Tuesday, 21 February 2017

20TH ANNIVERSARY AGM: FULL SCHEDULE

For the first time, the SGA AGM will move to McDiarmid Park in Perth, home of St Johnstone FC.

The SGA is delighted to announce the full itinerary for the 20th anniversary AGM with Marsdens Game Feeds on Friday March 3rd at McDiarmid Park, Perth.
Once again, there is a packed programme in store and some places are still left so please book your seat now by calling the office on 01738 587 515.
Principal Speaker on this special occasion will be Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, who will also answer questions from the floor.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg will then address the attendees and outline the SGA’s vision for 2017.
Grouse management is the focus after this, with Angus-based Principal Botanist Dr Andy McMullen speaking on the subject of challenges and opportunities facing modern day grouse moor managers.
Andy will be followed by Bob Kindness, a salmon and trout rearing expert who will explain the everyday miracles undertaken to restore stocks in the River Carron, Wester Ross.
Bob will then hand over to George Richie, who is highly trained in tracking wounded wild boar in Europe.
Scottish Natural Heritage, at the request of SGA, will deliver a talk to attendees on its species licensing remit. There will also be a presentation on avian flu; the latest information, biosecurity and potential ramifications for the game sector.
Registrations will begin at 9am with lunch due to be served after 1pm. The SGA will also welcome its new partnership with Polaris and launch the 2017 SGA Raffle.

*Members seeking to attend MUST contact the SGA office to book, on 01738 587 515.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

GAMEKEEPERS AND MOUNTAINEERS VOICE LANDSCAPE FEARS

Perthshire gamekeeper Josh Burton and Mike Watson and Dave Gordon from Mountaineering Scotland believe  the country's treasured views and vistas could suffer through lack of a central policy vision.
Two unlikely allies have joined together to press Scottish Government to develop a land use policy which protects Scotland’s world-renowned landscapes, and ensures access for recreation.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Mountaineering Scotland have written a joint letter to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP, concerned at the potential impacts fragmented policy may have on Scotland’s rare open landscapes.
Both organisations fear a lack of joined up thinking could see the loss of internationally rare landscapes as Scottish Government pursues a policy of large scale afforestation without a blueprint to preserve its celebrated vistas.
In the letter to Ms Cunningham the two organisations, who accept they do not agree on all matters but whose memberships share a passionate interest in the nation’s landscapes, say: “While Scotland’s open landscapes and upland moors are classed as rare in global terms, there is currently no policy position safeguarding them. Some areas are designated as of special ecological or scenic interest but most are unprotected and disregarded.”
Highlighting the example of forestry, the SGA and Mountaineering Scotland point out that successive Scottish administrations have published detailed forestry strategies and targets, with 10 000 hectares of new planting earmarked to take place each year until 2022. 
But while neither the SGA or Mountaineering Scotland oppose well sited, planned tree planting, both question whether enough weight is being given to the significant changes this will have on the landscape and access.
In particular, they are worried that the dramatic open views and vistas, regarded as iconic of Scotland, may disappear.
Both bodies welcome Scottish Natural Heritage’s preparatory work on scoping a strategic vision for the uplands, arguing that, without such a vision, key areas may be given up to agriculture, energy and afforestation, with insufficient attention paid to what is being lost.
However, they are seeking a meeting with the Environment Minister to discuss what they see as a  “failure to join up what is required from the land to meet forestry targets and what we might want to keep in terms of internationally rare and valuable landscapes and ecosystems.”
Specifically, the two organisations would like Scottish Government to share its own thinking on the relative values of woodland and moorland and have offered joint support in developing a strategic vision and plan for Scotland’s uplands.
Mike Watson, President of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “The SGA and ourselves have different views on a number of issues, but we have a common interest in the development of a Land Use policy that will protect the landscapes that we both value.  Mountaineering Scotland will continue working to ensure access to mountain areas for our members, and it is imperative that the landscape of these areas is protected from inappropriate development.  We hope that a joint approach to the Scottish Government from our two organisations will demonstrate the wide ranging concern over this issue, and the need for development of a coherent policy that takes into account the views of all interested parties.

