Thursday, 22 December 2016

CENTRAL BELT DEER MANAGERS HELP FOOD BANK

South Lanarkshire Deer Group members delivering fresh roe venison to Calderwood Baptist Church. 
SGA members, South Lanarkshire Deer Group, are providing 150 packs of locally sourced roe venison for food bank users over Christmas.
Following a successful partnership in 2015 with Calderwood Baptist Church in East Kilbride, the urban deer managers have been approached once again to provide fresh venison for families over the festive season.
Calderwood Baptist Church co-ordinates East Kilbride Community Food Bank which is a partnership of local churches providing food parcels across the community.
Packs of venison sausages and burgers will go out to families in the Christmas hampers; all sourced from around the local area.
South Lanarkshire Deer Group are respected as an examplar group in Lowland Scotland and its members have been managing deer around towns for decades, helping to protect fields, forestry and amenity green space as well as preventing road traffic accidents.
Chairman David Quarrell developed the definitive guide to managing urban deer and the group has helped social and community causes such as Friends of Langlands Moss by donating fresh local venison for events and talks.
Some of the venison for the food bank will be sourced from ground leased by permission from the Forestry Commission and the group hope to progress their social and business model further in 2017.
Giving their urban deer management expertise for free, the members are permitted to keep the sourced venison in return, which is mostly enjoyed by friends and family.
However, with an increasing need for cost-effective deer management in urban areas and a sustainable healthy food resource clearly existing in the local area , the group- with assistance from the SGA- hope to open a chilled larder facility.
This will enable local venison to be processed to the required standard and used in local restaurants, butchers and for supporting causes such as the Community Food Bank.
The hope is that, within a few years, organic venison can become part of the family shopping basket at an affordable price in the Central Belt, with employment for a butcher and trainee created at the larder.
“The lads are all happy to be helping again with the Food Bank,” said Chairman David Quarrell.
“We fully believe there is a need for a deer management model like this in the Central Belt, and it is good to see people being able to benefit from the deer in their own area.

“What we are looking to develop is situation where deer are selectively managed but become a local resource which means high quality fresh food and local employment.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

IMPORTANT BIRD FLU INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS


All members should make themselves aware of newly published information from Scottish Government regarding Avian Influenza protection measures.
This affects wild and reared game birds and is in response to emerging cases in Europe.
Please read: http://news.gov.scot/news/avian-influenza-protection-measures

SGA HONDA ATV WINNER ANNOUNCED


Following the official draw made in the SGA office, we are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2016 SGA Honda ATV is Robert Blomley of Cromdale, Grantown-on-Spey.
Robert's name was drawn by Team SGA's Mo Baillie and the delighted winner has now been notified.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg would like to congratulate Robert and thank all those who purchased raffle tickets for what is an important annual fundraiser for the organisation.
Alex would also like to pay tribute to John Thomson from JMT Honda in Forth, Lanarkshire, for once again donating the ATV.
John has been a longstanding supporter of the SGA and his kindness is greatly appreciated by everyone at the organisation.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

OFFICE STAFFING

We would like to make members aware that due to staff illness, the office may be unmanned over the next two days. Messages can be left on the office answer machine and will be actioned as soon as possible, thereafter. We apologise for this temporary inconvenience.

Friday, 25 November 2016

FINAL RIVER CLASSIFICATIONS FOR 2017 ANNOUNCED


Following the statutory consultation period, the final classifications for Scotland's rivers in 2017 have been announced, in line with salmon conservation regulations.
Data used has shown Category 1 rivers to have a conservation status which does not require mandatory catch and release.
Category 2 rivers do not require mandatory catch and release but are under regular review.
Category 3 rivers show populations which are not sustainable and catch and release is in place in order to conserve stocks.

Of 168 assessed rivers, there are 47 Grade one and 48 grade two. Seventy three are classed as grade 3.

