Shot buzzard found dead on Scottish sporting estate

Police Scotland are appealing for information after a dead buzzard was discovered on a Scottish sporting estate in the Highlands.

A member of the public discovered the corpse in woodland ‘in the Dulsie area’ on 15 March 2020 and a subsequent post-mortem revealed it had been shot.

[Buzzard, photographer unknown]

An x-ray revealing the extent of the shot damage has not been released so it’s impossible to comment on the likelihood that the bird was shot close to where it was found or whether it had been able to travel some distance before succumbing to its injuries.

Police wildlife crime officer Constable Daniel Sutherland said: “Positive work is constantly ongoing in the Highlands in relation to raptor persecution so it is sad and disappointing to find another incident like this reported to us.

I am grateful to the member of the public who came across the bird and reporting it. Our enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing.

Anyone with information is about this incident or may have seen anything suspicious in this area are asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting reference NM502/20 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.”

30 thoughts on “Shot buzzard found dead on Scottish sporting estate”

    1. Truth is, we haven’t. What we have are a set of authoritarian Chief Constables, aided by an hysterical Press, media and bossy busy-bodies, trying to invent new laws independently of Parliament.

        1. We haven’t been banned from the country. If I were replying to John my comment would have indented.

          1. We have been banned from travelling to other parts of the country. Those with an interest in ensuring a good crop of ground nesting birds can rest assured that fewer potential witnesses are out and about.

            1. “We have been banned from travelling to other parts of the country”

              No, we have not. Look at the wording of the legislation.

              1. Try explaining that to a soldier at a road block in North Yorkshire(also known as the killing fields)-But gamekeeping and shooting should not be classed as essential jobs and should be put on hold in the present situation.

              2. Unless one is in possession of letter declaring that one’s travel is essential, one will be knocked back when stopped by the cops. That is the practical fact on the ground. You can be as pedantic as you like about my use of the word “banned” and whether or not it appears in the legislation, but practically I cannot travel beyond the environs of where I live because I will be stopped by the cops. Under these circumstances, the wording of the legislation is irrelevant. As is grumbling with me that I might have missed some important nuance. The chance remains that in the absence of visitors from other places using the great outdoors for recreation, a greater number of protected raptors will mysteriously disappear.

                1. “Unless one is in possession of letter declaring that one’s travel is essential”

                  Not true. You are making very heavy weather of this. The legislation says you may not travel ‘without reasonable excuse’. Nothing at all to do with it being ‘essential’. A list of reasonable excuses is supplied, but the list is not exclusive. There is a difference between ‘essential’ and ‘reasonable’.

                  I have travelled beyond the environs of where I live :-)

                    1. If you think so. It is not the law. It is impossible to contract or transmit any coronavirus if you travel alone, independently, at all times, but some Chief Constables appear keen to keep some people away from certain open areas, while other Chief Constables are behaving absolutely reasonably.

                      The most dangerous thing most people do is go to work, use public transport or attend a supermarket.

                    2. My experience of the law is that it is what the cops say it is. I would be very happy indeed if organised cells of volunteers were clandestinely to occupy the major killing fields of this country and by whatever means necessary bring a complete end to the canned hunting industry. So if you are up for a bit of law breaking, you would get my moral support, and if I were forty years younger, I would be one of the volunteers. At the moment though the first hurdle would be finding a way past the Scottish Police as they monitor the road system. The next would be dealing with the ire of small town folks who do not look kindly on visitors at the best of times, unless they are spending money. After that the gamekeepers, gillies and other lackeys whose toxic masculinity has a great time expressing itself in their work and whose capacity for reasoned argument is similar to the chess playing pigeon who thinks it won the game by shitting on the board, knocking over all the pieces and cooing contentedly.

