Friday, 29 May 2015

SGA SEEKS FAIRNESS OVER PUBLIC TRAP DAMAGE

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has called for greater parity in the law, with vandalism of legal predator control traps in Scotland’s countryside becoming more frequent.
Gamekeepers, farmers and conservationists use legal traps to control abundant predators, with cages being used successfully recently for live-trapping grey squirrels to protect native reds.
Gamekeepers undergo training to set devices under licence to control abundant pests, protecting game and wildlife, and can face fines, loss of employment or even jail if devices are set unlawfully.
Poor trapping practice can increase the possibility of non-target species being caught, such as birds of prey, and farms and estates can receive hefty financial penalties.
However, gamekeepers are reporting worrying cases of damage and interference to these devices by members of the public accessing the countryside for dog walking or recreation.
Not only are there consequences for conservation, if a protected species became trapped or harmed in a damaged trap, the full repercussions would be shouldered by the gamekeeper- a breach of justice.
Despite providing evidence, gamekeepers say Police Scotland are reticent to act because, unlike strict provisions governing trap use, offences for the public damaging or interfering with traps are vague.
The SGA, which represents 5300 members, has sought clarification from Police Scotland on their procedures for dealing with such crimes, in a letter.
Their action comes after an individual was captured on a trail camera by a farmer, allegedly releasing birds from a trap and re-setting it, despite not being authorised.
Although the trap would then have been in contravention of the law, no action was taken.
A Scottish Government funded study into trap damage is expected to be published shortly.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “If someone can potentially have the ability to do their job taken away by the actions of someone else tampering with legal property, that is clearly wrong and the anomaly has to be levelled out in law.
“Whether it is one case, ten or fifty, there needs to be a clear offence to deal with this, or better use of powers available, just as there are robust offences for breaches by trap operators. Responsible access has to be about mutual fairness.”
He added: “It is everyone’s right to have an opinion on the game or farming industries but these tools allow people to do their jobs, are approved under licence from SNH, and help a variety of species, some of which are in conservation danger.
“Without traps, it would be harder for gamekeepers, for example, to look after such healthy numbers of endangered Curlew and Lapwing as well as game.
“The conservation consequences of public interference is partly about better education. However, misguided actions can also land innocent people in serious trouble and this must be reflected in how these incidents are dealt with.”
In July 2014, a gamekeeper in Perthshire spoke of an 18 month ordeal after SSPCA reported him for allegedly setting an illegal crow cage on a hillside.
Mike Reddington, whose job and family home were under threat, saw the case dropped by the Procurator Fiscal the night before trial, abetted by the production of three years of photographs of trap damage by members of the public.

*
Why Predator Control is Necessary: To find out how legal predator control by gamekeepers benefits endangered non-game species, such as wading birds, see: http://www.gwct.org.uk/research/species/birds/lapwing-and-other-waders/predator-control-and-moorland-birds/

Summary: Scientific studies by Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) at Otterburn over 9 years showed that waders breed up to three times more successfully on grouse moors, benefiting from legal predator control and habitat management by gamekeepers.

RSPB pilot study research in 2010 on wader chick survival shows the impact of predators on waders :http://www.rspb.org.uk/forprofessionals/science/research/projects/268744-who-are-the-predators-of-the-chicks-of-breeding-waders

Summary: A 2010/2011 RSPB pilot study, using radio tags, showed that 46 of 51 radio tagged chicks were predated. (90 per cent).

Thursday, 28 May 2015

PESTICIDE DISPOSAL SCHEME DEADLINE

Notification from Scottish Government regarding the Pesticide Disposal Scheme, which closes tomorrow (Friday 29th May, 2015).

Pesticides Disposal Scheme – deadline for new requests this Friday

The phone line for the Scottish Pesticides Disposal Scheme, giving people the opportunity to dispose of certain banned pesticides safely and confidentially, will close this Friday 29th May at 4.30pm. This deadline is only for new calls, and all legitimate requests previously made, or received by phone or voicemail before the deadline, will still be fulfilled. However, due to high demand, it may take several weeks for the remaining collections to be arranged and carried out. 

Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said:

“There has been a lot of interest in this pesticides disposal scheme, which has helped to remove a large quantity of dangerous poisons from Scotland’s environment over the last few months. Those who have already made a request through the scheme do not need to phone the operator again, as any outstanding collections will be carried out in the coming weeks. I would urge anyone else who has these banned poisons in their possession, for whatever reason, to phone the scheme operator on 0131 472 4187 without delay and arrange to have them safely disposed of.”

Full details of pesticides accepted through the scheme are available on the PAW Scotland website atwww.PAW.Scotland.gov.uk

