More on those shot & dumped birds in Angus

Yesterday’s blog about the discovery of shot and dumped pheasants (and assorted other species) found in a lay-by in Angus, Scotland (here) caused quite a lot of discussion on social media about whether the carcass pile included woodcock, common snipe and jack snipe.

Shooting woodcock for ‘sport’ is highly controversial – this is a UK red-listed species. Shooting and then dumping the corpses would be inexcusable.

Last night the person who sent me the original photos from that lay-by went back to the dump site to try and get better photos for ID purposes:

This morning another blog reader visited the dump site and took more photos (see below). He told me there were five waders (he ID’d as woodcock) and another pile of birds nearby that looked to have been dumped a few weeks ago (pile included pheasants, teal and woodcock).

Here are the photos:

UPDATE 14th February 2022: ‘Insane’: Outrage after gamebirds dumped in Angus (here)

20 thoughts on “More on those shot & dumped birds in Angus”

  1. Is there a twitter hashtag we can all aggregate these stories together with so that Richard Benyon (game shoot owner) has no excuse for missing them when we tweet them to him? Something like #dumpedgamebirds perhaps?

  2. I have pheasants that come to visit my back yard & I have a bird ‘plate’ where they & the other birds around here, can get a wee feed. Last summer (about June) one of our (tied up) dogs was scratching at a mound of leaves – under which, we discovered, a dead pheasant lay! It had what at the time I though was a bullet hole in its chest. We were totally puzzled where it could have come from & how it could have sustained such an injury! It was strange that a dead pheasant with a wound that must surely have meant instant death, had managed to crawl through the garden wire fencing & conceal itself under a big pile of leaves. About 3 months later (September) while in my greenhouse, (which is situated only a few feet away from where the dead pheasant was found) I noticed a hole in one of the panes of glass. It looked like a bullet hole! My son (being an RAF marksman though no longer in the RAF) visited a day or two later so I asked him to take a look & he agreed it was a distinctive .22 calibre hole. After a night of not sleeping due to concern about what was going on, I called the police & reported what we had found on our property.

    THREE WEEKS LATER (apparently shooting around someone’s home isn’t a priority), we got a visit from the police – who admitted, as I very much expected especially after such a time lapse!) they could do nothing. Though when seeing the direction the shot must have come from and given a potted history of illegal shooting of pheasants & deer taking place on the neighbouring property, I was told they’d be visiting RM Condor to ‘have a word’ with the Commanding Officer. That took place & the CO said he would be investigating. Now I am NOT saying it was a Marine that was responsible. I make that clear! It is easy enough for anyone to get into the grounds via poor fencing being left unsorted. And admittance certainly happens, as we see people (men usually) passing along the wee roadway that runs along the property fencing, walking their dogs, from time to time. NOT in marine uniform, let me say but… given I know there is access to the field via a damaged fence, it could well be civilians… I see them with dogs, but who knows who is there at night, without dogs, but with rifles instead? We can hear the marine as they practice rifle shooting as well as night shooting – so another few bangs is just another few bangs, to us… But I ask myself, who has access to .22’s?

    Anyway, I had at one time, about six very distinct, different male pheasants visiting & quite a few different hens (they’re harder for me to tell apart). For the last few months – I’d say about 6 months – I’ve seen only one male (and his harem of 3-4 females). Now I don’t know if any of my missing ‘friends’ are in that pile of poor dead animals! But I simply write to confirm that there IS INDEED a history of shooting here in Angus & while I don’t know of which ‘lay-by’ you speak, it seems to be happening in my vicinity too. And from what I can gather, it isn’t the first time it has happened here. I can understand someone wanting to fill their freezer in these days of economic downturn, though I don’t condone it – but for sport, and to leave them piled up as though they are of no consequence, that is just HORRENDOUS! And so I couldn’t just not say my piece. Sorry to make this so long.

