Scotland’s gamekeepers are revolting

Scotland’s gamekeepers are apparently very very angry. So angry they’re going to revolt. Well, protest.

But protest about what? Apparently about having to work within the law.

It’s all so unfair.

This is all part of the response to last week’s news that the Scottish Government has finally reached the end of its tether with the criminality associated with driven grouse shooting and has decided to implement a licensing scheme, not just to tackle the ongoing lawlessness but also to reign in the associated environmental damage (see here).

Here’s how the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) reacted to the news, with this statement on its website:

And here’s a further reaction the following day, announcing in a tragic display of victimisation, a series of what it calls ‘localised direct protests’:

You’d think that they’d just been told that gamekeeping was no longer an option and that all their guns, traps, poisons and snares had to be surrendered with immediate effect.

It’s only a licensing scheme, FFS. What’s the problem? Scared that it’ll be difficult/impossible to comply with regulations?

39 thoughts on “Scotland’s gamekeepers are revolting”

  1. Awww bless….take away their guns and these people are just little persecuted infants, so used to being given special privilege to harm without redress, they instantly go into victim mode when challenged.

  2. Interesting how the gamekeepers association feel that they “…have a target painted on their backs”…oooh the temptation to run with that one.
    Shall resist.
    And the, “……elite charities….” that are persecuting gamekeepers. Perhaps they mean “prosecute” ….you know…for breaking the law????

  3. What a pile of shite. I’d be having a good laugh at all this ‘it’s-not-fair’ bleating if DGS licensing would mean that these lackeys would be subject to real change and real scrutiny, but that will not be the case. They’ll continue to huff, puff, and, er, then help the Scottish Government write and implement a DGS licensing system; as Gougeon has already stated. The whiney gameys are simply doing their masters bidding in a piss-poor attempt at public outrage. They’ll be absolutely tickety-boo when the licensing gets implemented.

  4. Can [Ed: driven grouse shooting estates] have a sustainable business without killing raptors and other wildlife, without burning precious landscapes? I don’t think they can!!!

    They are running scared, this is just the beginning.

    They know they [Ed: rest of this sentence is libellous]

    My heart bleeds for them.

  5. Currently it’s so easy to draw parallels between the SGA and DJ Trump.
    The government have decided to ban grouse shooting unless conditions are adhered to…. Or you could look at it differently and say that the government have decided to enshrine grouse shooting in law. I would have thought that SGA would have welcomed having a law to legalise their outdated barberous hobby?
    Could it be that they know that they will have difficulty complying?

  6. I am curious. The gamekeepers won’t be paying the license for the shoot. So why are the gamekeepers so worried?

    It will be the shoot owner and must be attached to the land so that shoot owners can’t hide behind a myriad of off-shore holding companies. Once the license is lost, it is lost for the prescribed duration.

    I think the gamekeepers know that the mono-culture grouse business can only continue to produce the level of profit the owners demand, if they can get away with the draining, burning, trapping and raptor persecution. Plus the added payment of a license fee and dgs look at little less attractive to investors.

    I rather suspect the little “hobby” shoot owners are mostly not too worried. There is a couple near me where you see Crows, Ravens, Kestrels, Peregrines and occasionally a few grouse etc contrast that with large commercial operation where you see and hear nothing but lots of grouse.

    The targets will be painted on the backs of game keepers by the shoot owners still demanding the continued criminality to deliver the profits!

  7. Toys and pram …… er, no they have no toys, only a rather more precarious employment future !
    They need to be constantly reminded that they are neither needed, nor respected, by the modern world.
    A more wooded and less burnt future beckons for the driven grouse moors – oh, and more raptors !
    The capital value of these current upland deserts is already falling.

    Keep up the pressure !

  8. If they could look at another way of working in the countryside and maintain their salaries and possibly tips if they changed their working day to taking out wildlife tourists on the land and show them live birds and animals. There is big business in eco tourism as I spent many of my years doing just that. It is very pleasurable and no killing involved and as far as shooting goes all one shoots insphotographs to show what a wonderful country Scotland is for such a variety of birds and animals. Especially our raptors, especially now that Red Kites and White tailed Eagles are now to be seen in many areas.
    Take a peek at Glen Feshie and what is happening there, with the countryside coming back into what it looked like many years ago. Eagles, Hen Harriers all breeding in good numbers. Gamekeepers wake up to a prosperous future which is your own hands if you want it.

