Millden Estate’s sporting agent signatory to ‘best practice’ scheme!

Millden Estate, the (now former) employer of depraved gamekeeper Rhys Owen Davies, sentenced to jail earlier this month for his crimes including animal cruelty and some pretty serious firearms offences (see here), is managed for gamebird shooting by a sporting agency called BH Sporting Ltd, which is owned solely by Nicholas Baikie.

Shooting estates under the management of Mr Baikie are the subject of many discussions amongst raptor workers and his name often comes up: “Oh, it’s a Baikie estate” is heard with almost as much frequency as, “Oh, it’s an Osborne estate”. I might come back to this in a future blog.

Anyway, these two individuals are associated with the management of many, many shooting estates across Scotland and England since their time at the notorious Leadhills Estate in the early 2000s. Between 2003-2006 Osborne was listed as a Director of Leadhills Sporting Ltd, a company who held the sporting rights at Leadhills. Baikie is reported to have been one of his gamekeepers before apparently training as a land agent under Osborne (according to this court document) and then setting up his own consultancy on grouse moor management, including taking on Millden Estate in the Angus Glens, which has been on Baikie’s books now for many years.

For someone in such high demand in the grouse-shooting world, Baikie keeps a relatively low online profile. Although here’s a photo from the Perthshire Picture Agency, taken in the Angus Glens in 2014. Baikie (on the left) is wearing the Millden Estate tweed and is standing next to a Millden Estate gamekeeper, also in estate tweed and the estate’s uniform of lilac shirt and orange tie.

Now, according to the website of British Game Assurance (formerly the British Game Alliance but rebranded in the last year), BH Sporting is one of a number of sporting agents that have:

COMMITTED TO A GOAL OF OFFERING SPORTING DAYS EXCLUSIVELY ON SHOOTS AND ESTATES THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH GAME ASSURANCE FROM THE START OF THE 2023 SEASON. THIS WILL ENSURE THAT THE PROMOTED VENUES ARE ALL PARTICIPATING IN THE INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED ASSURANCE SCHEME, DEMONSTRATING THAT THE SHOOTING SECTOR IS ADHERING TO BEST PRACTICE AT ALL TIMES‘.

Shurely shome mishtake?

How can BH Sporting (or its sole director, Nick Baikie), be certain that any estate on which it offers shooting ‘is adhering to best practice at all times’?

This is the sporting agency that failed to notice the ‘obvious injuries‘ (quote from the Crown Office) to five of gamekeeper Davies’ dogs. Here’s a photo of two of those mutilated dogs, tied to what looks like an estate vehicle. Pretty hard to miss, I’d say:

This is also the sporting agency that failed to notice the very serious and reckless firearms offences committed by Davies at his tied cottage on Millden Estate.

This is also the sporting agency that failed to notice the three bags of dead raptors reportedly found on Millden Estate during a joint SSPCA/Police Scotland raid in October 2019 and apparently containing at least three shot buzzards.

This is also the sporting agency that failed to notice the ‘horrendous catalogue‘ of wildlife crimes uncovered over many years on Millden Estate (for which Millden Estate has repeatedly denied responsibility and for which nobody has ever been prosecuted).

Funny, all these things this sporting agency failed to notice and yet Nick Baikie was reportedly invited to show around Professor Werritty and co during the Govt-commissioned Werritty Review into grouse moor management, where Millden Estate was held as an example of ‘best practice’. Whose idea was that??!

And now we’re supposed to accept that as from the 2023 shooting season, BH Sporting will only offer shooting on estates that have demonstrated ‘best practice’? What due diligence has the British Game Alliance done on this?

Is Millden Estate registered as a British Game Assurance member? We don’t know, because the names of all the BGA-endorsed shoots were removed from the BGA website several years ago, resulting in criticism of the BGA for its lack of transparency and accuracy (here), two fairly important commodities when you’re asking the public to trust your brand, I’d have thought. But maybe that’s just me.

I’m sure it won’t be the last criticism of the BGA. In fact I know it won’t be the last, because there’s another sporting agent listed on the BGA website whose presence undermines the entire credibility of the BGA and what it claims to represent. More soon.

11 thoughts on “Millden Estate’s sporting agent signatory to ‘best practice’ scheme!”

  1. Found this….”Nick Baikie
    A former grousekeeper – he came up through the ranks under the guidance of Jeremy Wearmouth at Gunnerside – Baikie now manages a significant portfolio of grouse moors. In his late thirties and fiercely fit, “he’s right up there with the best,” according to one admirer, who cites his killing 38 late-October grouse with 45 shots last season using 32g No 6s from a pair of fully choked Churchills. Friends consider he has the natural hunting instincts of a Cherokee, giving rise to his nickname, Three Bears.”
    Three Bears indeed.