    1. Kate, it won’t be soldiers as they shoot larger calibre ammunition and only in strictly controlled safe environments, it will most likely be the so-called ‘vermin controllers’ who are licensed by land agents to shoot on MoD land, usually rabbits, foxes and any bird covered by General Licences

    1. Not according to the relevant BASC webpage. Their website also includes the following: “The pocket quarry identification guide is currently under review, please check back. Identifying your quarry is only one aspect of good shooting practice.” Hmm. I bet it’s under review – and rather an important aspect of good shooting practice if you want to keep within the law!

    2. Its not a Stock dove it is a Feral Pigeon, which appear on a couple of the GL provisions. Nonetheless this whole incident is a wicked display of complete disrespect for the quarry species involved, Even released Non-natives deserve to be treated better than just to be living targets that once shot are discarded. Whilst doing this to Woodcock is extremely morally reprehensible, the only excuse to shoot this declining wader is to eat and even that should be questioned. Clearly a number of ethically and morally bankrupt folk are involved in this sort of behaviour then the ranks of the shooting cabals have always had a surfeit of them.

  3. It’s a Feral Pigeon in one of the photos in case Sean thought that it was a Stock Dove. Appalling behaviour ( again ) by the shooting fraternity. I agree entirely with collecting all these dumped instances yo send to HoL.

  4. The Code of Good Shooting Practice clearly states on page 3:-
    “All who shoot, or are involved in shooting in any way, should abide by and remind others of the provisions set out within this Code.”

    In section 4 of the code – Game is Food, it clearly states:-
    “Shoot managers must ensure they have appropriate arrangements in place for the sale or consumption of the
    anticipated bag in advance of all shoot days.”

    This code of good shooting practice appears to be endorsed by GWCT, Countryside Alliance, National Association of Gamekeepers, Scottish Land and Estates to name a few of the organisations whose logos appear in the guide.

    The scale of reported dumped, unwanted game birds suggests these umbrella organisations despite all the guidance they produce have very little control or influence over many involved in game shooting.

    The fact these dumped birds appears to include Woodcock, a bird listed by the BTO as a bird of conservation concern, and on the RSPB Red List is inexcusable, and is clear evidence that there are shooting estates and shooters who have absolutely no interest in conservation, or good shooting practice.

    This is an unsustainable position, as it indicates an industry and pastime where some of the participants are out of control and unable to abide by the umbrella organisations codes of practice.

    I can not think of any other sport or industry where the governance is so ineffective.

    It probably also helps explain why despite all the assurances, raptors are still being persecuted.

    Regular readers of this blog have discussed this issue time and time again.

    The evidence that the only solution to this lack of governance is legally enforceable regulations is overwhelming. It is a sad indictment that governments across the UK seem unwilling, or drag their feet to impose what is clearly necessary.

  5. The more we hear, the worse it gets!
    Thank you for bringing these appalling things to light, and bringing them to the attention of the lawmakers and law enforcers!

  6. Whilst I’m not a big fan of Countryfile, they do occasionally air some controversial issues, so can anyone persuade them to film these birds, and any others found, and do an article on the subject. Maybe they can persuade GWCT et al to say something!

  7. I really would like to see a lot of birds taken off the shooting list, why are Woodcock still being slaughtered,
    Snipe such a special species as well, its 50p a brace for the game dealer to take pheasants away, theres no demand, theres too many now, might as well be shooting clays

  8. This is totally and utterly unacceptable. These birds have no fear of humans and deserve to be treated with respect. My grandfather was a head keeper in England and think he eould turn in his grave

  9. In relation to rifle calibres and the shot pheasant in the back garden.
    The standard army rifle the SA 80, is 5.56mm or 0.22 ins. The sniper rifles are larger at 0.308 ins and 0.5 ins.
    Air rifles go from 0.177, 0.22, 0.25 and even 0.30.

  10. There’s a small peice written in the dundee evening telegraph today about the dumping of pheasants in angus and I noticed DC Thompson taking a swipe at ruth with there description of the blog raptor persecution being anti shooting. I have always says DC Thompsons seem to ignore the raptor persecution on there door step .

    1. Thanks, Falcon Watcher. It was a piece that originated with a journalist for The Courier. I challenged him last night about why he’d described it as an anti-shooting blog. He apologised and this morning the online article has been amended.

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