Wednesday, 23 March 2016

HUNTING WITH DOGS LEGISLATION- REVIEW CLOSES NEXT WEEK


Lord Bonony has been charged with reviewing legislation surrounding hunting with dogs. This important consultation closes for written evidence next week (end of March).
If you are involved in fox control and have a view on this, please ensure you make those views known to Lord Bonomy by the end of March.
For full details about the review and how to make a response, see here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Fox-hunting-laws-20d4.aspx


SGA FISHING GROUP MEETING- APRIL 21ST

Image from SGA AGM, Inverness.
The SGA Fishing Group will be meeting at the Perth office on April 21st 2016 at 7.30pm to discuss future priorities and group responses to the ongoing Wild Fisheries review, which will have significant impacts for river workers.
Since establishment, the SGA Fishing Group has had little time to pull together its membership,  going headlong into the reform process and salmon conservation debates from day one.
This meeting is a rare chance to get the heads up, assess future priorities going forward and to ensure the group has the proper input to influence legislation that will affect all of us within a very short space of time.
If you are a member of the group but feel a non-member may be able to assist our efforts or bring something to the table, please bring them along, too.
We are looking to build representation across Scotland and everyone has a role to play, even if time is at a premium.
If you are attending, please contact carol@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk to make the office aware that you are coming. We look forward to seeing you on the night.

A working agenda will be: 

1/ Member Priorities: What matters most now and what needs to be tackled to benefit river workers in Scotland?
2/ Wild Fisheries Reform: How do we best represent river workers’ views?
3/ Reform progress to date.
4/ Building the knowledge base of the group to maximise impact. Forming a specialised sub-group dealing with fishing issues only.

Venue: Inveralmond Business Centre. 6 Auld Bond Road, South Inveralmond, Perth, PH1 3FX.

Attendees should go to the car park to the right of the entrance and enter the building by the side door, sign-posted Balfour Beattie. Someone will be there to let you in. If you are a little beyond 7.30pm, buzz and someone will release the door. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Office Closure Details

Please be aware that the office will be closed for Easter Weekend on Friday 25th and Monday 28th April.

Happy Easter Everyone.

Friday, 18 March 2016

BID NOW ON SILENT AUCTION 2016


Time is fast running out to bid in the 2016 SGA Silent Auction (closes April).
As ever, we have some fantastic lots, encompassing everything from an overnight stay for 2 at the beautiful Fonab Castle to a driven grouse day for 2 guns in Speyside.
Excellent fishing, stalking, pheasant and partridge days are there as well as a £500 voucher to spend in the House of Bruar.
Bid now, to avoid missing out. Thanks once again to all of those who have donated lots and, of course, those who are set to try their hand. Bid on.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

LAND REFORM (SCOTLAND) BILL COMMENTS.

A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, which represents 5300 rural workers, said: "It is disappointing that amendments put forward to safeguard rural workers' jobs as a result of the introduction of sporting rates were not supported. Similarly, the argument that bringing shoots and deer forests ‘into line’ with other rural businesses carries little water when farming, forestry- now worth £1 billion a year- and aquaculture, which is almost entirely Norwegian-owned, remain exempt from business rates.
“In many ways, it seems perverse that, as one of the aims of land reform is to help make remote rural areas work and keep families in them, that those who do so much in terms of community resilience, at present, are likely to lose out.“We will work with Scottish Government in a bid to limit the damage of job losses for our working members but such losses, we fear, are inevitable.”