You can see the final classifications here: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00510547.pdf and http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence/status

Monday, 21 November 2016

LORD BONOMY REPORT INTO FOX HUNTING: SGA RESPONSE

Research on plots in Sutherland by Stroud et al showed wading birds, particularly Plover and Dunlin, were barely seen within 400m of forest plantations. Inability to control foxes in and around forest plantations will worsen 'edge effects' for endangered wading birds.  

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “Our members require to be able to use foot packs in order to control foxes in areas of dense and often impenetrable forestry. This helps to prevent predation of ground-nesting species.
“We feel that Lord Bonomy’s report is a balanced attempt to provide greater accountability and clarity around the law and we have no problems with increasing transparency.
“From an operational perspective, however, we would hope Scottish Government do not apply vicarious liability to a landholder who permits such activities on her/his land.
“It is often essential to have access to fringe or neighbouring land to get to an area where foxes are numerous. Due to the lack of predator control now on Forestry Commission land, where much of the predation problems stem, fear of prosecution may prohibit Forestry Commission from allowing fox control on their land. This could have a serious impact on ground nesting species which are currently under heavy predation pressure.
“There is a considerable body of scientific evidence showing high nest predation or nest failure of wading birds at the edge of forestry plantations and any moves which would act to discourage predator control in these areas will have significant conservation impacts beyond what is intended by this recommendation. We would hope that Scottish Government consider this aspect carefully when assessing the report.”

See Lord Bonomy's report and recommendations, here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/11/9965



Friday, 18 November 2016

ADVICE ON SPORTING RATES FORMS


SGA members have been receiving valuation forms to complete for assessors in the last week.
This is as a result of the removal of the exemption from rates for shoots and deer forests, ushered in by changes to the Land Reform Act last year.
This has caused a fair degree of confusion amongst members as well as some concern.
If you need advice about completing the forms or wish to discuss this issue, please contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515 or email carol@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

NEW FILM - THE UNTOLD STORY: MOUNTAIN HARES


A new film released today by Grampian Moorland Group, in conjunction with Pace Productions UK, is sure to be of interest to members and non members alike.
The short film, The Untold Story: Mountain Hares speaks to those at the front line of mountain hare conservation and management in Scotland.
It explores why mountain hares thrive on moorland with gamekeepers but also explains why their populations require management in order to restore fragile habitats.

You can watch the film by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLv3QpXWtM

Friday, 11 November 2016

ALL MOUNTAIN HARE OUT- OF- SEASON CULL LICENCES GRANTED FOR FORESTRY

No out of season mountain hare culls have been authorised for grouse management since the WANE Act introduced  a closed season to protect them during vulnerable times of the year.
Growing numbers of mountain hares are being culled outside of the agreed seasons in Scotland to prevent them causing serious damage to new trees.
The findings were revealed via a Freedom Of Information request to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA).
In 2011, The Wildlife and Natural Environment Act introduced for the first time in Scotland a closed season to protect the mountain or ‘blue’ hare at vulnerable times of the year.
The Act made it unlawful to kill the species between March 1st and July 31st, unless under special licenses granted in ‘exceptional circumstances’ from SNH.
Conditions under which licences could be granted were to mitigate against disease and damage and only if the cull would not affect the hare’s conservation status.
Since the Act came into force in 2012, it has been revealed that all licences, enabling mountain hares to be culled year round in Scotland, have been signed off to prevent hares causing serious damage to young trees.
In the past three years, the number culled out of season for this purpose has also risen.
On top of the numbers culled to prevent grazing and browsing damage during the open season, applications for an additional 575 hares to be culled in the close season were approved in 2014 with a further 700 in 2015.
Up to the end of March 2016, SNH had already granted licences for 838 hares to be controlled outside of the legal seasons on 5 sites in order to protect new saplings.
“Mountain hares are a fascinating species, largely because they change their coats to camouflage themselves against the winter snow. As with other herbivores, however, large numbers at one site are a proven threat to the establishment of young woodland,” said SGA Chairman Alex Hogg.
“Grants for new forestry are given on the basis that new stock must be protected from damage and we know mountain hare numbers in some areas of new woodland are having to be kept right down, all year round.
“In the past 25 years in the Cairngorms National Park, there has been approximately a quarter of a million acres given over to land use change to enable afforestation. With further ambitious targets for new tree planting schemes in Scotland, the use of out of season licences to suppress the numbers to enable tree establishment is likely to become the norm.”
The culling of mountain hares has become a hot subject, with animal rights groups blaming grouse estates for heavy culls to prevent disease and to minimise the spread of tick.
Of the 26 applications made to SNH for out of season licences up to March 2016, only two were related to aspects of grouse moor management, specifically heather damage and tick control.
Both of these licenses were refused by SNH.
Animal rights activists are calling for a ban on the killing of mountain hares and are set to protest outside Holyrood next week.
SGA Committee Member Ronnie Kippen, a gamekeeper in Perthshire for 45 years, believes activists should be mindful of the consequences of their wishes.
“In the 80s, before mechanised snow vehicles, there were 2 consecutive years where we couldn’t control the hare numbers because of heavy snow. In the spring of year 3, they died in their thousands, all over the hill, from intestinal parasites and it took 5 or 6 years for their numbers to come back again.
“If you don’t manage the population each year, you are looking at serious damage to habitats and dead hares lying everywhere rather than going back into the food chain. People might have good intentions but that is what will happen.”