  9. Toys out of pram time for the SGA and their erstwhile leader Alex Hoggwash. Is this the proof that they know that DGS cannot survive if they all stay within the law, it seems as if that may be the logical conclusion. Then again it may be the first shot in the campaign by the lovers of Edwardian and Victorian sporting attitudes to make the final government proposals for licencing as weak as possible. They should think themselves lucky I’d have given their reasons for employment the bums rush down the toilet.

  10. Scotlands gamekeepers well most of them have always been revolting in my honest opinion anyone who takes on a job that consists of destroying wild creatures is revolting to most right minded people.

  11. It was all so easy for them to avoid as well, although I doubt they consider their actions in any way contributory to their current predicament. I honestly cannot fathom why the SGA, SLE, Moorland groups etc… refuse to see the obvious trap (pardon the pun) they set for themselves.

    All they have ever had to do is cooperate when a wildlife crime is suspected. Easy. If, as they claim, they are mostly compliant with the law, and persecution is indeed just a rather widespread ‘minority’; then help to expose the criminals that risk your way of life. It’s really is that simple. Did a colleague shoot a HH? Phone the police, and protect the wider reputation of gamekeepers.

    Instead they close ranks, hide behind partnership working and make outlandish excuses (such as Alex Hogg has here in suggesting estates will be framed). Just root out the criminals and the scrutiny would have largely gone away. Now that the overall reputation of the industry is by and large negative within the general population, people will rightly spotlight on the wider issues of ecological and environmental devastation caused by DGS.

  12. If the “elite charities with big influence over politicians” were as remotely as powerful, well-connected or wealthy as those behind driven grouse shooting then the ‘sport’ would have ended or at the least subjected to stricter controls decades ago. Was I imagining the support they got from Conservative MPs representing shooting interests in the debate on DGS? Did I dream that Conservative ministers and significant party donors have a close connection with and an interest in perpetuating DGS? What other ‘sporting’ activity enjoys such direct patronage from the royal family? I suspect that if one were to delve into the archives then you’d find similar jeremiads from the same lobby every time legislative measures designed to protect wildlife and their habitats was suggested. Finding out would make an interesting research project.

  13. If I was a gamekeeper I’d be up in arms as well. Is that really the best that Alex Hogg can come up with? The only things he left out were the hungry children shivering in the snow.

  14. in what other walk of life would xxxxx be looking for sympathy just because society has asked them not to break the law? Hogg and the like look like total idiots and are in cloud cuckoo land if they think the public will give a rats arse about them. Their arrogant contempt for wildlife and other people, underpinned by ecological illiteracy is coming home to roost.

    xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx. Its a simple enough concept that most of us live to ” if you break the law expect there to be penalties”. Society is realising that DGS is a grubby little industry that is socially unacceptable on pretty much all levels. Its like a snare on DGS getting tighter and tighter and it will never loosen up.

  15. It may only be a licensing scheme but I, for one, see it as a step towards a total ban. The sooner the better.

  16. There will be a real chance of people being set up by simply finding a dead bird of prey, shooting it then leaving it to be found, reported and then what happens. I pass lots of buzzards and owls dead on the roads, so easy to do. But apart from that and the possible cost of a licence then I dont think theres anything to worry about, from the shooting point of view.
    Theres no doubt about it if we want increasingly rare Curlews, Lapwings and other ground nesting birds to successfully breed, then certain predators need to be controlled or reduced, ie foxes and crows, and mink in fact the rspb are already allowing this, in some places, though they keep rather quiet about it, if people disagree with removing foxes, then why do the rspb go to such lengths to protect nesting birds on some of their reserves by erecting fences to keep out the predators, the science and studies have already been done.
    I dont know what the fuss is about this licence proposal, shooting will still go on, its never been so popular, and a march wont do any good, just keep your noses clean and carry on.

