Grouse-shooting debate featured in UK’s best-selling hillwalking magazine

There’s a very good feature article on grouse shooting in the December 2020 edition of Trail magazine, apparently ‘The UK’s best-selling hillwalking magazine’.

Written by Sarah Ryan, it’s an excellent introduction to this controversial activity and is ideal for readers who may not already be familiar with the subject (with only a few minor inaccuracies – e.g. badger killing is an offence and shouldn’t be listed as legal predator control).

Sarah sets the scene with an overview, including an explanation of the difference between driven and walked-up shooting and the environmental costs and damage of associated practices such as muirburn, legal predator control, medicated grit, the use of lead ammunition, the construction of shooting butts and hill tracks, the use of all-terrain vehicles on sensitive habitats and of course the illegal killing of birds of prey, with a special focus on golden eagles and hen harriers.

There then follows a series of contributions from conservationists (Chris Packham), Peak District gamekeeper Richard Bailey (who has previously been identified by the shady grouse shooting astroturf group C4PMC as being [one of] ‘Our People‘ – see here), Duncan Orr-Ewing (Head of Species & Land Management at RSPB Scotland) and Professor Alan Werritty, author of the now infamous government-commissioned Werritty Review (for which we’re still waiting for a response from the Scottish Government as we approach the year anniversary of the report’s submission on 18th November 2019).

The whole article can’t be reproduced here – if you want to read it you’ll have to buy the magazine – but to be honest, most of this blog’s audience will already be well versed with the arguments put forward and won’t be surprised by any of the views.

The value of this article is the potential it has to reach a new audience of people who are clearly interested in the outdoors but who may not previously have appreciated the environmental devastation taking place up on those moors.

12 thoughts on “Grouse-shooting debate featured in UK’s best-selling hillwalking magazine”

  1. Same old drivel from the grousers. They manage the land for waders, balance etc. They manage the moors for grouse yield and the wader success is a coincidental factor in their management. There won’t be many coffers or even consideration spent on wader numbers on driven grouse moors.
    Balance? Zero predators in any environment is not what I would call balance, nor is lack of succession! Same old brainwashed drivel!

  2. This is big news. I used to regularly buy Trail and TGO and I am an avid hill Walker and occasional mountaineer (my crampons are now referred to as shed ornaments). Until about 10 years ago I was under the delusion of Gammekeeper ageing true Guadiana of the countryside and they maintained the beauty of our uplands. After discussions with my twitcher mate I finally saw what was realy going on with upland land management.

    This has had a detrimental effect on my enjoyment of the mountains and fells of the UK, since I started to see what was missing. The flip side is when you discover over places like glenfeshie you suddenly see how beautiful the land could be.

    Hopefully people more people will start to see what’s missing, although there are a significant proportion of walkers that like the bare nature of or uplands since it affords constant views.

    1. Mike, it is a sad day when the realisation hits home and it does take from the whole ‘natural’, experience. All the significant proportion of walkers will need to do is get above the tree line for their constant views but in a more natural landscape these views would be enhanced with the natural flora and fauna in my opinion.

  3. If the driven grouse shooters actually improve habitat for waders etc., that is simply an accident and they are claiming credit for THAT? In reality they do nothing for waders etc, which isn’t simply accidentally beneficial.
    They have no record of doing anything for ‘Nature’ unless it is aimed specifically at producing more Red Grouse to be shot. They cannot show of any scheme they have deliberately invested in, to further the cause of successfully breeding waders. What they HAVE done is; killed anything they deem to be a predator on their artificially high numbers of Red Grouse. Nature without natural predators, in balance, is not ‘Nature’ at all and the only folk, apparently, who do not know that are the Driven Grouse Shooting fraternity and their obedient servants.

  4. Raising awareness in the people that use the outdoors for recreation or work can only be a good thing. I don’t usually buy this magazine as it’s just full of adverts, but will buy this months copy. With the recent statement by the BMC and UK Hillwalking doing a few blog posts, the issues are slowly creeping into the outdoor sector.

    As a mountain leader and keen walker myself, while out with clients, I always talk about wildlife crime and how to recognise, record and report. The number of people that still don’t realise what happens in our uplands is still very high.

    A colleague and myself have recently written an article for Professional Mountaineer magazine and is due to be published in the December issue. (Albeit very diplomatic) We are hoping to get the Mountain Training Association to allow us to run CPD courses for the outdoor sector in the 3 R’s, so they to can pass on the right information to their clients.

    Raising awareness and spreading the word to mountaineers and people who walk the hills is a big part in the battle against wildlife crime.

    Well done Trail magazine, my faith is restored (nearly).

  5. Grouse shooting is good for the environment, have a guess why wild live thrive on grouse moors , it’s because it’s managed 🤦🏻‍♂️ So stop giving it a bad Name because it’s not true do some actual tests on its impact on the environment and don’t make up story’s and then finally you will see what’s the truth

  6. Please do some proper tests on its environmental impact, not random things that support your case. Just think why grouse moors are such a haven for wild life, it’s because they are well managed, and have been for generations so stop making a ruckus and giving it a bad name because you will never win this one sided battle

  7. All people should know & understand the situation on England & Scotlands uplands regarding practices that occur up out of sight there. This enables people to forn an educated opinion on the subject for themselves
    I will not go any deeper into practice of keepers etc. But if you care about nature you will soon make your own mind up, so this is a good thing to allow people to be aware. IAN

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