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

SUBMIT NOMINATIONS NOW FOR YOUNG GAMEKEEPER OF THE YEAR 2015


The last winner of the SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award, Greg Sinclair.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is delighted to announce it is seeking nominations for the 2015 SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award, part of its Year of The Rural Worker programme.
The prize recognises individuals whose passion and work, in line with best practice and responsible management, make them ambassadors for their chosen profession in Scotland. 
This year's award is open to young gamekeepers, stalkers, river or land ghillies, wildlife managers and rangers in the early stages of a career and individuals may be nominated by estates, senior staff, shoot operators or college lecturers.
Youngsters who have excelled on work placement as part of their college education can also be nominated.
The winner will be selected following informal interviews of short-listed candidates, and the presentation of a cheque will be made at the 26th GWCT Scottish Game Fair at Scone on Friday July 3rd, 2015.
Winning the SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award is a significant career endorsement by an organisation representing over 5300 members across Scotland.
A Parliamentary motion commending the last winner, Greg Sinclair, and the important contribution made to Scotland by responsible wildlife managers, was signed by MSPs across the political spectrum at Holyrood.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: "We have altered the timescale of the 2015 award because we wanted the work of young people in our profession to be recognised more widely, hence the decision to announce the winner at this year's Scottish Game Fair.
"These young men and women represent the future of an industry worth £200 million* a year to Scotland. However, their sheer hard work, often during un-sociable hours and in all conditions, helps to ensure Scotland can support a wildlife tourism product worth a further £65 million per annum.
"This is no insignificant sum. Similarly, the proven benefits for a broad range of species from Curlew to red squirrels and freshwater pearl mussels are delivered at no cost to the public purse.
"Not only is it vital to have new entrants with the right passion and skill, it is also important to recognise all those who create relevant opportunities for young people in our less populated and remote areas. These jobs help to keep rural communities alive and families working in them."
Candidates being nominated will be scored on their passion for good management, their adherence to best practice and the law, a willingness to learn and adapt and an understanding of why responsible management brings benefits in the public interest.
Nominations must be received by the closing date of June 17th 2015 and should be sent to the SGA office or emailed to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

Source: http://shootingfacts.co.uk/pdf/The-Value-of-Shooting-2014.pdf

Thursday, 21 May 2015

GAMEKEEPERS RESPONSE TO BUZZARD CASE

Responding to the sentencing of a former gamekeeper, who used an illegal gin trap to catch a buzzard, Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “This is the first we have heard about this case but, as an organisation, we are appalled. These actions have no place in modern gamekeeping and show ignorance of the legal requirements which are involved in being in the profession. They are an affront to all those who advocate high standards and take their responsibilities seriously and with care."

Monday, 18 May 2015

SWAROVSKI OPEN DAY IN CAWDOR- TRY BEFORE YOU BUY


A valued SGA Commercial partner, Swarovski Optik, along with Blaser Rifles is hosting an open 'try before you buy' day on Sunday 14th June 2015 at Cawdor Rifle and Gun Club, Cawdor, Nairn (there will be signage from Cawdor Village).
Swarovski very kindly donated the SGA binoculars at this year's AGM at Perth Racecourse, won by Scott Bremner.
Members and supporters will be able to test Swarovski Optik Riflescopes mounted on Blaser Rifles. The will include the new X5I Long Range Specialist and attendees can shoot at targets from 300m and 475m.

Places are limited so please contact PAUL INNES AT SWAROVSKI OPTIK on 07808 – 642522 or Email: paul.innes@swarovskioptik.co.uk to secure a place. There will be 2 sessions during the day. 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm.



SGA LAND REFORM RESPONSE NOW AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS


The Scottish Gamekeepers Association's response to the Scottish Government's Land Reform consultation was published following analysis, on Friday May 15th 2015.
Members and all those with an interest in the future of Scotland's land can now read the full response by clicking on the following link: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/land-reform-and-tenancy-unit/land-reform-scotland/consultation/view_respondent?uuId=827760873

Since responses were submitted, SGA Chairman Alex Hogg has met with Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod and held constructive talks regarding members' job concerns.
The SGA has been assured by Ministers that its input will be sought regarding the safeguarding of jobs during the passage of the Bill and we look forward to engaging with Ministers on behalf of rural workers.

Friday, 15 May 2015

PLEASE RESPOND: NEW WILD FISHERIES REVIEW CONSULTATION

Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has today announced the next substantive phase of the Scottish Government's reform of wild fisheries. The SGA Fishing Group, which is also a part of the stakeholder group, will be responding in full ahead of the August 7th deadline.
We ask that individual members and all those with an interest in the future of our wild fisheries in Scotland take the time to make a full response.
You can make a start by clicking on the link here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform

SGA LAND REFORM RESPONSE


Commenting on news that the analysis of land reform consultation responses showed that 71 per cent of respondents agreed with proposals to remove exemptions from business rates for shooting and deer stalking, Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said:  

“The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has maintained from day one that, unless Scottish Government treads warily with the removal of exemptions from business rates for shooting and deer stalking, it could put working people on the dole on shoots with marginal profit and there are many of these across the country.
“We have held constructive talks with Environment Minister Aileen McLeod about concerns we have for our members and she understands great care must be taken to ensure these vital jobs are safeguarded in fragile communities.

“We will continue to engage with Scottish Government over how this is to be achieved, in terms of the detail and how the rating system will work to alleviate job loss. Our members, and the communities of which they are a key part, would expect nothing less of us as an organisation.”




Monday, 11 May 2015

OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE AT THE SGA.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has a position available at the organisation's base in Perth for a full-time office manager/administrator.
Do you relish an interesting and challenging job, where two days are never the same? Are you enthusiastic, self motivated and reliable?
Applicants should have office management experience and be computer literate, although teaching will be given for the office's bespoke system. Good communications skills are essential. All accountancy is done externally.
There will also be a requirement to work every 6th Sunday to cover SGA Committee Meetings.

If you are interested in this position, please contact the SGA office, with CV and cover letter, to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

Terms and conditions available on application.

Closing Date for applications is: Monday 1st June, 2015.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

THE SGA CLAY SHOOT, 2015


Organisers are delighted to announce details of the 2015 SGA Clay Shoot at Findrack Estate, which promises to be another excellent day for competitors and a welcome source of funds for the SGA.
The event will take place on Sunday 12th July 2015 at 10am- 3pm. The venue is Findrack Estate, Torphins, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, AB31 4LJ.
The shoot will comprise: 50 Bird Sporting, 25 DTL, 5 Pin re-entry, 2 man flush.
To book a place or for more details contact Steve Harmson on 07919 864 510. Please note, all helpers, sponsors and raffle prizes will be welcomed.