  1. I fear that those criminals who are intent on committing wildlife crime, in particular killing raptors, will be taking full advantage of the recent stay at home policies, meaning far fewer witnesses to their illegal trapping, shooting and poisoning. My advice to anybody who lives within walking distance of open moorland is, on their Government recommended one walk a day, to go and take a walk on the hills and keep a keen eye out for any suspicious behaviour at the same time. If possible, film anything you may come across on your phone, which you suspect to be an incident related to wildlife criminality, and call you non emergency police number to report it. Further, download an app called ‘what3words’. You can use tbis when you’re out and it will give a very accurate location which the police work with and will understand. I worry by the time this virus situation is over and travel restrictions are lifted, we may face far fewer raptors on the hills than what we would expect to find…..

  2. Unfortunately the police (e.g. Derby & GMP) seem to be spreading a lot of misinformation.

    1. The police seem to be making up their own rules to stop people’s right to exercise stating that someone could have an accident whilst out walking and would put undue strain on emergency services.

      Whilst out walking my dogs along a dis-used railway line next to a nature reserve all I could hear was birdsong – and shotgun fire. I’m not ‘allowed’ to drive the 5 miles to this wide-open space yet shooters can carry on as they please. Pandemic or no pandemic they’ve got to carry on killing wildlife, even more so when no-one’s watching.

  3. I think we should be expecting any amount of tags to stop transmitting throughout this lockdown, gamekeepers really do have unchecked free rein on the hills just now with government backing to keep the public away from any potential wildlife crimes.

  4. Anyone want to give examples of “Positive work is constantly ongoing in the Highlands in relation to raptor persecution…”

    Or is that the usual throw-away to keep Fergus and his tweedy pals happy?

    1. No wonder we view those in power as being duplicitous. For decades we have been bombarded by words (some would say “fiction”). Raptors continue to be killed. Law enforcement is a results driven business, but no one, with a straight face, can claim that the results are anything other than very poor.

      We are now being told that we can only take exercise once per day. Who is behind that drivel. The Regulations enacted By Parliament last Thursday do not state once per day.

      The Regulations and only the regulations are the law. What others want us to think is the law is tosh. In fact, any statement that misrepresents what the law states is an attempt to subvert the law.

      BTW where is the Scottish version of “The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England)
      Regulations 2020”. [enacted 26 March 2020]
      Anyone seen it / does it yet exist ?

      1. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020

        Restrictions on movement
        5.—(1) Except to the extent that a defence would be available under regulation 8(4), during the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living. …….

        Offences and penalties
        8.—(1) A person who contravenes a requirement in regulation 3 to 7 commits an offence. ……

        (4) It is a defence to a charge of committing an offence under paragraph (1), (2) or (3) to show that the person, in the circumstances, had a reasonable excuse. ………

        (5) In paragraph (4), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

        (b)to take exercise, either alone or with other members of their household,……..

        (f)to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living,

  5. Can I just say that discussions about the finer points of the law do not work well when confronting police who believe they are acting within its limits. And we must remember that the powers at be here, those with an interest in maintaining the status quo, those who profit from or are employed by this so called responsible custodianship of the land are incapable of engaging with reason nor accepting the conclusions of science. Here for example a recent facebook post from a fairly typical supporter of the status quo:

    “OK folks we are all in lockdown so what better to do with our time but point the blame for loss of wildlife on those who really are the guilty party.
    RSPB for their inefficiency and waste of public money.
    Nature Scotland for their lack of direction and ability to protect vulnerable wildlife.
    Wild Justice for their complete lack of ability to understand conservation and their promotion of policies that will wipe out thousands of rare and endangered upland species.
    All the charitable conservation landowners who have taken millions from the public purse and overseen huge reductions in species numbers on their holdings.
    The destructive habitat policies promoted by those advocating Rewilding..
    The list goes on .. we need to flood Twitter and Face Book with the reality of what these organisations etc. have not achieved and show the damage they have done … when this virus is over there will be little public money to keep these charities afloat, lets make it easy for people to understand that with these charities gone our wildlife has a better chance of survival and there’s little need to spend money on what are their current failures.”

    To these words were attached a bunch of photos of predators killing protected native species and farm animals. As if this were to hammer home the point.

  6. It is worrying that during this period of lock down, certain individuals will use the lack of public presence on the grouse moors or in the countryside to get up to mischief, and my first hand experience is that this is already happening!