Alex Hogg, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said: “Recent dialogue between both organisations established a great deal of common ground when it came to the pride our respective memberships have in the land, but also their worries about upland landscapes and how different they may look, in the not too distant future, if we don’t have a landscape policy which gives them the emphasis required. We have lost so much open moorland since the 1940s and a narrow view, now, may fail what we have left.”

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

SGA CELEBRATES 20 YEARS WITH POLARIS DEAL FOR MEMBERS


The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has secured an exclusive partnership with all terrain vehicle specialists, Polaris, as the organisation celebrates 20 years of representing gamekeepers.
The arrangement will see SGA members and supporters given the chance to win a Sportsman 570 in the organisation’s annual raffle; the Polaris Sportsman being the best selling ATV in the world.
Officials are delighted to announce the new partnership * which will see ticket funds going directly back to the SGA to help its members at a key time for workers in the game sector.
Tickets for the Sportsman 570 will be on sale for the first time at the SGA’s 20th anniversary AGM at McDiarmid Park, Perth, on Friday 3rd March.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, will address members at the Fair City event, which is set to attract a large audience.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “This new arrangement with Polaris is hugely welcomed by everyone at the SGA. Our annual ATV raffle provides a considerable chunk of the fundraising income we need to bring in each year to give the members the type of representation they deserve as professionals working in an industry worth over £300m a year to the economy. The Sportsman 570 is an excellent product which many members, and others, will be very keen to win the keys to. We hope, together with Polaris, we can enjoy a long and fruitful partnership which benefits everyone.”
The Sportsman 570 is the latest addition to the Polaris Sportsman range and can cover the harshest terrain due to its powerful 44hp engine, smooth suspension and All-Wheel Drive on demand.
It has a durable steel frame, lots of storage space and 557kg of payload capacity.
Sarah Johnson, Polaris Marketing Specialist, said: “Polaris is delighted and proud to support The Scottish Gamekeepers Association. We have a specialist dealer network in place to meet the strong demand for the Polaris range of ATVs and UTVs, from gamekeepers and estates across Scotland, and we’re very pleased to be able to provide the Polaris Sportsman 570 as a great ATV prize for this year’s raffle.”
The SGA was formed in 1997 and provides a strong voice for 5300 gamekeepers, stalkers, river and land ghillies, wildlife managers, rangers and country sports enthusiasts.

Year of the Rural Worker video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BYBQB-P-1Y

*The raffle for the Polaris Sportsman 570 replaces the SGA's previous arrangement with Honda.







Wednesday, 8 February 2017

FINALISED RESULTS FOR LATEST SGA RIFLE SHOOT

All members and followers who participate or take a keen interest in the annual SGA rifle shoot will be interested to see the final results from the 2016 event at Glen Tilt, compiled for us by Raymond Holt. Well done to all. See table below:


SGA FISHING GROUP RESPONSE TO WILD FISHERIES REFORM LATEST.


On Friday, Scottish Government issued the following press release regarding Wild Fisheries reform. Link, here: http://news.gov.scot/news/wild-fisheries
Please find below the response to the announcement by the SGA Fishing Group.
A Spokesman for The SGA Fishing Group, Duncan Ferguson, said: "We have been involved in the reform process from the outset. The introduction of the salmon conservation measures, likely to be the lasting legacy, was something we supported and has been an improvement. That said, the reform process which started in 2014 has taken up a considerable amount of time for working people, caused a lot of unrest and concern in the sector and has curtailed investment. We will continue to work with Scottish Government on taking forward ideas which will benefit this vital rural industry and the communities which rely on it. Increasing participation, especially amongst the young will be necessary if we are to have a thriving angling sector and jobs in the future. However, we now need a clear steer from Government on where this process is heading."