‘Unfair to accuse gamekeepers of wildlife crime’, says gamekeeper Alex

In an article published in The Courier on 30 May 2011, Ian Thomson, an investigator for the RSPB, expressed his concern about the high number of wild birds illegally killed in Tayside. 14 incidents were recorded there between March 2010 and March 2011.  In the same article, it is reported that PC Bryan Prestwood, a wildlife crime officer based in Angus, ‘believes the biggest problem is with gamekeepers and land managers’. Full article here

In an angry response published on 6 June 2011, Alex Hogg suggested it was ‘unfair to accuse gamekeepers of wildlife crime’. His letter here

I think people will make up their own minds Alex, based on the factual evidence and government statistics. You’ve even said yourself, on many occasions, that if gamekeepers were to be given licences to kill protected raptors then illegal raptor poisoning would stop. This notion was also repeated last week by David Hendry of Cardney Estate in his BBC 2 Landward interview. Quite a strange prophecy from a ‘profession’ that claims not to be involved with wildlife crime, don’t you think?

For those still in any doubt whether some gamekeepers are involved in willdife crime, and specifically raptor persecution, here’s a link to a piece we wrote on the issue last year, including some revealing statistics provided by the RSPB. Here’s a link to another piece we wrote last year, with the most recently-published RSPB statistics. These show clearly that 85% of people who were convicted of illegally killing birds of prey between 2003-2008 were gamekeepers!

4 thoughts on “‘Unfair to accuse gamekeepers of wildlife crime’, says gamekeeper Alex”

  1. Alex Hogg has a point re the accusation of innocent gamekeepers without proof, we should all PAWS for thought and then accuse the ones who are blatantly getting away with wildlife murder under the very noses of the police. Lets just PAWS to recoup the recent methods used to kill our Raptors in alarmingly high numbers, the most highly preferred and easiest method is obviously indiscriminate poisoning using illegal and banned substances, bonus points here because the poison will kill anything that takes it and it’s highly unlikely that the poisoner will be caught given the track record of our police. Then there’s the setting of traps in places where they are most likely to kill Raptors, more bonus points here because these will also catch whatever else stands in the trap and you can use the excuse that the traps were only meant for “VERMIN”. Then of course there’s the old tried and tested method of shooting, problem with this method it’s a bit noisy and you might just be seen doing it, no bonus points here because the cartridges cost money and the shoot probably can’t afford it with all the Grouse/Pheasants/Partridge etc it’s losing due to the Raptors.


  2. Poor old PC Bryan Prestwood who probably even now is being hauled over the coals by superior officers who will by now have been approached by SGA and SRBPA. He will join a long line of good cops who’s careers were blighted by getting keen in this area and daring [or being naive, if new] to tell the truth…as the facts show.

    We need more gamekeepers and others in this so called profession, to stand up and tell the public what is actually going on…of course then they will be “black-balled” and shunned by their colleagues….

    Remember…all these protestations of innocence, in the face of overwhelming fact, are aimed at persuading the government to legalise the crimes taking place at present.

    1. You are quite right Dave. PC Bryan Prestwood (and Ian Thomson of RSPB) should be applauded for having the bottle to speak up. They also based their comments on proven facts. Alex Hogg seems to think that being a member of PAW gives the SGA immunity from criticism. He ends his letter to The Courier with the following line:

      “Unwarranted accusations from lone spokesmen are counterproductive to the spirit of cooperation to which our organisations are committed”.

      It’s funny that, because only one week before PC Prestwood made his comments, Alex Hogg himself launched a totally unwarranted attack on the RSPB (also a member of PAW), saying “RSPB regularly squanders the rich wildlife & rare species attracted to their reserves”. http://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/content/payouts-rich-bird-charity-are-criticised-sga

      Not only did Hogg not provide any statistics to back up his claim (what does “regularly squander” mean exactly?), but this slur could also be viewed as being “counterproductive to the spirit of cooperation”. Some might think his letter of complaint to The Courier is somewhat hypocritical.

  3. Shouldnt need any “bottle” for an RSPB staff member to speak out against raptor persecution – after all thats what RSPB has been doing for over a century – often a lone voice which suffered not only vitriolic attacks but often lost connections which would have aided other conservation work; unlike some they have always realised that their is no compromise when the survival of populations of birds of prey is involved.

    Enough support for RSPB, they are big enough to look after themselves…its the individual Wildlife cop you should worry about – I watched some fine officers get ground down just for trying to treat wildlife crime on shooting estates the same way they treated all other crime.Theyt got more hassle from their own Forces than from the criminals.

    Makes you ashamed of your own country at times, that such a situation can be allowed to continue.

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