    Only this Friday I was out on my local moor watching some buzzards, when I came across a man, who had driven along a remote track, get out of his vehicle with a .22 calibre rifle and scope. He wasn’t one of the local gamekeepers. When challenged, he claimed to be up there to shoot rabbits? Really? Regardless of what he intended to shoot, he was certainly committing an offence of:- possession of a firearm in a public place.
    I reported the matter to the police- but I think no one was available to attend- perhaps they were all manning road blocks??

    Certainly the heavy handed approach by some senior police officers who have taken it upon themselves to instruct officers to go out and set up road checks. And the fact that those officers manning the check points appear to be self interpreting the law, often in a way which is not within the wording of the legislation, and with apparent little understanding of what the legislation is trying achieve is concerning.

    As, has been said in other posts, it is pointless trying to argue with officers at road checks.

    But, for those of you who regularly go out onto the moors to monitor raptors as part of raptor monitoring groups, or who have the various licences for ringing birds or approaching nests etc- it might be worthwhile writing to Chief Constables requesting permission to travel to the grouse moors, on the grounds of having a “reasonable excuse” to carry on with your vital work? We are approaching nesting season- so surely if the various raptor conservation projects are to be successful then there is a need to be out on the moors?

    If a gamekeeper can travel up onto the moors, shouldn’t you be able to do so also?

    Good luck !!

    But I suspect all rational decision making has been swept aside as fear and panic grips the nation during this Coronavirus pandemic.

    Certainly, the moors I can reach from home will be visited !!

    1. John L wrote:-

      “But, for those of you who regularly go out onto the moors to monitor raptors as part of raptor monitoring groups, or who have the various licences for ringing birds or approaching nests etc- it might be worthwhile writing to Chief Constables requesting permission to travel to the grouse moors, on the grounds of having a “reasonable excuse” to carry on with your vital work?”

      Yes, that might be worth doing just to see the response.

      1. It’s a voluntary service which can’t be performed from home so falls within the allowed exceptions.

        The problem with specifically asking for authorisation is that it might just lead to further restrictions being imposed.

        Better, I think, to follow Douglas Bader’s lead “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

    2. I saw this earlier which reinforces your point and Keith’s.

      *The Derbyshire Police force said the advice it issued to the public following the overcrowding “was in line with national government instruction and echoed what people in our communities were saying”.

      However, Lord Sumption (a Law Lord ret’d) said the efforts to dissuade people from “travelling to take exercise in the open country” were excessive.

      He argued that such behaviours “are not contrary to the regulations simply because ministers have said that they would prefer us not to”.

      Lord Sumption continued: “The police have no power to enforce ministers’ preferences but only legal regulations which don’t go anything like as far as the government’s guidance.”

      “The tradition of policing in this country is that policemen are citizens in uniform, they are not members of a disciplined hierarchy operating just at the government’s command,” he said.

      “I have to say that the behaviour of Derbyshire Police in trying to shame people in using their undoubted right to travel to take exercise in the country and their wrecking beauty spots in the fells so that people don’t want to go there is frankly disgraceful.

      “This is what a police state is like.”

  7. Two *excellent* posts by Duncan (Spence) and John L above.

    Besides the shooting industry taking advantage, so too are contractors for national, regional and local infrastructure projects, where ‘awkward’ environmental prohibitions may be ignored with impunity:-(

    I suspect that some representatives of these industries have lobbied Chief Constables to keep the ‘hoi polloi’ out of the countryside, just for this purpose.

  8. As long as most of the lay public think that it is the law that they need to stay indoors, go out once a day, stay away from the countryside, beaches, then at least that may keeps the usual hoards away from these places, we’ve seen how the advice has been flouted by many in the first stages But for those that know where they’re rights are in this, and know they will not encounter those ‘hoards’ up in the hills I say crack on, and protect our wildlife. If I want to walk to the coastal path 1.5 miles from were I live, I will because I know, from experience, there will be no-one else there, or maybe one-two others, easily avoided.But if i did go there and there were cars parked all over the place I would turn back…and thats on a normal day as I dont enjoy walking in crowds…defeats the point; even more so now.

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