Podcast discussion on how shooting industry could deal with its raptor-killing criminals

There’s an interesting and amusing podcast out this week, featuring Cardiff University senior lecturer Dr Rob Thomas talking to two blokes about how the shooting industry could deal with its raptor-killing criminals if it really wanted to, instead of shielding and supporting them.

The podcast was published by an outfit called The Yorkshire Gent, and you’ll need to get through some pretty tedious justification from the two presenters about why they’ve invited a ‘non-shooter’ as a podcast guest and how they expect to receive abuse (from their own supporters) for doing so, before getting to the actual interview itself.

Rob will be familiar to those who use Twitter (@RobThomas14) for his often thoughtful, sometimes teasing, commentary on ecology and gamebird management and its impact on biodiversity, especially birds of prey.

During the podcast discussion, Rob outlined some ideas about how the shooting community could tackle the issue of raptor persecution, for example by blacklisting estates and having a shooter-led boycott where it is obvious that criminal activity continues.

The two presenters seemed surprised that persecution hotspots could be identified (!!!) but after Rob gently pointed out that to deny the bleeding obvious was just laughable, they both agreed that yes, in principle, a blacklist approach could work.

[Five dead buzzards pulled from a hiding spot on a grouse-shooting estate at Bransdale in the North York Moors National Park during lockdown last year. Tests confirmed that four had been illegally shot. Photo from police bodycam – see here]

There was also discussion about raptor satellite-tagging and one of the presenters announced with great conviction that ‘tags can be tampered with’ (by the tag owners) and that he’d been ‘assured’ that this was possible – unfortunately he didn’t go on to explain who had ‘assured’ him or how this could be done. It’s absolute nonsense, of course, because if there was ever any suspicion that the tag owners had ‘faked’ the tag data (as a Director of the Scottish Gamekeepers Assoc has libellously claimed) the police can simply ask the tag manufacturer for a copy of the original tag data.

There was further discussion about why the shooting industry isn’t contributing resources to support the policing of raptor persecution crimes such as monitoring, satellite tagging and surveillance.

The podcast is available here. If you want to skip the tedious stuff, start at around 58 minutes.

2 thoughts on “Podcast discussion on how shooting industry could deal with its raptor-killing criminals”

  1. Naive or pretending to be naive-those shooters certainly were amusing! The shooter’s surprise at Rob’s ‘reasonable’ attitude was if course down to Rob’s diplomacy and tact.

    That aside, it was very interesting to hear Rob’s suggestions on how to deal with many undesirable aspects of DGS.

  2. I have just listened to the podcast and at first felt encouraged that reasonable little discussions can be had between people on ‘opposing sides’. Then I reflected that the ‘Yorkshire Gent’ presenters and their types are not really the opposing side, they are well mannered aficionados of the wider lifestyle of game shooting & ‘field sports’ etc, rather than big players within it. I can just imagine the real ‘oppposing side’ – the Agents and Owners (who probably number no more than 200 people) chuckling cynically at the concept of blacklisting, “…yes, Rob old chum – I shall just write off a few million in value from my moor management portfolio. Just so you and your pals can have some vermininous Harriers to look at…” I wonder whether the penny will ever drop with the ‘Mr Average game-shot’ that the big-bag, big-name Estates and their well known Owners and guru-Agents are not their protectors, their providers or their social betters? They are just lawless, self-entitled, opportunistic rogues and cads. And yes, I know because I’ve met them. And over half of all of the keepers I have ever known share the same opinion of their masters. These sods are the real reason that the regulation and restriction of shooting is occurring, not ‘Packham’ or RSPB – though I bet ‘The Yorkshire Gent’ would hesitate to speak this truth.

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