.
2/Divide each square kilometre box into 4 and spend 20/30 minutes in each quarter, recording everything seen.
3/Do this once in both squares, just before the eggs are hatched (likely to be around May) and once again in late June/July so you can see the numbers of fledged chicks.
4/Record all the information and send it to the SGA, as detailed in point 4 (above).


Notes on Waders in the Project:

Curlew are an Amber-listed species of conservation concern in the UK but their wider decline across their global range means their IUCN status is near threatened.
RSPB states: In some upland areas, the control of foxes and crows by gamekeepers managing moorlands for red grouse shooting may be important in maintaining breeding curlew populations and preventing further declines.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/c/curlew/conservation.aspx

Northern Lapwing are a Red-listed conservation species because of recent breeding population declines in the UK (1981 to 2007).

Golden Plover are an Amber-listed species of conservation concern

* To find out more about game management and Curlew survival, read: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12167/pdf

GAMEKEEPERS ANNOUNCE BIGGEST EVER CONSERVATION PROJECT


Scotland’s gamekeepers will this week commence their biggest ever conservation project aimed at halting the decline of the nation’s vulnerable wading birds.
This year is the Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s Year of the Wader and gamekeepers on all grouse moors are getting ready to step up for nature.
Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover are frequent summer visitors to heather moorland breeding grounds managed by gamekeepers.
Scientific studies by Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) showed that waders breed up to three times more successfully on grouse moors, benefiting from legal predator control and habitat management of the staff.
However, across Scotland as a whole 56 per cent of Curlew and Lapwing have disappeared in 17 years, with Golden Plover dipping 18 per cent.
A 2014 report in Journal of Applied Ecology* states predation is a likely mechanism in the falls, alongside habitat change, and SNH is backing predation research through Scotland’s Moorland Forum.
Officials at the SGA are now asking all grouse keepers to note the numbers of the endangered birds as they go about their daily work.
They hope that the data will provide answers as to how conservation work to preserve the birds could be targeted effectively across Scotland.
“Gamekeepers, through their management, have provided the conditions to conserve waders for countless years, at no cost other than their own efforts and care as they go about their daily work.
“However, even on grouse moors, there is a concern at the declines and that is why we are doing this now,” said SGA Chairman Alex Hogg.
“What we are asking grouse keepers to do is to help us build a detailed map of breeding waders on their ground and create a baseline for future years.
“The birds are coming back now from their wintering grounds so we want people to record the presence of breeding pairs as accurately as they can.
“For those that are really keen or have the time, we would also like to record abundance with surveys just before eggs are hatched around May and again in late June/July when the numbers of fledged chicks can be noted.”
The call and trill of the Curlew and ‘peewit’ sound of the Lapwing are familiar on Scottish moors and gamekeepers are keen that this continues into the coming years.
They have sought guidance from GWCT on how best to gather the data and will be publishing information to encourage as much engagement as possible.
“Gamekeepers might be active in managing in a way that helps produce wildlife but, due to lack of time or working remotely, are not always the best at recording it.
“Whilst the principal aim here is to help wading birds, we also hope an off-shoot of this project is that it encourages gamekeepers to get into the habit of noting the wildlife on their ground so we can establish an accurate picture of biodiversity on managed moorland,” added SGA Chairman Alex Hogg.
Acclaimed wildlife photographer Peter Cairns believes it is important for wildlife managers to participate in frontline conservation.
He said: “It’s exciting to see SGA encouraging its members to get involved in wader conservation. The amount of ground covered by keepers across Scotland makes them ideally placed to monitor breeding success and to that end, keepers represent a valuable, if largely untapped, conservation resource.
“For too long wildlife management has been a battleground for conflicting conservation interests so this initiative sends out a strong intent on the part of SGA to mobilise their members to demonstrate the massive potential for biodiversity on the ground they manage.”
Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said: “I welcome the Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s Year of the Wader conservation project, which will see grouse keepers helping to monitoring the population of waders in Scotland.
“I hope this and other similar work being done to conserve wading birds can inform us of the conservation work required to halt the decline of these important species which can be affected by predation of eggs, for example by foxes or crows, or arising from impacts on habitats either through climate change or the influences of changes in land use”.


The Project Parameters: How People Can Take Part
Recording Presence and Recording Abundance.

Presence:

1/ Locate a decent sized Ordnance Survey map of your ground area. Squares should represent 1km square. These pink land ranger maps can be purchased at most walking/tourist information outlets.
2/The waders in this study are Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover.
When waders arrive on you ground, if you see a breeding PAIR in one of the 1km square boxes, mark either C for Curlew, L for Lapwing or P for Golden Plover in that box.
3/ If there is one pair of Curlew or 8 pairs in that box, only mark ‘C’ once. The key thing is to mark PRESENCE.
4/ Once you have recorded, and the waders are preparing to move on, send the information to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk marked “SGA Year of the Wader COUNTS’. Detail also how many gamekeepers work on your ground area and the name and size of your estate. (Estate names will be kept confidential).

Abundance:

If you have time, the SGA would gratefully receive data on Abundance.
1/ Take 2 of the 1km square boxes on your map, one where the number of breeding waders is highest and one where they are lowest. This will enable an average to be taken.
2/Divide each square kilometre box into 4 and spend 20/30 minutes in each quarter, recording everything seen.
3/Do this once in both squares, just before the eggs are hatched (likely to be around May) and once again in late June/July so you can see the numbers of fledged chicks.
4/Record all the information and send it to the SGA, as detailed in point 4 (above).


Notes on Waders in the Project:

Curlew are an Amber-listed species of conservation concern in the UK but their wider decline across their global range means their IUCN status is near threatened.
RSPB states: In some upland areas, the control of foxes and crows by gamekeepers managing moorlands for red grouse shooting may be important in maintaining breeding curlew populations and preventing further declines.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/c/curlew/conservation.aspx

Northern Lapwing are a Red-listed conservation species because of recent breeding population declines in the UK (1981 to 2007).

Golden Plover are an Amber-listed species of conservation concern

* To find out more about game management and Curlew survival, read: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12167/pdf





Tuesday, 1 April 2014

SILENT AUCTION DEADLINE EXTENDED



The deadline for the submission of lots to the 2014 SGA Silent Auction has been extended to 11th April 2014.

If you wish to offer a lot for this vital annual SGA fundraiser, please contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515 or email info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, as a partner in PAW Scotland, has been invited by the Scottish Government to submit a response to the consultation issued this week on Wildlife Crime Investigative Powers for SSPCA Inspectors.

This is a public consultation so anyone with views on this issue should make their response by 1st September 2014.

To find out more details and background, see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/03/1374