Thursday, 12 October 2017

MOUNTAIN HARE RESPONSE (IN FULL)


For members reading media reports about mountain hares this morning , please see the SGA response here, in full. It is possible only certain elements of the response have been reported.

A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: "The activist organisations constantly calling for this in press releases would be better to explain to the public why they themselves have such comparatively poor populations of mountain hares on their holdings and why their management is producing so few.
"This is the elephant in the room which has never been properly addressed, amidst the campaigns. When the new guidance on best methodologies to count mountain hares is published, the SGA will be asking Scottish Government to ensure hares are counted on all holdings, including nature reserves and re-wilding areas not just grouse moors, so the public can finally get a transparent picture of where hares are declining and why.
“Voluntary restraint is being exercised on grouse moors. Where hares are over-running, populations are being controlled to prevent disease and habitat damage. Where their numbers are lower, there is less or no need for management. It is the same with deer. In our view, that is what voluntary restraint is.”
*The SGA would also like to receive reports and images, by SGA members, of any mountain hares seen on nature reserves or areas of rewilding run by charities or outdoor organisations. If you are accessing any such areas for walking or leisure, please report any sightings of mountain hares and numbers seen to 'SGA mountain hare study' and email them to the SGA office.

Friday, 6 October 2017

SCOTTISH GOVT ANNOUNCES FOX HUNTING CONSULTATION


The Scottish Government has this afternoon announced a consultation on fox hunting. This follows  a review of how the Wild Mammals Act is working in Scotland, undertaken by Lord Bonomy.
The SGA was one of four stakeholders asked to provide oral evidence during the review and currently sits on the working group tasked with examining the issue in the light of the Bonomy report recommendations.
Recognising the crucial importance to our members of retaining the ability to use hounds to flush foxes to guns, particularly in dense forestry and cover, the SGA would strongly encourage all those who have an interest in this issue to respond.
You can find the details here: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/wildlife-management-and-protected-areas/improving-protection-for-wild-mammals/

Monday, 2 October 2017

SPORTING RATES: VALUATIONS, APPEALS AND MORE INFORMATION.


Valuation notices for sporting rates, plus essential information, will soon begin to arrive on doorsteps. 
Throughout the Land Reform deliberations in 2016, the SGA argued that reintroducing rates would have negative impacts upon skilled land management jobs and opportunities. This could also affect species diversity in Scotland.

The published rates are: £2 per hectare for Deer forest, hill, moor.
Improved Grassland: £3.50 per hectare
Unimproved Grassland: £4 per hectare
Arable: £4 per hectare
Woodland/Forestry: £5 per hectare
Mixed: £5 per hectare.

Those unhappy with their ratings can appeal within 6 months. 
The SGA would also like to hear from any member whose operation is expected to be adversely affected by this, so we can take these concerns directly to representatives.


To find out more about the assessment process, click here: https://www.saa.gov.uk/re-entry-of-shooting-rights-to-the-valuation-roll/