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.