    1. Apart from the bollocks about “being set up” and the usual dismal, diversionary guff about “ground nesting birds” this is all true: the shooting lobby have nothing to fear and a lot to gain from a DGS licensing scheme. It confirms what some of us in the opposition camp have been warning the misguided advocates of DGS licensing all along.

    2. They’ve been using the excuse of ‘set ups’ for decades Raymond, so I have no idea what point you’re trying to make here. Perhaps you’re just projecting the fanaticism of driven grouse shooting supporters on to members of the general public; I assure you, they have much better things to do than trying to find dead birds, shooting them and then placing them on estates. You’re just trying to offer plausible deniability to what we already know is widespread, illegal persecution. Why would you do that?

      As for your comments about ground nesting birds, foxes and the numerous other mammals culled intensively on driven grouse moors have coexisted for millennia. Driven grouse shooting hasn’t even existed for 200 years. How do you think they managed before then? Just because we live in modified landscapes does not mean we shouldn’t focus on the real cause of their declines; habitat loss and intensive agriculture. The trapping and snaring of native wildlife should be banned outright and has absolutely no place in our national parks.

      You state, without any evidence, that shooting is more popular than ever, but you fail to mention that is only in relative terms. In reality, only around 1% of rural people partake in game shooting, so it’s an absolute minority. It’s a myth, pushed by shooting lobbies, that this activity somehow underpins rural communities. Also, the more exposure that shooting gets, the more the general public can see that it’s an unregulated mess, with a whole host of negative externalities that not only affect our wildlife communities but also the people surrounding them. Soon enough, driven grouse shooting will be banned entirely and that day can’t come soon enough

  17. Evidence that they have gotten away with far too much for far too long that a little bit of licensing has got their knickers in a twist.

  18. Dear Revolting Gamekeepers,

    We see no evidence of the benefits of game bird killing, to the community or country. You offer plenty of inflated figures, sometimes in the £billions, for the local communities. You never offer actual accounts because of course much of the profits, I guess, disappear to tax havens.

    Have you considered why this situation has come about? Perhaps, sixty years of criminal behaviour against raptors and many other protected species. Or is it the continued destruction of habitat to sustain xxxxx gun fodder? Or atmospheric pollution, or flooding, or wiping out natural forests, or your inability to stop spraying toxic lead all over the countryside.

    The amount of toxic lead shot at live targets and scattered around is up to 34 grammes per shot. One doesn’t need to be a genius to calculate to lead used to kill hundreds of thousands of birds. Don’t forget the shots fired without hitting the target. On average, based on x-ray images of birds shot, much of the 34 gr. shot, fired is wasted to add to the local pollution.

    Your comment “elite charities” is laughable when one considers the wealth and privilege supporting your sordid industry. The clients with their £thousands squandered on a killing spree, day out and booze. They are the elite in terms of wealth! Being in the “upper echelons” of society, especially those that own and manage business, are they using the killing, to temper their psychotic tendencies? Sadly, I have known several psychotic bosses.

    Now let us examine the “many benefits gamekeepers deliver”. I’m afraid this leaves me blank. The gamekeepers that I have heard speaking, often shoot themselves in the proverbial foot, with fairy tales about how many birds would not survive without their intervention. Sometimes they do come out with some real crackers (it is getting near to Christmas, we need some cracker jokes), “how the countryside would be destroyed, if they were not around to manage it.” Yes, it would become wild, wilderness and nature, surprisingly, has coped for millions of years without your monoculture farming and interference.

    Of course prehistoric man did use driven game techniques to obtain meat for their families but they had a need. Unlike todays driven game killing, with no need, no purpose, no skill and a waste of life.

    The records show that Covid lockdown, simply gave the xxxxxxxx a licence to illegally kill raptors and probably many other species, while observers were locked away.

    You are a minority group and without scrutiny, your intent to xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

    Conclusion – gamekeepers, open your eyes to the devastation you create and get it into your heads that criminal behaviour against the laws of our land, does not endear xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

    Gamekeeping is heading towards a total ban because xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx The sooner the better. I apologise to that very rare individual that complies with the law.

