Tuesday, 27 January 2015

GENERAL LICENCE TRAPPING PROJECT- VOLUNTEERS RE-ASSURED

The SGA wishes to pass on the following information regarding the General Licence Trapping Project being undertaken to demonstrate the effectiveness of corvid traps for predator control.

General Licence Trap use: Update on Trapping Project

At the request of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) have been working to establish where and how corvid traps are currently used in Scotland. Last year, the GWCT sent a questionnaire to all registered trap users covered by General Licences in Scotland. Now SASA is asking volunteers to keep simple records of their trap catches through this year, and to allow SASA staff to remotely monitor trap activity using trail cameras for a short period of that time.

Keeping records for this project requires minimal time and effort and can be done in a variety of ways including booklets, spreadsheets or a mobile app. All data collected will be analysed anonymously, so trap users can rest assured that their name will not be used in any analysis or publications. It is essential that these results are robust and cannot be discredited. To validate users’ records we use trail cameras, set to take one photograph every hour for short periods at individual trap sites. These cameras will be used for collection of data, and not for policing trap users. Cameras will be set only with the explicit permission of the trap user, and photographs will not be published or given to a third party without their permission.

The recent sentencing of George Mutch of the Kildrummy Estate for misuse of a corvid trap has caused a lot of discussion around this project, with some concerns being raised. SASA and the GWCT wish to reassure anyone that participating in this project carries no personal risks.  On the contrary, this project is designed to show how legitimate trap users undertake this activity.  We wish to ensure these traps can be used efficiently and effectively, without risks to trap operators. This project is crucial to safeguard the lawful use of corvid traps.

It is vital that the use of corvid traps is justified by sound evidence. This is our best – and possibly only - opportunity to collect information that is impartial, detailed, and independently verified. Please don’t let high profile cases of trap misuse cast a shadow over normal trap use. By participating in this research you will help improve the understanding of corvid trapping as a legitimate wildlife management practice. Using your experience and knowledge as practitioners, we will gather information that better informs and justifies licensed activities. It is critical to the success of this work that as many trap users as possible participate in collecting trap records, and with the use of cameras.

If you are willing to participate in the project, or have any questions, please contact Seonaidh (Shona) Jamieson (seonaidh.jamieson@sasa.gsi.gov.uk; 0131 244 8889). You do not need to have filled out the earlier questionnaire to participate.


This study has the support of numerous countryside and fieldsports organisations, including the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS), the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA), Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS). All are joining us in encouraging participation from their members and supporters.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

MEMBERS REMINDER: PHEASANT SEASON CLOSURE

A reminder for all members: The Pheasant season officially closes on 1st February, 2015, which is a Sunday this year. Despite the loss of the season's final sporting day, and any disappointment this may cause, please note that there will be no pheasant shooting on Monday February 2nd, 2015.



2015 SCOTTISH GAMEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION AGM


The 2015 Scottish Gamekeepers Association AGM will be held at Perth Racecourse on Friday 6th March, 2015.
Members please put the date in the diary. We hope to see as many of you as possible after another bumper turn-out in Inverness in 2014.
Registration, with tea, coffee and bacon rolls, will begin at 9am, with SGA Chairman Alex Hogg opening the meeting at 10am.
We will be keeping you up to date on the speaker programme as arrangements and timetables are confirmed.
There will be a range of speakers covering a wide variety of management topics which affect our members’ daily work.
We will also be announcing our theme for 2015 following the very successful SGA Year of the Wader, 2014; our first ever nationwide conservation effort.

Monday, 12 January 2015

SGA STATEMENT ON GAMEKEEPER COURT CASE

STATEMENT ON GAMEKEEPER COURT CASE:

A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “The SGA has taken the ultimate sanction available to it, as an organisation. Mr Mutch will no longer hold SGA membership.
The court has made its decision and Mr Mutch will now have to live with the consequences of his actions. 
On the wider general issue of wildlife crime in Scotland, there are many organisations united in ending wildlife crime, ourselves included, although some some would like to achieve that same worthy goal in different ways.
While committed to ending wildlife crime, the SGA hopes one day to see an enlightened approach where criminal sentences are part of a package which also includes empowering people with legal tools and alternatives to deal with  conflicts which can affect both their businesses and wider conservation. Only the most blinkered will fail to grasp that new adaptive measures to tackle conflicts are sorely needed, to meet modern realities.
Currently the SGA feels this part of the package is lacking and there are insufficient legal tools available to people experiencing genuine conflicts; people who want to resolve them in a scientific manner which balances both economics and conservation.
As an organisation, the SGA will continue to campaign for these legal alternatives to be made available so that wildlife crime can be tackled at its root and can therefore be ended in Scotland.”





KEEPERS' DAYS: WHY NOT HELP THE SGA?


Do you have a keeper's day coming up at your estate/shoot? Donating a gun, setting up a sweepstake, holding a raffle or organising a collection can help the SGA with vital funds, enabling us to help all our members.
As an organisation, we are alway grateful to the many people who assist us with fundraising and donations. Thanks for your support and keep up the good work.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

OFFICE MOVE


After 7 years at its present address, the SGA will officially be moving its HQ next Tuesday (13th January) from Arran Business Centre, Arran Road, Perth to Inveralmond Business Centre in Perth.
The new ground floor office accommodation is spacious, boasts good access and parking as well as high speed broadband.
Whilst the change-over is happening on Tuesday morning, members should be aware there may be some 'down-time'  for calls and emails as phones and computer systems are set up.
It is hoped all systems will be fully functional again by Tuesday afternoon but, if anyone has an urgent inquiry, we recommend contacting the office on Monday (12th).
Phone numbers and email addresses will be the same as before but the new business address will be:

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association. Inveralmond Business Centre. 6 Auld Bond Road, South Inveralmond, Perth, PH1 3FX.