Wednesday 24 February 2016


New penalties for wildlife crime offences were announced today by Scottish Government following the review by Prof Mark Poustie.
Details can be found on the PAW Scotland website, here:

In response, Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: "As a PAW Scotland partner, the SGA has a consistent policy on wildlife crime and will not condone such acts. We have done a lot of work in this area with Scottish Government and members convicted of wildlife crimes are dealt with accordingly.
Scotland has a robust system of deterrents in place with these changes. Where we would also like to see progress is people having equal access to legal mechanisms which can help them deal with species conflicts in a transparent way, thus helping prevent wildlife crime from happening.”

Tuesday 23 February 2016


SGA Fishing Group members should make themselves aware of the salmon conservation measures which were laid before Parliament today (Feb 23rd), taking effect from 1st April.
A £100 000 commitment was also made by Dr Aileen McLeod to support angling clubs likely to be affected by mandatory catch and release in areas where this has been classified as a necessary conservation measure.

Legislation has been laid in the Scottish Parliament to introduce a package of conservation measures (including a separate Order covering the Tweed District) to manage the exploitation of Atlantic salmon.  The measures come into force on 31 March 2016 and take effect from 1 April.  
Key aspects of the regulations which have now been laid are:
·         Killing beyond estuary limits will be prohibited for three years due to the mixed stock nature of the fishery and limited data on the composition of the catch
·         The killing of Atlantic salmon in inland waters will be managed on an annual basis by categorising fishery districts by their conservation status
·         A requirement to have a Conservation Plan irrespective of the conservation status
·         The introduction of carcass tagging for net-caught fish for areas in category 1 and 2, which are to be sold commercially (including a separate Order covering the Tweed District). The costs for producing the tags will, in the first instance, be subsumed by Marine Scotland.
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform has announced additional support for angling clubs potentially impacted by new regulations.  

Wednesday 17 February 2016


The SGA is delighted to announce that Fergus Ewing MSP will be the principal speaker at the 2016 AGM with Marsdens Game Feeds, at Caledonian Stadium in Inverness on March 4th.
Mr Ewing will follow SGA Chairman Alex Hogg’s opening address and members will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the Minister following the main speech.
Also on the speaker list will be Michael Wigan, journalist and owner of Borrobol Estate in Sutherland, who will speak on Land Reform and Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb who will talk on firearms issues.
Charlie Whelan, first ambassador of the recently established SGA Fishing Group, and former political adviser to Gordon Brown, will speak on the challenges facing fishery management.
Deer will also be a hot topic, with independent woodland adviser Victor Clements outlining some of the burning issues regarding the management of deer whilst promoting woodland growth.
Josephine Pemberton, University of Edinburgh, will also detail her fascinating work in deer research on the island of Rum in the Inner Hebrides.
The project is one of the longest and most complete scientific studies of a wild vertebrate population in the world, with work ongoing since 1953 and the ‘North Block’ since 1972.
Dr James Fenton will cast an expert eye over our moorlands and their species, as he did in the SGA paper ‘A Future for Moorland in Scotland’.
The SGA is delighted to have Marsdens Game Feeds as the key sponsor of the biggest member event in the calendar and appreciates the ongoing relationship with the feed company.
Members should begin arriving at 9am for registration, before the 10am start. There will be tea and coffee and bacon or sausage rolls served during the registration process and all members must brings cards or their membership numbers, in order to gain access.
A hot lunch with tea and coffee will be served at 1pm, with an estimated finish time of 2.30pm.
SGA merchandise will be on sale as will raffle tickets for our excellent fishing raffle which will be drawn on 27th May.
SGA partners Kings cover crops will have a stand at the AGM and those planning to attend should assist with catering and seating by contacting the SGA office on or by calling 01738 587 515.

Monday 15 February 2016


Still time to register for GWCT Rat Control for Gamekeepers training courses in Angus and Dumfries.
A limited number of places remain on the rodenticide training courses being run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust near Drumlanrig, Dumfries-shire (10 March), and Glenogil, Angus (11 March).
From July this year anyone without the proper certificate, or who does not have an alternative qualification for using aluminium phosphide gas, will be restricted to using amateur-pack rodenticides, or reliance on traps, shooting and terriers, for the control of rats.
The Rat Control for Gamekeepers course is classroom based and includes a one-hour long multiple-choice BASIS administered exam that can be taken on the day or preferably on-line during a two-week period after the course.
The course, which is jointly owned by GWCT, Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA), the Countryside Alliance, the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU), is approved by the HSE.
Hugo Straker of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust says:
"This course has been put together by those directly involved in the sector for the sector and having this qualification will be an essential part of every gamekeeper’s skill set.  Successful attendees will be able to purchase and deploy second generation anticoagulant rodenticides in open rural areas as part of their integrated approach for enhancing biodiversity, the conservation of ground nesting birds, food security and of course human health."
The course cost for members of the owning organisations is £150.00 plus VAT, discounted from the £200 plus VAT for non members, and includes course literature, training, the examination, and certificate allowing the purchase and use of professional rodenticides. 
For more information and for those wishing to attend one of the courses contact: 
Irene Johnston
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Scottish HQ
Telephone: 01738 551511

Friday 12 February 2016


SGA Members and supporters should make themselves aware that the following course is available, aimed at ensuring sporting customers value their visit and continue coming back to Scotland.
Scotland is renowned internationally for providing premium country sports experiences from grouse shooting and red deer stalking to salmon angling on some of the most famous rivers in the world.