    You simply have two choices.
    One. Continue as your are and disappear.
    Two. Comply with the laws and remove the “bad apples”.

    Yours sincerely.


  19. Gamekeepers, if you believe the government are not listening to you or don’t care about you, do what others have done before, go on strike.
    Give us all a break.

  20. It’s about time that gamekeepers came to realise that the rest of us are sick to death of the way they kill raptors, hares, and other creatures with impunity! If they don’t abide by the law, then they deserve to lose their license! They are not above the law!

  21. The vast majority of other businesses models all comply to some sort of licensing so, why shouldn’t the game shooting industry? If they stick within the law they have little if anything to fear. Welcome to the 21st Century! They have had more than ample time and opportunity to get their own house in order and obviously were not able to/willing to so they have brought this onto themselves.

  22. The bullying tone of the SGA response says it all really. Already, on my local shooting estate I can see the ‘pro-shooting stakeholders’ militia mobilising itself. This could get quite unpleasant.

    It’s a great start and well done to the SNP for being so bold. But there is a way to go yet especially in terms of determining the terms of the license and then policing its implementation. And without wildlife Rangers on the ground – as they have in the US, for example – I wonder how much will really change on those grouse moors when all the fuss has died down?

  23. I know that others have already commented on the point, but I find the reference to ‘elite charities with big influence over politicians’ a strong qualifier for the joke of the year. How I wish that it was true. However, we all know in which direction and from which watersheds these rivers of influence on politicians really flow.

  24. I find it hard to believe that the gamekeeping fraternity/sorority are blind to the ‘few bad apples’ they have claimed gives the profession a bad name. Had they outed the bad apples, whether estates or gamies, they wouldn’t be in this position. Their position is self inflicted.

  25. The opening sentence in the tirade by the SGA -“This decision will anger our community”, demonstrates just how out of touch the SGA are with modern society.

    Perhaps the SGA should reflect that the persecution and illegal killing of raptors, the senseless slaughter of mountain hares, the environmental damage caused by muirburn, and the needless killing and suffering inflicted on such much other wildlife just to supply DGS with an unnatural number of grouse to shoot hasn’t just angered a small community- it has angered the vast majority of society.

    How many times was the DGS industry warned that the criminal activity which was taking place on grouse moors would not be tolerated indefinitely?
    Those warnings that illegal raptor persecution was not acceptable, even came from organisations like the BASC, Moorland Association and the GWCT.

    So is it any wonder that the SG would eventually act, when even during Covid lockdown there was evidence that illegal raptor persecution was still taking place. Crimes which could only have been committed by those who still had access to the moors, when the rest of society was denied.

    The SGA could have acted before the SG made the decision to introduce licencing.
    The SGA could have expelled gamekeepers convicted or suspected of committing wildlife crimes.[Ed: the SGA claims to have expelled six gamekeepers convicted of wildlife crimes]
    It could have sanctioned members who did not strictly adhere to best practice when managing the land and environment.
    It could have avoided licensing if action had been taken to stop the illegal persecution of raptors on or in the vicinity of grouse moors.

    These issues were highlighted in the Werrity Report, and the DGS industry, and all those employed in it, had a year to reflect on those findings and make the necessary changes.

    So now when the government has been compelled to act, instead of a mature acceptance that things needed to change, we see a juvenile type tantrum, along with cries of persecution and victimisation.

    Ironic really, when for decades it is the wildlife and raptors which have been victimised and persecuted.

  26. I’m amused at the notion that gamekeeper is a profession that’s worth preserving! I mean I doubt there was any worries on their part when hundreds of thousands of shipyard workers, steel workers and miners lost their jobs, why do they think that their so special that they should not be affected by life’s changes?

    Even if the end of DGS was to mean the end of the gamekeeper, exactly how many jobs would be lost? A few hundred at most! If they were really forward thinking they would be seizing the opportunity to develop the role into one that was a genuine steward of the environment. Their knowledge and abilities could be well used in wildlife guiding and management of the land for conservation. History shows that the luddites always lose, change is inevitable and if they embrace it there is a future for them, but not if they continue to cling to outdated “traditions” and practices.

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