Thursday, 27 October 2016

GAMEKEEPERS STATEMENT: RED KITE REPORT

In response to a report by the RSPB, commissioned by SNH, on red kites in Scotland between 2007 and 2014, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association issued the following statement.

A Spokesman from The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “Red Kite conservation is a huge success story in Scotland and many SGA members are playing an active part in this success which we, as an organisation, welcome and encourage. Before and after the period this report covers, we have had members taking part in regular ringing activity of red kites with local raptor groups and we are pleased to see this work continuing.
“The SGA played a significant role in Scottish Government’s pesticide disposal scheme last year and, along with partners on both sides of the border, have been running accredited rodenticide courses in 2015 and 2016 for gamekeepers as part of the official UK stewardship scheme aimed at wildlife-friendly, best practice pest control. A lot of constructive work is being undertaken.
“If a tiny minority continue to take part in illegal practices, this is through no encouragement whatsoever from the SGA and all our members know they will be expelled from the organisation if convicted of wildlife crime.

“We are pleased that the report mentions, for the first time, potential impacts of wind farms on raptor survival rates as this is now a reality in the modern Scottish countryside, although we feel the role of feeding stations deserve further analysis in the context of whether this impacts on the natural dispersal of reintroduced birds.”

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

SGA XMAS CARDS AND GIFTS AVAILABLE

Although there will be those amongst us who don't wish to be reminded, the festive season beckons. Don't panic! The SGA can help ease the pain of thinking up new gift ideas.
We have an excellent range of merchandise for her or him and Christmas cards and notelets, specially drawn and painted by our very own artist, Bert Burnett.

If you wish to purchase any of our merchandise or want to see what else may be available, beyond this little 'snapshot', please contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515. Remember to leave plenty time for delivery.
SGA Xmas cards, pack of 6 with envelopes  £5.00




SGA Diaries £5.00, wristbands £1, Bendy pens £2,  SGA pens (2 pack) £1.00.

Hand crafted notelets and envelopes (pack of 8) £3.50

SGA 2017 calendar £8.50

Children's book £6.00

SGA Baseball caps (green and navy) £10.00

Tattersall checked shirt with micro fleece lining £20

Candy coloured ladies polo shirt £17.00

SGA Pure Wool jumpers £36.00

SGA Gents Breezer Body Warmer £30.00

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PERMITS TAIL SHORTENING FOR SPANIELS AND HPRS

Following changes to Animal Welfare legislation announced today by The Scottish Government, images like this should be consigned to the past.