Invitation to Excellence in Country Sports Customer Care Course
The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group is delivering the course 'Excellence in Country Sports Customer Care' throughout Scotland; this is essential for Gamekeepers, Ghillies and Stalkers and for those who come into contact with country sports clients to help achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction in an increasingly global market.
The course hopes to bring together people delivering a range of sport in Scotland in an educational, informative and fun way, with plenty of opportunities for discussions and learning from the experience of others in the same field.
The course content looks at how to deliver excellent customer care and service surrounding country sports situations.
We would be delighted if you, or any members of your Estate Team, would like to join us for one of our forthcoming courses detailed below.
 Course Outline:
The course seeks to promote the importance of excellent communication between the provider and client at all potential contact points. It looks at: 
Understanding the different types of country sports customers and their specific needs. 
Ensuring the customer understands the basic requirements of the sport they are about to embark upon.
Understanding the important role you play in the customer's decision to return
Ways to meet the customer's expectations and add value to their experience 
The Customer Service Journey - how this relates to your role
Identifying appropriate service language and behaviours with clients 
Handling difficult situations effectively and learning simple recovery processes
Briefly looking at why the Country Sports industry is so important to you, the estate and Scotland. 
The Trainer:
Nicki Barnett comes from a Tourism and Events background, establishing her own hospitality and catering business 12 years ago. Many of her clients are Country Sports guests and Scottish country houses and estates who regularly use her services to look after their guests from all over the world. With a MA (Hons) from the University of Aberdeen and with TEFL and LANTRA qualifications she spent 6 years living and working in Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand, teaching in the first 2 and in the Tourism Industry in NZ looking after overseas visitors to the country. Originally from a farming background, she has established a lot of links and contacts with sporting estates and country sports providers as well as a range of other service, catering, activity and transport providers throughout Scotland. She often provides catering herself to many of her long term guests and clients. She is thrilled to be involved and working together with the SCSTG in providing the Excellence in Customer Care courses.
 Course Details:
Thursday 17th March 2016 – BASC Offices, Trochry, by Dunkeld, Perthshire PH8 0DY
Time:    9.30am registration / 10am Start / End 3pm
Cost:    £100 per delegate
 It may be possible to claim 50% towards the training from Skills Development Scotland.
Refreshments / Lunch / Course Materials / SCSTG Customer Care Manual / Certificate
For further information or to book a place please email  or call 01350 723226

Thursday 11 February 2016


The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has welcomed the decision by Scottish Government to consult on the possibility of tightly defined exemption from the tail docking ban for working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers.
A Scottish Government-commissioned study by Glasgow University Veterinary School showed that, in one working season, Spaniels and HPRs which did not have a third of their tail removed were 15 to 20 times more likely to be injured in their work.
We would now encourage all members, owners with experience of this issue in Spaniels and HPRs and those with an interest in the welfare of these working dogs to share their views in the consultation which was published yesterday by Scottish Government.
The consultation will close on May 3rd. You can find all details here:

Should anyone require any assistance with completing the consultation, please contact the SGA office on 01738 587 515.

Welcoming the announcement SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: "Scottish Government commissioned research covering one working season (2011) showed that Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers (HPRs) whose tail tips were not shortened by one third were 15 to 20 times more likely to sustain a tail injury whilst working in thick undergrowth, bramble and forest.
“The possible exemption, as we understand it, would be targeted specifically at those animals that are in this proven high risk category, with a shortening of the tail by a vet in the first five days of a pup’s life being undertaken to protect those dogs from avoidable harm and suffering in later life.“Tail treatment in an adult dog, often resulting in amputation, can be complex, traumatic and prolonged and taking sensible steps to prevent this greater harm, we feel, should be part and parcel of responsible ownership of working Spaniels and HPRs. “The aforementioned research also showed, for example, that over 1 in 2 of the Spaniels in the study sustained a tail injury in the one working season (56 per cent). If a parent was told a medical treatment would prevent a one-in-two chance of their child from contracting a harmful condition in later life, taking this preventative action would be viewed as in the interest of the child’s wellbeing and we feel the welfare of these at-risk dogs deserves the same attention.”