Friday, 31 July 2015

NOMINATIONS CLOSED FOR RONNIE ROSE AWARD

The SGA would like to thank all those who have nominated individuals for the inaugural Ronnie Rose award. A number of high quality submissions have been received and the Committee will be working through the nomination short-list on Sunday ahead of informal interviews and an announcement at Moy Highland Field Sports Fair next Friday (Aug 7th, 2015).
"The response has been great and there will be a lot of debate and discussion required before we finalise the short-list and the overall winner is selected," said SGA Chairman, Alex Hogg.
"The office is very busy just now preparing for Moy and we hope to see as many members and supporters as possible at our stand over the two days. As well as the award announcement, there will be lots of information boards and infographics on our Year of the Rural Worker programme; with the award forming another part of that.
"There will be Committee members and staff on-site to answer any member questions and to renew memberships or process new ones. We look forward to seeing you all and hope the Scottish summer finally arrives in time."

SGA SILENT AUCTION- A BIG THANK YOU


The SGA Silent Auction 2015 is now closed and all at Team SGA have been busy notifying winners this week. The SGA Committee and staff would like to thank all those who donated lots for this year's auction as well as all those who bid for the wonderful and diverse array of sporting and other items.
We hope the winners will enjoy their prizes and can assure all that the funds raised will be used wisely to promote and champion the interests of all SGA members over the months ahead.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

NEW COURSE ALLOWS GAMEKEEPERS TO KEEP USING RODENTICIDES


The SGA is pleased to announce it now has courses available for gamekeepers who wish to undertake the necessary training to enable them to use rodenticides under strict new guidelines.
Our first course - run jointly with GWCT - will be delivered by the SGA's Qualified Trainer and Committee Member, George Macdonald, and will be held on 21st September in Berwickshire (further details below).
We will be running further courses in future, based on numbers.
If you want to attend the course on 21st September, or would like a course on another date, please put your name down by contacting info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk or mailing George Macdonald directly on georgemacdonald1@btinternet.com
We will notify of new course dates on our website, social media, digital newsletter and in the member magazine. Anyone who has a suitable location or venue for a course should get in touch so a course may be organised in their area. Please see media release below:


A new one-day course will allow gamekeepers to go on controlling rats using professional rodenticides after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) deadline of 1 July 2016.
Representative bodies for shooting and gamekeeping have combined with the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) and with BASIS Registration Ltd (BASIS), to offer a new course, Rat Control for Gamekeepers, which will include the necessary certification for successful candidates to go on buying and using professional rodenticides when product authorisations change next year. 
After 1 July 2016, anyone without an appropriate certificate will be restricted to using amateur-pack rodenticides only, or will have to rely on traps, shooting and terriers - unless they have an alternative qualification for using Aluminium Phosphide gas.
The new rodenticide course, jointly owned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Countryside Alliance (CA), Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) and CRRU, will be available from the end of August, giving gamekeepers eleven months in which to attend before the new restrictions come in. It is approved on behalf of the HSE and meets their requirements for best-practice ‘Stewardship’ to reduce the risk of rodenticide residues getting into non-target wildlife.
The one-day courses will be run by BASC, GWCT, the NGO and SGA. Members of any of those organisations, and of the CA, will be entitled to a special members’ cost price of £150 plus VAT, regardless of which organisation is delivering the actual course they attend. Non members will be charged £200 plus VAT wherever they attend. Both fees will cover the training itself, course literature, the exam and - if successful - the issue of a certificate for the purchase and use of professional rodenticides. 
The exam, a one hour multiple choice/true or false test, has been compiled and will be overseen by BASIS. It will either be taken on paper immediately after training finishes, or on-line later, depending on the course attended.
The first dates and venues for the new Rat Control for Gamekeepers course are now being arranged, with the following already available for booking direct with the organisations that are running them:
24 August 2015 Englefield Estate, Berkshire   (Organised by NGO)
1  September Stowell Park, Yarnworth, Gloucestershire (NGO)
15 September Fordingbridge, Hampshire (GWCT)
21 September      Longformacus, Berwickshire                (GWCT Scottish HQ / SGA)