RESPONSE TO SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ON TAIL SHORTENING FOR WORKING SPANIELS AND HUNT POINT RETRIEVERS.
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The benefit that this exemption to the law will convey in terms of the welfare of working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers all over Scotland cannot be underestimated.
“It is a major improvement to Animal Welfare legislation in this country and one we welcome.
“By targeting the exemption specifically at the particular small sub-set of the dog population where evidence proves beyond doubt that there have been welfare issues which could no longer be ignored, Scottish Government deserve immense credit.
“Research from Glasgow University, commissioned by the Scottish Government, showed that over 1 in 2 working Spaniels with full tails suffered one or more painful tail injury in one season (56 per cent of all studied dogs).
“The same research also showed 1 in 3 Hunt Point Retrievers suffering the same fate (39 per cent of all studied dogs). That suffering could not continue indefinitely without address.
“This is an evidence-based decision which will ensure these animals can now carry out their duties with the protection they deserve. It allows those best qualified- the vets- to make a decision to remove the tail tip of a working Spaniel or Hunt Point Retriever, within the first few days of life, if they believe this will prevent greater damage and more serious injury in later life.
“The research recommended that removing one third of a working Spaniel or HPR’s tail as a pup would reduce the likelihood of more serious tail damage by 15 to 20 times.”
*The Scottish Gamekeepers Association presented a petition with over 4000 signatures to Scottish Government in 2015 arguing for an overturn of the ban on the shortening of working dogs' tails.

FINAL DAY TO INFLUENCE WESTMINSTER DEBATE ON GROUSE SHOOTING



The SGA would like to remind all members and supporters that tomorrow (Wednesday) is the deadline to submit a written response to the Westminster Petitions Committee ahead of an important debate on grouse shooting.
As you may be aware two petitions are currently being considered by the committee, one to ban grouse shooting and one to protect it.
This is your final opportunity to influence the debate that will follow from the written evidence.
If you believe in the economic, environmental and cultural benefits of grouse shooting, ACT NOW.
Follow this link to submit a response (3 questions only). Please note, this link also contains guidance on how to respond.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/petitions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/grouse-shooting-16-17/

Finally, if you have not signed the petition to protect grouse shooting, you can do so here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/164851

Monday, 26 September 2016

STANDING UP FOR YOUR PROFESSION: 3 THINGS YOU CAN DO.




The SGA would like to encourage all of its members and supporters to help ensure that MPs at Westminster hear both sides of the story in the forthcoming (October) debate regarding grouse shooting.

We want you to do 3 simple things.

As you will know, a petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England and Wales reached the number of signatories for a Parliamentary debate.
Ahead of this debate, the Petitions Committee will allow MPs to hear evidence from both sides on Tuesday 18th October at 2.15pm. This session, involving the petition’s creator, RSPB, Moorland Association, and Countryside Alliance reps can be viewed on Parliament TV on the day.

If you care about grouse shooting and its benefits to the country, these are the three things you can do beforehand.

1/ Sign the petition to Protect Grouse Moors and Grouse Shooting. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/164851

2/ Send a response to the Committee by the deadline of October 5th. 
(this consist of 3 short and simple questions).

3/ Once you have done this, write to your MP and MSP to tell them why you strongly believe - from your own experience- that grouse shooting should be supported on both sides of the border.

If you want to find your local MP, enter your postcode into this site: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you want to find your local MSP, enter your postcode into this site: http://www.parliament.scot/help/32438.aspx

PLEASE NOTE: On contacting your MP, you may be told that this issue is a reserved matter pertaining to England and Wales. This is technically true. However, as it is a debate, it is important your MP knows your interests, as a constituent. Please tell them that any changes in England could influence future debate in Scotland and that there is cross-border employment interests in the industry. 