Friday, 4 March 2016

FIELDSPORTS INDISPENSABLE TO RURAL ECONOMIES, AGM HEARS


Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg has hailed as ‘indispensable’ the contribution field sports make to the nation’s remote economies and employment figures.
Mr Hogg, a gamekeeper for over 40 years, was speaking to around 150 land managers at the organisation’s 18th AGM in Inverness today; with local MSP Fergus Ewing one of the 8 speakers at Caledonian Stadium.
The SGA chief said the shooting and angling industry, which is worth over £300m to the nation’s economy annually, helps to keep youth opportunities and families in glens which would otherwise run the risk of depopulation and falling school rolls.
He also said Scotland’s lauded environment would suffer if the industry was made unviable, causing vital land management jobs to be haemorrhaged.
According to the 2014 report, The Value of Shooting’ by PACEC, shoot providers in the UK spend £250 million a year on conservation.
The SGA Chairman cited the example of the glens of Angus where grouse shooting, once under threat due to dwindling red grouse numbers, was helping to keep skilled employment in villages.
He said that few other industries could match what is delivered for Scotland in these fragile areas without dipping increasingly into tax payers’ pockets.
“One thing that stands out like a sore thumb is the amount of investment, conservation and employment which is being created from fields sports and fishing,” he said.
“This cannot be understated, particularly when we have problems in oil, challenges in farming and job losses and dropping margins in aquaculture.
“That is why we are continuing with our Year of the Rural Worker programme, which we introduced last year. Not only is our work providing economic benefits, it is keeping the landscape and rivers in such a way that brings people to Scotland. It keep jobs in our hills, glens and straths. Each year, new children and families are being brought up in these places and skilled opportunities are keeping those families there.
“Last year, in five scattered Glens in Angus, one grouse season saw £1million going directly to households in wages. It created 57 full-time jobs, seasonal work for 512 beaters, 30 full-time employees were under the age of 25 and 7 students were given opportunities over the year. At the same time over 900 businesses benefitted from trade directly with estates, to the tune of £4.7 million. That was in only 6 of 20 estates surveyed in one region. What other type of business at 1000ft, and above, could generate that for Scotland?”
Other speakers at the event were Sutherland estate owner Michael Wigan, independent woodland advisor Victor Clements, Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb of Police Scotland, ecologist Dr James Fenton, Gordon Brown’s former adviser Charlie Whelan and scientist Josephine Pemberton, who spoke on her work researching deer on Rum.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

TEEN GAMEKEEPER HIGHLIGHTS SCOTTISH APPRENTICESHIP WEEK

Young gamekeeper Savio Genini has been one of the youth figureheads chosen to highlight the benefit to the economy of Modern Apprenticeships during Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
Well done, Savio, from all the SGA. A worthy ambassador for your chosen profession.

See the teenager's story here:


Game keeping is in Kingussie teenager Savio Genini’s DNA.

The 18 year old carried on a family tradition when he became a Game and Wildlife Management Modern Apprentice - Savio’s grandfather was a gamekeeper, as is his uncle. 

The former Kingussie High School pupil said: “I’ve always wanted to do this job. I love what I do and having the knowledge of what the role involved before I started through my family was a huge benefit.”

Savio’s day-to-day duties on the Pitmain estate include land management, working to protect habitats, managing deer numbers and preventing disease in the estate’s animal and bird life. But it’s grouse-keeping where Savio’s passion really lies.

He said: “In the future I would like to work as a grouse keeper. It’s the aspect of my job I enjoy the most.”

It was the hands-on nature of his Level 2 apprenticeship that appealed to Savio, he thought the balance of time at North Highland College learning theory and out on the estate building up practical knowledge and skills was just right.

He said “You’re not in a classroom a lot of the time, you’re out on the estate putting your theory into practice straight away.

“I think the fact you can pick up so much practical knowledge from the other keepers means you learn more quickly too. You’re learning all the time.” 

Head Keeper at the Pitmain Estate Graham Mabon has been impressed by Savio’s maturity, and his willingness and ability to step up and take responsibility.

Graham said: “Savio has already taken guests out stalking stags, as well as leading the line on a grouse hunt. 

“Those are the kinds of jobs that you need to have a good head on your shoulders for. You have to think ahead, be strategic, and really have control of the situation.

“Savio grasps each task very quickly. He has a passion for the job and you need that to succeed in a role like this.”

That sentiment is echoed by Savio’s training provider North Highland College. 

Jemma Lowell helps run the Modern Apprenticeship programme there and said: “Savio works hard, he’s committed, and he carries out every task he takes on to the highest possible standard.

“He’s really become a great ambassador for the industry.”

When he’s not working Savio plays shinty for Kingussie. He was part of the Camanachd Cup winning squad in 2014, and has captained Scotland at under 17 level. Savio works extra hours on the estate so he can take time away for practice and games, so neither his shinty team or his work team suffer.

He would recommend a Modern Apprenticeship to others, but added this advice:

 “This isn’t an industry you can go in to half-heartedly, you have to be fully committed and passionate about what you do or it won’t work.”