More illegal traps – another grouse moor. Whose side are you on?


Another month, another illegal trap, another driven grouse moor in another National Park.

This trap, in fact these traps, found in the open by two walkers, were more easily located because they contained a severely injured Common Gull whose injuries were so bad that it was euthanised. The story is well told by our older brother blog at Raptor Persecution UK.

It’s ‘just a gull’ that died after hours of pain, and whose death led to the starvation of its chicks it seems; and it’s just one incident and nobody approves of it, we will, no doubt, be told.

But it’s another example of criminality on the grouse moors and those incidents that come to light are not the tip of the iceberg, they are the tip of the tip of the iceberg.  Driven grouse shooting depends on wildlife crime to rid the hills of predators, legally and illegally, and the collatoral damage to wildlife is just the price that we all pay for the pointless hobby of the few.  The public is fed up with wildlife crime emanating from grouse moors and in droves is signing this e-petition for the future of driven grouse shooting to be debated in the UK parliament.

Invercauld Estate, on which this incident appears to have taken place, must be mystified by how an illegally set trap appeared on its land so far out of the way from easy public access.  The Cairngorms National Park must be similarly mystified as well, although is probably getting tired of having to say how mystified they are by wildlife crime in their National Park.  No doubt the  Scottish Land and Estates will be mystified. I expect the Game and Wildlife lot will be saddened, cross and mystified too.  If anyone can help dispel the mystery then the place to phone is Police Scotland by dialling 101.

It’s all so mysterious…

Invercauld is the estate of Clan Farqharson. The Farqharsons are related to the van Cutsem family who were unlucky enough to experience a problem with illegal traps on their own grouse moor in Yorkshire earlier this year (see here and here). Lucy van Cutsem is photographed here with the former stalker from Invercauld, Peter Fraser, who was named as one of Prince Charles’s countryside heroes in Country Life in 2013, and who moved next door to become a ghillie on the royal estate at Birkhall (once owned by the Farqharsons).  It’s a terribly small world isn’t it?

You’d have to say that the royals have their holiday home at Balmoral in rather a rough area.  Illegal traps being found on their neighbour’s place at Invercauld, an almost complete lack of Hen Harriers nesting in the general area, hardly any Peregrines to be found, just around the corner from the Angus Glens where eagles die and in a National Park famed for dead raptors and culls of Mountain Hares.  That’s a lot of killing going on and most of it is illegal and all of it is unacceptable. As I say, it seems a rough area to me.

Prince William speaks out on foreign wildlife crime, and good for him for doing that, but is silent about that which appears to be happening in his family’s local neighbourhood around Balmoral. Surely it is time for the Royal Family to speak out against wildlife crime at home?


Whilst animals continue to be killed by criminals, whilst whole species are poached to extinction, we will join together to ask one simple question: Whose side are you on?‘ – Prince William

Good question! Whose side are you on, Prince William?

Please sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting and help animals being killed by criminals.





9 Replies to “More illegal traps – another grouse moor. Whose side are you on?”

  1. Ah..Peter Fraser another ‘much respected’ member of the keepering fraternity we know is much respected because they keep telling us that. Respect is a big thing to them. Have to admit though it’s only their due when they know that while one species of predatory animal is noble another two ‘kill for the sake of it’ – wow these keepers have an understanding of wildlife that us miserable townies will never know including the ability to read their minds. However, for a head stalker he doesn’t seem to have much of an idea of what’s good for red deer (pasted from the Cairngorm Campaign misinformation leaflet)