Yours Sincerely, 


Alex Hogg, Chairman, Scottish Gamekeepers Association.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Tick and Lyme disease awareness raising materials (Pilot study - University of the Highlands and Islands

The Rural Health and Wellbeing Team at the University of the Highlands and Islands are piloting some awareness raising materials about ticks and Lyme disease, and have developed a website with information and downloadable resources: www.checkforticks.org.uk.
There is also a bug and tick treasure hunt game (for children and adults!) that can be tested out at Abriachan Forest (Loch Ness) until the end of October.
For more information contact: sarah.morton@uhi.ac.uk or complete the short survey to feedback what you think of the materials: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CheckforTicks1/

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

NEW RODENTICIDE RULES ON 1ST OCTOBER AND TRAINING MILESTONE

No certification, no sale of rodenticides from 1 October
From 1 October farmers, gamekeepers, pest controllers and their employees buying professional rodenticide packs for use outdoors will need to show either an approved certificate of competence or document confirming membership of an approved farm assurance scheme.
Without documentation from that date onwards, all sellers including those online are prohibited from completing the sale under the conditions of the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime.
During September, remaining stocks with pre-stewardship labels can still be sold. These are being replaced by stewardship-authorised rodenticides, which carry legally-binding requirements from HSE specifying user certification and compliance with product label conditions of use.
The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) reports to HSE for implementation of the stewardship regime. In addition to new conditions of sale, CRRU UK chairman Dr Alan Buckle says the way rodenticides are used must change if we are to reduce the occurrence of residues in wildlife.
"For many years it was thought best practice to set out bait points on farms, shooting estates and around rural premises, then keep them permanently topped up with rodenticide," he says. "We now believe this practice is responsible, at least in part, for the contamination of wildlife that we now see so widely in the UK."
CRRU UK has recently published new guidelines about safer and effective alternatives to permanent baiting, when it may be justified and, if it is, how to do it most safely.

*The SGA is pleased to announce that the 1000th gamekeeper to take the rodenticide course run for rat control by SGA and other rural organisations has just been recorded.

Monday, 5 September 2016

CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK CONSULTATION





The SGA is bringing members' attention to an important consultation which could have a significant impact on how they go about their jobs in land management.
The following consultation, with a deadline of September 30th, contains sections on how deer and grouse moors are to be managed within the Cairngorms National Park.
Please take the time to complete the consultation. See here: http://cairngorms.co.uk/working-partnership/consultations/thebig9/ and ensure Park officials hear a balanced view of how land is managed in the area.

SGA MEMBERS CAN HELP WITH WILD BOAR SIGHTINGS

The SGA recently held constructive discussions with SNH about wild boar in Scotland.
In order to help SNH accurately map the distribution of boar in Scotland, we are encouraging members to report any sightings or provide cull returns.
Having the best available information regarding populations will help assess the spread of the species and any possible steps which might be undertaken to control numbers.

There are three methods by which SGA members can assist.

1/ Submit casual sightings through the irecord web page: http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record

2/ An app to record sightings can be downloaded to a phone from this web page http://www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/record-submission/
Both steps 1 and 2 mean the records are stored to the National Biodiversity Network and members can see the records of their sightings, and all others, here.

3/ Members can also email sightings to the SEARS web page by mailing info@sears.scotland.gsi.uk 
To do so, the following information will be required: 

Location, including a description and grid reference if possible
Date
Time
Number of adult and young boar seen
Any additional information that may be of use.

We encourage all members to get involved if they see any wild boar in the countryside.

Friday, 2 September 2016

CONSULTATION ON THE FUTURE OF FORESTRY

Pic: New beginnings: New tree growing on mounded soil. SGA members and others will be interested in the newly announced Scottish Government consultation on the future of forestry in Scotland. If this is of interest, you can find out more and complete the consultation by 9th November 2016.
See the link, here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Scotland-s-Forests-29bf.aspx 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

CONSULTATION ON SALMON CONSERVATION ASSESSMENTS FOR 2017 LAUNCHED


All members of the SGA Fishing Group are being invited to send a response to the 28 day consultation on the process for assessing salmon conservation status of rivers for 2017.
This is an important issue for all group members, as has been indicated, so please take the opportunity to help shape the outcome and ensure the measures strike the right balance.
The SGA Fishing Group will also be sending a group response so please email your input to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk or post to the private group Facebook page.
Details of the relevant Scottish Government documents can be found here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence/status/limits

The consultation closes on 29th September 2016.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Office Hours