    1. No words. As someone who many here already know, was born, raised and fiercely advocates for the North American indian traditions my family and others follow, are protective of, whilst eschewing any FAKE, CANNED HUNTS and Trophy hunting, with a reverence for wildlife, ESPECIALLY Raptors, I would have a lot to say to whomever insulted my beloved Michigan, and many other states who have an ardent, cherished set of ethics, morals, and values in step with our native families and tribes… literally shaking with Rage and shame reading this…[Ed: rest of comment deleted as libellous]

      1. Dear Ed and all, my apologies!
        Genuinely puzzled as not quite sure what I may have written libellous, but sincerely grateful that you have made certain that I haven’t inadvertently brought trouble on myself or this organization, of which I am also fiercely proud and protective of as well. I would ask that if/when available, (I know busy you are here!), that you may advise, so that I do not risk further edit or cause distress. I’ve just twigged one remark that could be misconstrued as a veiled threat (sorry, it wasn’t), but slightly more confused as to rules re famous persons names/references, namely one Mr F Bear. Go figure that one of the rare times I share thoughts/comment, that I would run amok! Again, genuine sincere apologies; warmest karma regards always, Mrs R Elizabeth

  2. Cherokee??? An insult to a noble tribe, although, the translation of Cherokee means “people of different speech” While this refers to a difference of speech from other tribes, I would suggest it also fits the false claims of the shooting fraternity. Lies, damn lies and shooters.
    “Three Bears” Rupert, Pooh and Paddington, all fictitious…..ring any bells????

  3. It might be true to say that if Osborne and Baikie both packed in tomorrow it would not make all that much difference, there are so many other Agents out there all doing the same thing who would fill the vacuum. But it is the sheer scale and number of these blokes operations now and down the years that is quite stunning – the wildlife, flora and fauna that exists (or doesn’t) on several hundreds of thousands of acres has been determined by them and their carefully chosen keepers. And it is the fact that pretty much everywhere they go season records, ten year bag averages and day totals are smashed to great aclaim and fanfare in the shooting world while at the same time rather than (as we are told happens) a healthy “improved” or ” recovered” moor supporting more raptors by providing plenty of food source and protection from foxes & stoats…guess what happens? I’m not even going to say it – everybody from both sides of the fence who has been interested in this subject knows exactly what happens, every single time. If there are any among the hundreds of moors they have had involvement in where either of them have deployed their cutting edge management techniques and have improved the situation for raptors I would genuinely like to hear about it.

  4. Nick has a Scottish sidekick, a gamekeeper, who patrols certain websites to ensure he keeps him informed as to what is being said and by whom from both sides of the coin. In my opinion he is being trained as the first Scot to take control of industry in Scotland when the time is right. From a humble start he has also educated himself politically and environmentally but tends to keep a low profile now and has done for some time — though he pops up now and again. These guys think in the long term and this chap is certainly worth keeping an eye out for.
    It will be interesting to see the details of this “best practise scheme” when they become available as how it is implemented should help inform everyone as to their intentions… and thus prepare a response.

  5. Having read the article promoting the BGA.
    Firstly what is meant by “best practice”??
    This could have a number of meanings, including the ruthless extermination of anything that interferes with game bird numbers.
    In fact is there anything to suggest “best practice” actually refers to the conservation on non game bird species and ensuring that a shooting estates is taking an active role in nature recovery and promoting the widest diversification of the natural eco-systems? Something which probably is inconsistent with producing the artificially high densities of game birds required for commercial shooting?
    The fact that evidence of illegal raptor persecution was found on the Milden estate (3 bags of dead raptors), along with the other reported crimes committed by one its game keepers suggests that any audit to participate in an assurance scheme is meaningless and not worth the paper it is written on.
    I would suggest that this then adds to the whole weight of existing evidence that self regulation by the game shooting industry clearly doesn’t work, and the only meaningful way forward is to properly regulate game shooting through legislation which is both enforceable within the existing financial constraints of public sector bodies, as well as ensuring that the regulations mean that criminal behaviour will be detected and those engaging in criminal behaviour are driven from the industry.

    The introduction of legal regulations would appear to be totally consistent with the shooting industry’s own claims about wanting “assurance schemes” and “best practice”- if what is actually meant by these terms is zero tolerance towards criminal activity and promotion of proper conservation and nature recovery?

    So when the shooting industry oppose the introduction of regulations- one has to ask why?
    Just what is it that that the commercial shooting industry is so fearful of?
    Could it be that if the industry really did follow “best practice” and the guidance promoted in its’ assurance schemes” then game bird numbers couldn’t be maintained at the artificially high densities to maintain commercial shooting in its current profit driven form?

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