12 October Loddington, Leicestershire (GWCT)

6   November Loddington, Leicestershire (GWCT)

Other courses will be arranged by BASC, GWCT, NGO and SGA in the weeks and months ahead and those interested should keep an eye on their membership publications and the organisations’ websites for details of courses near to them. Remember that you can go on a course run by any one of the training organisations and you will still get the discounted rate provided you are a member of one of the five gamekeeping sector co-owners, including the CA.
“We have worked together to make attending these courses as easy and economical as possible,” said Charles Nodder, adviser to the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, who chaired the gamekeeping sector meetings that put the training together. 
“There is plenty of time for everyone to get qualified before the 1 July 2016 deadline. No-one likes extra bureaucracy but two years ago we were on the brink of losing rat bait altogether. Now we have an excellent course in best practice, put together by the shooting industry for its own people and fully approved on behalf of the HSE. 
“It will give gamekeepers a proof of competence for the use of professional-only anticoagulant rodenticides, both first and second generation products.” Charles went on to thank all the organisations, including CRRU, who had worked so effectively together to make the new course available. 
Glynn Evans, BASC’s Head of Game and Deer Management said: “As part of the stewardship process we have worked together to develop a course which will not only provide the necessary qualification to allow the continued purchase and use of these products but importantly it will help to reduce residues in non-target species, which is what led to calls for rat bait to be banned in the first place”
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance commented: “The work of keepers is a vital part of countryside management. The Countryside Alliance is delighted that this course has been approved and will enable keepers to continue the responsible use of rodenticides, which are an essential tool.”

Some gamekeepers may already have undertaken training for rodenticide use that is compliant with the new rules. Others may prefer to qualify themselves via alternative courses, although Rat Control for Gamekeepers is recommended as the only course specifically developed for the gamekeepers’ needs. A full list of past qualifications that will be valid, and all new courses available, is on the CRRU website (under Press Releases) at http://www.thinkwildlife.org/crru-approved-certifications-for-purchase-and-use-of-professional-rodenticide-products/.

Friday, 17 July 2015

GET YOUR NOMINATIONS IN FOR THE RONNIE ROSE AWARD


Nominations are now open for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s inaugural Ronnie Rose Award, with a special trophy to be presented at Moy Highland Field Sports Fair next month.
The award was set up in memory of the acclaimed Scottish wildlife manager and author from Eskdalemuir in the Scottish Borders.
A new, specially designed trophy will be presented to an individual whose management has made a lasting contribution to conservation, habitat, species management or rural education on river, low ground, hill or forest. 
Having already attracted a number of strong entries, the judging panel expect a tough task in selecting the winner when the nominations officially close on Monday 27th July. 
Ronnie, who sadly passed away at his home in Eskdalemuir last December, was a central figure in the SGA’s development.
A passionate advocate of the work of wildlife managers in enhancing and caring for Scotland’s natural heritage, Ronnie’s pioneering principles of forest design saw him oversee a 300% increase in bird species in the forests of Eskdalemuir.
The award in his name has also been set up as part of the SGA’s Year of the Rural Worker programme which aims to highlight the valuable contribution rural workers in Scotland make to their communities. 
Earlier this month, Inverness-shire youngster Duncan Seaton was announced as the 2015 SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said, “We have already had some strong nominations at our Head Office in Perth which is great. We would like to encourage more before the deadline.
“It is clear that the judging panel are going to have a really difficult job picking the winner, with nominations from all over the country so far.
“Ronnie was a true giant. Wildlife management was his life and many of his ideas are now staples of forestry best practice. 
“The award is open to all those who practice or educate in wildlife management.”
Throughout his 50 year career, Ronnie Rose, whose father and grandfather were both Head Stalkers at Balmoral, received many conservation awards including the Balfour Brown Trophy for Humane and Sustainable Management of Deer. 
He helped establish the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Loch Lomond and his pioneering work for Economic Forestry Group Scotland at Eskdalemuir is a permanent legacy to his stewardship. 
His book Working with Nature: The Conservation and Management of Scottish Wildlife is still widely read and appreciated today.
Individuals nominated for the award, which closes on 27th July, should be experienced practitioners.
Anyone wishing to nominate is being asked to send an email to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk or phone The SGA office on 01738 587515.
Information required is the name of the person nominated and the reasons why they are deserving of the award.
Those making the nominations should also include their own name, relationship to the person, and contact details. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

SGA OFFICE MANAGER IS GAME BIRD OF THE YEAR


SGA Office Manager Sheila Beattie has been crowned Game Bird of the Year 2015 for her “incredible commitment and enthusiasm”.

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust presented Sheila with The Lady Scott Rose Bowl earlier this month at the Scottish Game Fair in Scone.

Rewarded for her extraordinary dedication to Scotland’s gamekeepers, Sheila was also praised for the superb work she has carried out on behalf of the SGA, along with colleague Mo Baillie, during the past five years.

Helen Benson of GWT said, “We are delighted to present Sheila with this award which recognises ladies who go above and beyond the norm to support their gamekeepers. 

“Sheila supports all the gamekeepers in the SGA and has done so with incredible commitment and enthusiasm.  She has become a dear friend to all who know her and is a very special lady."