The SGA Office will be closed for the Public Holidays on Monday 29th August, Monday 5th September and Monday 3rd October.  If you require anything urgently then please call and the phones will be transferred to the office managers mobile.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

SGA STATEMENT: MISSING HEN HARRIER

GAMEKEEPERS' RESPONSE TO RSPB PRESS RELEASE ON MISSING HEN HARRIER
A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: "As with other recent allegations, the SGA will work with Police Scotland and Scottish Government in an attempt to get to the bottom of this. It is clearly a situation which cannot go on. We have no independent information, at the present time, so getting the facts will be the first step. Speculation, at this stage, will not help.
"The SGA does not, and will never, condone wildlife crime. As an organisation we advocate legal solutions, solely, as the means to resolve conflicts. If there is any evidence of illegal activity by an SGA member, appropriate action will be taken."

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

PUBLIC CONSULTATION: SOUTH OF SCOTLAND GOLDEN EAGLE PROJECT


There are plans to increase the number of golden eagles in the South of Scotland.
If you have any views on this or want to learn more about the project, visit: https://www.goldeneaglessouthofscotland.co.uk where you will also find a public consultation document.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

NOTICE TO SGA FISHING GROUP MEMBERS


Calling all SGA Fishing Group members and those seeking to join. At the first meeting in Perth, it was decided we would use a private Facebook forum to discuss initiatives and tasks going forward, for ease.

All group members we have email addresses for have been sent invitations to join the page. So far, a good number have. However, if you want to communicate with the other group members, and receive updates, please contact the SGA office on info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk to say so, and we can send out more invites for you to join the forum.

If it looks like this method of communicating is not going to work for all, we will go to group email although this does have limitations. One last try!

Those who are taking up positions on working groups for Wild Fisheries Reform will soon receive notifications about these. If you wish to discuss this, please contact the office on the email address above or 01738 587 515.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

SGA WILL WORK WITH POLICE OVER ALLEGATIONS

Eagle chick ringed with conservation agencies on a grouse moor in Angus in 2015. 
In response to a press release from RSPB Scotland, a Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said:

"The Scottish Gamekeepers Association will be asking its members to contact Police Scotland if they know anything regarding the allegations which have been made.
In the past two years the SGA has encouraged its 5300 members to record the eagles on the ground they manage in order to take positive ownership of the role they play in eagle conservation.
We were pleased to report three more nests in occupied territories last year (58), compared to the 2014 survey (55) and, this year, we are extending the survey further north for the first time.
Scotland has one of the highest concentrations of golden eagles in the world and we want our members, many of whom have had eagles on their ground for decades, to continue to be part of that success in a constructive way. Some of the most productive eagle nests in Scotland in the past few years have been on managed grouse moors, with rare triplets in one nest alone last year.
It is not in our, or any of our members' interests, whatsoever, to have negative publicity on the 11th August, the day before people are set to fly into Scotland from all over the world for the start of the grouse season- which injects millions into the rural economy- and to admire the beauty of our well managed landscapes.
We will be asking our members, therefore, to comply with any investigation by the Police or Scottish Government into such allegations. If there is any evidence of wrongdoing by any of our members, appropriate action will be taken."


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

SHOOTING SUPPORTS MORE SCOTTISH JOBS THAN EDINBURGH FESTIVAL

The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe bring tourists to Scotland from all over the world to the premier global arts festival. However, shooting sports sustain more jobs in Scotland.

