Thursday 22 December 2016


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


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:


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


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


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: and

Monday 21 November 2016


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:

Friday 18 November 2016


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

Wednesday 16 November 2016


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:

Friday 11 November 2016


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


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


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


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

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.


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.

Finally, if you have not signed the petition to protect grouse shooting, you can do so here:

Monday 26 September 2016


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.

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:

If you want to find your local MSP, enter your postcode into this site:

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:
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: or complete the short survey to feedback what you think of the materials:

Wednesday 14 September 2016


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


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: and ensure Park officials hear a balanced view of how land is managed in the area.


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:

2/ An app to record sightings can be downloaded to a phone from this web page
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 
To do so, the following information will be required: 

Location, including a description and grid reference if possible
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


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: 

Thursday 1 September 2016


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 or post to the private group Facebook page.
Details of the relevant Scottish Government documents can be found here:

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


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


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: where you will also find a public consultation document.

Tuesday 16 August 2016


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 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


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


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.
(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.

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.