Helen Benson, GWT Trustee Raymond Holt and SGA Chairman Alex Hogg presented Sheila with her award on Friday 3rd July in The SGA/ GWT tent at the Game Fair along with flowers donated by Game & Country, the main sponsors of the Game Bird Award.

Chairman of the SGA, Alex Hogg, said, “I know that I speak for everyone at the SGA in saying that I am really delighted Sheila has received this recognition.

“She is an inspiration to all of us and it is only through all her diligence and good work that the SGA is on the stable footing it now is.

“Sheila has revolutionised our office, she has struck up a real rapport with members and has developed a great relationship with the staff and everyone at the SGA.

“It is only fitting that she should be recognised for all of that, and for the person she is."

The Game Bird of the Year Award was set up by Lady Scott, a GWT Trustee, to recognise the extensive support of wives/partners/daughters or female friends of gamekeepers across the UK.

Their work on shoots and estates varies widely. Organising refreshments and lunch for shooting parties and beating teams, picking up and beating on shooting days, and helping on the rearing field are all in a day’s unpaid work for many women who help the gamekeeper in their life.

SILENT AUCTION- 8 DAYS UNTIL BIDS CLOSE


There is just over one week until the 2015 SGA Silent Auction closes so it's time to get the bids in for some of our fantastic lots.
As you will have seen from your last member magazine, there are some rare lots in this year's auction and we have also added some late additions recently on the SGA website (please check the news section) including grouse days.
The bidding closes on July 24th so that's 8 days until deadline.
The Silent Auction is a major fundraiser for the SGA and we would like to thank all those who have donated, and bid for, lots this year.

Friday, 3 July 2015

HIGHLAND NEWCOMER IS SGA YOUNG GAMEKEEPER OF THE YEAR 2015

Duncan Seaton receives his prize at Scottish Game Fair by Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod, watched on by SGA Chairman Alex Hogg and Duncan's partner, Jennie McCallum.

A highlander whose first interests were in shepherding and horses has been named the 2015 Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year.
Duncan Seaton (20) from Dores near Inverness was presented with his prize yesterday (fri) at Scottish Game Fair by Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Aileen McLeod, and SGA Chairman Alex Hogg.
The sought-after award recognises modern wildlife managers whose approach brings benefits to Scotland’s diverse flora and fauna and makes them youthful ambassadors for their profession.
Duncan, who has just completed an HNC in Gamekeeping with Wildlife Management at North Highland College UHI, was selected from a final short-list of three.
His experience of a broad range of management, and his work in educating children about responsible gamekeeping, saw him triumph over a very strong field of nominees covering the whole of Scotland’s land, lochs and rivers.
Duncan first became interested in land management when helping out his father, a psychiatric nurse, who also did some contract shepherding work.
Having also a keen interest in horses, he decided to pursue his current career after admiring the work of the ghillies with their garron hill ponies on a nearby estate.
Whilst with his current employer, Dunmaglass Estate, Duncan has helped with school visits, with local kids learning about the benefits of multi-species management.
“I am delighted to receive the award. It is a real honour in our profession,” said the youngster, who started out as a Modern Apprentice.
“I didn’t come from a traditional gamekeeping background but I have really enjoyed learning and putting knowledge into practise. Managing wildlife today is a big responsibility, as is education, and modern gamekeeping doesn’t just involve the end product. Our estate works with local schools and, whilst I was at Invercauld, I enjoyed discussing management with the hillwalkers visiting the five Munros on the estate. Sharing ideas and understanding is part of gamekeeping, as is managing to help many different kinds of species.”
At Dunmaglass, Duncan works encompasses pheasants, grouse and Stag and hind stalking as well as looking after the Curlews and other birds which make the estate their home.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “Duncan was nominated by a former Head Keeper because of his attitude and the standard of his work. It is clear he is a hardworking and adaptable person who knows how to manage in a balanced and considerate way. He is enormously deserving of the award in our Year of the Rural Worker, which highlights the vital role people such as Duncan play in making our countryside the place it is.”
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod said:
“I’m delighted to present Duncan with the Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award 2015 and congratulate him winning this prestigious award. The nominees put forward are all of a very high standard and I’d like to thank them all for their hard work in contributing to the prosperity and enhancement of our wonderful countryside and wish them well in their careers.
“Without this significant and valuable contribution to the management of Scotland’s countryside we would not have the world-famous landscapes which many people from home and abroad enjoy and which makes such a valuable contribution to Scotland’s rural economy.
“I can’t emphasise enough how much the Scottish Government appreciates the knowledge and expertise of gamekeepers, deer stalkers and ghillies and how important it is for these valuable skills in wildlife and conservation management to be taught to trainees.”