Gamekeepers believe shooting jobs have never been more valuable to Scotland than today, with more posts sustained by the activity than Edinburgh’s festivals.
At the same time as global tourists throng the capital’s streets for the biggest arts carnival in the world, sportsmen and women will be in Scotland’s hills for the start of the grouse season on Friday.
And although prospects for grouse are mixed in some regions, the season starts a wider country sports programme which supports 8800 full-time jobs per year in remote areas. *
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg believes, with uncertainty slowing Scotland’s economy, that this rich seam of employment has never been more important.
He says the SGA, which represents 5300 gamekeepers, stalkers, river and land ghillies, wildlife managers and rangers will be looking to work constructively with politicians to grow the vital rural industry.
“Compared to many other European countries, Scotland does not have an embedded ‘hunting’ culture and chunks of the population don’t know the impact the shooting seasons have to the country, economically.
“The 2014 ‘Value of Shooting’ Report by PACEC * showed 8800 full-time jobs relying on shooting. That is over 2000 more posts than is created by the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe, Tattoo and Hogmanay combined (6021)*, according to the latest figures from Festivals Edinburgh. These festivals are a major attraction for Scotland and rightly so.
“Shooting jobs dwarf the growing music tourism market*, creates as many jobs as our number one food export, the farmed salmon sector*, and it will bring in more money- at £155 million a year*- than The Open Championship did at St Andrews in 2015*.
“There are real concerns for employment in rural Scotland at the moment, particularly in oil and gas, so gamekeepers and their families want to see the industry grow. We want to work with Scottish Government to make sure hard working people can continue to rely on these posts in future.”
Despite the economic impact of shooting in Scotland, the industry can attract criticism from anti bloodsports organisations.
The SGA Chairman says all industries must learn to cope with criticism, as long as it is substantiated.
“Shooting, by its nature, will never be popular in everyone’s eyes and the divisions in the countryside now can be negative.
“As an organisation, we seek to make progress and look forward. The industry has made significant strides in terms of best practice and regulation, today, is much tighter.
“There are opportunities that remain to be developed that can increase Scotland’s reputation, particularly in terms of premium game products like venison and we want to work towards that.
“Forestry and timber processing on the entire National Forest Estate in Scotland amount to less jobs than is supported by shooting (7225)*so this shows the scale of the employment in Scotland. It is important the skilled workforce is retained and new opportunities for the future are explored with decision makers.”

Sources: (1) and (2): PACEC report 2014: The Value of Shooting. Page 26. http://www.shootingfacts.co.uk/pdf/The-Value-of-Shooting-2014.pdf
(3) Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study: July 2016 by BOP Consulting
(8) Dec 2015: The Economic Contribution of Forestry and other Activities on Scotland’s National Forest Estate, CJC Consulting. http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/images/corporate/pdf/national-forest-estate-economic-contribution.pdf



More Economic Facts:

Grouse shooting alone is worth £30m in wages to Scotland’s economy. 

Impact of Deer Management on Scottish Economy is £140.8 million.

Impact of Game Angling to Scotland’s Economy is £113 million

In 2015/2016 Scotland’s five ski resorts generated £21 million.

Mountain Biking is worth £49.5 million to Scotland’s economy. 













Friday, 5 August 2016

PERTHSHIRE DEER STALKER LANDS SCOTTISH EDUCATION AWARD


Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg (left) and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, with award winner Sandy Reid (third from left) and wife Mairi at the trophy presentation.


