Buzzard caught in primitive illegal trap set inside pheasant pen in Shropshire

Video footage has emerged, filmed in mid-September, of two primitive and illegal traps that had been set inside a pheasant pen in woodland near the village of Chelmarsh, just south of Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

One of the traps had been triggered and had caught a buzzard. The other trap had been baited with a dead pheasant but had not been triggered.

[Screen grab from the video, showing the trapped buzzard inside the illegal trap]

[A photo of the second illegal trap, baited with the dead pheasant. The map shows the location:

The trapped buzzard was released by a member of the public and subsequent covert video evidence shows a man entering the pheasant pen, attending the trap and removing all evidence of it.

I understand that a report has been made to the police.

There is a write-up about this criminal activity on the Hunt Saboteurs Association website (here), where it is claimed the man attending the trap is a gamekeeper. I don’t have any information that can support or refute that claim.

The video can be watched here:

11 thoughts on “Buzzard caught in primitive illegal trap set inside pheasant pen in Shropshire”

  1. The hunt sabs must be applauded for gathering this evidence.
    I suspect details of the construction and use of these illegal traps will have been shared widely by those who wish to use such contraptions.
    How many other illegal traps are being used in pheasant pens across the country?
    How much other wildlife is being illegally caught, caused to suffer or killed, simply so that an abundance of a non native bird are available to be shot by people who have no respect for native wildlife, conservation or protecting the environment.
    Lets hope the police conduct a proper investigation, identify those responsible and prosecute any identified persons deemed to have committed offences.
    I also hope Natural England look very closely at this incident, and if appropriate stop or suspend any form of payment of public money, through grants or stewardship schemes to those responsible.

  2. Is this video going to be admissible as evidence? Did the finder of the trap have permission to enter the pen?
    If the judge or magistrate were to be pro hunting, this may be going nowhere. Cynic, Moi?

  3. Well done to the folks that sniffed this out. I reckon it will go nowhere in a legal sense, in fact a slick lawyer might even try and nail somebody for some form of trespass or other. Nevermind, in the court of public opinion the shooting industry keeps losing a few more inches of ground every time this stuff gets reported. I just wonder why not just use the common set-up of a so-called “crow” cage-trap with a so-called “crow” clam-trap next to it, both baited with pheasant or rabbit. Seems to be what most keepers favour for Buzzards, enjoying the inbuilt defence of “it’s only a crow trap”. I wonder how many thousands of these “crow traps” are sitting ready freshly baited-up right now? Waiting for a hungry young Buzzard incautiously seeking his/her first meal tomorrow morning.

  4. Been having a fun time on Twitter. According to the apologists for crimes associated with shooting, it has been confirmed by an unnamed anti-shooting organisation that this is all a faked up photo / video – just like all those fake poisoned and shot birds of prey, cudgelled goshawks etc.

    Naturally, it is unnamed because it is either non-existent or that lot who stayed involved with the Hen Harrier minimisation plan, i.e. people with no credibility whatsoever.

    1. Unsurprising!
      But then the words “shooting”, “hunting” and “dishonesty” often appear in the same sentence!!

      I suppose if you enjoy killing sentient living creatures for fun, then telling lies is no difficulty at all!!

  5. Sarah Meredith Bowman wrote :-

    “Shocking video! Well done for capturing this activity”

    Yes, well done indeed.

    Others have pertinently commented on the problem of actually getting a prosecution out of this. Nevertheless, Spaghnum Morose alluded to the damage that airing of such events does to the shooting industry. That is assuredly the case and it is achieved with simple publicity without the need to jump through the unavoidable hoops and over hurdles that are an innate feature of the criminal justice system.

  6. Well done, the Sabs. I have a great respect for these folk who put everything on the line to stop wildlife crime. If only conditions allowed for a similar campaign against the raptor killers and those in whose interests the crimes are committed.

  7. The latest Twitter charge is that the trap was set for Magpies to protect nesting songbirds in mid-September and that the Buzzard would have been released unharmed. If they don’t even know the law, how can they expect to know when they are breaking it? Ignorant people.

  8. The current charge is that the video has been faked: apparently an unnamed person from an unnamed anti-shooting organisation claims that the HSA do it all the time and challenged me to prove otherwise! I just said I trusted the HSA, and the judgement of RPUK, Iolo Williams and Mark Avery more than anyone who denies that there is crime associated with shooting.

    The day that someone in shooting, when confronted with the evidence of crimes, condemns it out of hand instead of claiming it is made up I shall be looking out for the Porcine Red Arrows display team.

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