Q: Is discussion of a ban on driven grouse shooting simplistic?
A: Yes. Firstly, it ignores the wider conservation, employment and economic benefits of moorland managed for grouse; and secondly, it fails to address why there are so few hen harriers on the 50% of the suitable habitat not managed for grouse shooting.
This can’t mean me because this blog has addressed (all of a month ago) why there aren’t many Hen Harriers on non-grouse shooting moors in England – it’s because if there is enough criminal killing of Hen Harriers in some places, they will be much rarer everywhere – it’s because Hen Harrier populations are more like soup than mashed potato.
However, if you look at where Hen Harriers nest across the UK, as government agencies did some time ago, then it is blindingly obvious that they are largely absent from those geographical areas where driven grouse shooting is widespread (north of England, southern Scotland, east Scotland) and yet widespread in those areas where driven grouse shooting is rare or absent (Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, northwest Scotland, Orkney, Western Isles).
The science shows that criminality is behind the fact that the UK Hen Harrier population is at one third its proper level given the available suitable habitat. The GWCT ‘briefing’ ducks the real issue – driven grouse shooting these days depends on widespread criminality. That’s just one reason (there are others) why you might want to sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England.
I’m not sure where the 50% figure comes from by the way.