A man whose vast knowledge of Scotland’s moorland species sparked a pioneering wildlife tourism attraction in Perthshire yesterday (FRI) landed a prestigious national award.
Sandy Reid (73), a deer stalker on Atholl Estates, was at the forefront of a move, back in 2005, to showcase the estate’s bountiful wildlife to visitors through a wildlife land rover ‘safari’.
Since then, Sandy has driven hundreds of visitors across Atholl’s moors to photograph iconic red deer Stags, resident golden eagles and lekking black grouse.
It is a move which has since been rolled out successfully on other Scottish sporting estates, contributing to a burgeoning wildlife tourism sector worth £127 million a year to Scotland’s rural economy.
Yesterday, the retired stalker’s vision was rewarded with the Ronnie Rose Trophy from The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, named after the late forester, wildlife manager, MBE and author.
The silverware, which recognises years of dedication to conservation or education in game management, was presented to Sandy at Moy Highland Field Sports Fair by Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing.
Sandy, who led stalking guests on the 150 000 acre estate for 49 years before running the safaris, said: “The project has been really successful in terms of education and it is an honour to receive this award from The Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the family of the late Ronnie Rose.
“There are many people who do not know what goes on beyond the A9. They don’t see the vastness of the land and how it is managed every day to produce an income and biodiversity.
“On one of the beats at Atholl, we have 186 black grouse and I am able to drive within 20 yards of them to let visitors see the lekks. People love to see the red deer close up, in the early morning or at nightfall, and I’ve had people in the back seeing Hen Harriers stealing food from each other in mid-air.
“It’s a chance to let people see what really goes on, how abundant predators are legally managed by the gamekeeping staff to promote a balance. It is also a way to speak to people and explain things like why eagles need large territories to bring up young.
“I am glad there are more and more estates today taking people out on visits, that would not necessarily want to go game shooting, but want to see lots of wildlife close up.”
Despite a busy safari schedule, Sandy still ghillies for guests on the estate’s salmon beats and flanks on grouse days around Perthshire and further afield.
He started his career as a pony boy and kennel hand before becoming a stalker on the Clunes beat at Atholl.
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: “Sandy stood out amongst all the nominees for the way he continues to impart his wealth of knowledge, particularly to those coming at countryside management afresh. People love to see the huge range of wildlife we manage in Scotland. They don’t want to look at pictures; they want to see the real thing.
“We are delighted to honour Sandy with this award, as part of our Year of the Rural Worker 2016 programme.”
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing said: “Sandy Reid is a well-deserved winner of the Ronnie Rose Award. He has shown real dedication to sharing his vast knowledge of the countryside to educate people and allow them to appreciate our unique wildlife and landscape through his wildlife land rover safaris. These safaris encourage tourism which contributes greatly to our rural economy.”


About the Award:
This will be the second awarding of the Ronnie Rose trophy for game/wildlife managers. It is awarded to individuals who have been nominated by peers for long service and lasting contributions to conservation or education in the undertaking of game management duties. 

In the two years to date, the SGA has received nominations from all over Scotland. Once received, a winner is decided by a vote of the full SGA Committee in consultation with the Rose family.

The award was inaugurated in 2015 in memory of Ronnie Rose, who died in December 2014. The trophy was specially commissioned by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, in association with the Rose family.

Ronnie Rose was a pivotal figure in the establishment of the SGA, a life member, award winning conservationist, author, MBE, forester and wildlife manager. 

Over a 50 year career, Ronnie Rose received many conservation accolades 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 principles of forest design, which viewed wildlife as an asset, saw him oversee a 300 per cent increase in bird species in the forests of Eskdalemuir.
At neighbouring Blackhouse Forest, his management saw lekking blackcock rise by over 50 per cent at a time of spiralling national decline.
His book, Working with Nature: The Conservation and Management of Scottish Wildlife is still widely read and appreciated today.

About the 2016 Winner:
Sandy Reid (73) was a deer stalker on Atholl Estates for 49 years. Eleven years ago, close to his retirement age, he had a vision to take visitors out onto the 150 000 acre estate - famous for its Castle- to see the bountiful wildlife, using only a Land Rover and the knowledge of the local species he had amassed over his lengthy career.

Sandy's safaris at Blair Atholl are now an important part of the estate and Castle's tourism offering and his idea has been successfully copied on many estates in Scotland, contributing to the nation's wildlife tourism offering, worth £127m a year to the rural economy.

He has introduced hundreds of 'newcomers' to the flora and fauna of Highland Perthshire and helped them understand more of why land is managed the way it is, in Scotland.

Sandy educates tourists on wildlife management and gets them ‘up close and personal' with iconic red deer, golden eagles, Hen Harriers, native red squirrel and lekking black game.

At the age of 73, he still ghillies for guests on the Atholl salmon beats and flanks at local grouse days. He has spent a lifetime dedicated to the land and its many species. His tours are a way of giving something back to others for all the joy he has received from it himself.

For information on last year's inaugural award, and the winners, see: http://www.scottishfield.co.uk/rural-award-for-land-management-standard-bearers/

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association: http://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk
Value of Nature Based Tourism to Scottish Economyhttp://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B720765.pdf