Missing Hen Harriers: time for zero tolerance

The campaign to ban driven grouse shooting began because the pastime is incompatible with the salvation of hen harriers in particular and the protection of raptors in general. Driven grouse shooting requires intensive land use to maximise the grouse available for shooting. The grouse are ‘driven’ at the guns – beaters flush them toward the shooters, a form of ‘canned hunting’. Despite legal protection, these birds of prey keep disappearing from our skies and often turn up poisoned or shot. There is sufficient suitable habitat for over 300 pairs of hen harriers in England and Wales; the actual number of nesting attempts is in single figures – “a tiny handful“; the number of successful breeding attempts is usually zero.

hen harrier

Hen harrier, via Scottish Natural Heritage media library – copyright-free images of English hen harriers are as rare as…the birds themselves

The justification for seeking this ban has widened to include grouse shooting’s other serious negative consequences. Continue reading

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Cull the Killing

Shooting Conservation versus Ecological Conservation

“Who hasn’t dreamed of standing in a grouse butt, waiting for coveys of birds skimming like miniature brown missiles over the horizon?” Missiles?

The persecution of hen harriers, other birds of prey, and other wild animals, by land managers whose aim is to breed birds for shooting, is increasingly attracting attention Continue reading