    Red Deer Welfare and the Cover of Forests P&J 20 Dec 2010
    Mr Peter Fraser, a head stalker on Invercauld Estate, asserted red deer were
    better off on the open hill than in woodland because the tree canopy obscures
    sunlight and hence there is no ground vegetation and because wind, failing to
    penetrate woodlands, causes deeper snowlie within, making grazing difficult.
    The Campaign pointed out that both assertions are wrong. Although dense
    spruce plantations shade out ground vegetation, both Scots pine and
    deciduous woodland like birchwoods have abundant ground vegetation. Also,
    tree canopy tends to trap a portion of snowfall on the branches. For this and
    other reasons, woodland snowlie is often less deep. In addition, woodland
    shelter benefits deer in several ways. Lower windspeeds reduce chill factor
    and hence deers’ energy loss. Cloudy nights prevent low frosty temperatures
    because clouds reflect back heat radiating towards space. Tree canopies do
    the same. Hence minimum night temperatures inside stands of conifers or
    deciduous trees in leaf are often 10 centigrade degrees higher than outside .
    For such reasons and others, woodland red deer are usually larger than those
    of the open hill! They are, after all, a woodland species.

    And this is one of Prince Chas’ countryside heroes?

  2. The ‘great’ and the ‘good’ or those with bottomless pockets seem to have a hold over this country when it comes to shooting or as they like to call it ‘conservation’.
    The countryside seems to be the property of the game keeping fraternity along with the shooters, land owners and estate managers and although recent cases have led to ‘prosecution’ i.e Stody Estate where the RSPCA said it was the worst example of raptor proseution they had seen resulted in a fine and a suspended sentence for the game keeper due to ‘health’ issues. Unfortunately until someone is hit with a prosecution that ensures a sharp intake of breath I cannot see a deterrent which is fit for purpose.
    I find the comments from the future king hypercritical to say the least. Happy to romp around with his gun while lambasting poachers….really William what is the difference?

  3. Here we go again; the grouse shooting estates continue to provide plenty of ammunition for those against driven grouse shooting.

  4. A video of that Common Gull in the fenn traps would’ve hit home really hard.
    Always try and video, as well as take photos.

  5. Its all so appallingly predicable and its not as if Invercauld haven’t hosted this sort of finding before. Sadly the only way to catch the setters of these disgusting traps is video, which Scottish courts seem reluctant to accept as evidence. A ban on driven grouse shooting seems to be the only answer. In the meantime it would be good to see a culprit sent down and to hear a member of the Royal family speaking out about wildlife crime at home but I’ll not be holding my breath.

  6. There is a lie that these estates dont carry out illegal practice like this…and there is the lie that these estates look after their habitats. I am sure that Mrs Cunningham is starting to see through the lies…

    The traps have been set in a recent burn (two years old) so that the bait is more visible from the air. Look at the amount of burnt peat in the photo. This has been a very poorly managed burn. Probably would not comply with the muirburn code. So, when somebody asks the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections if they have investigated this incident (to review the grant payments), they should also be asked to look at the estates muirburn in relation to the code.,,,,

  7. I have had to stay on a driven grouse reserve in Scotland (the head gamekeeper was friends with my dad and we went up for his wedding service). Overall, it was not a pleasant experience. Some of the keepers there knew I was a birder, and as soon as I got there I was given a lecture on how ‘it should be legal to cull Buzzards’. When a beautiful Red Kite glided above us later that day, and I pointed it out to everyone, a keeper joked (I hope joked) ‘I’ve got a whole one in the freezer if you’d like to have a look!’. The next day, I met a keeper who , very surprisingly was also a bird ringer. He, and another very arrogant keeper told me how ‘the RSPB brainwashes me into loving birds of prey’. They also told me that the ‘BTO lied about there being a small amount of breeding Hen Harriers’ and told me that they ‘had loads on the reserve (to them, loads they mean 2 nests) that needed to be culled’. Through the night the Arrogant keeper became quite aggressive towards me, and this made me upset to the point of crying (I was only 12 at the time). Along with this, I also overheard a keeper planning to kill an Otter that was supposedly eating the eggs of nesting Grouse.

    The whole experience has made me realize how much of a bloody ‘sport’ driven shooting is. It is not a ‘civilised pastime’ , but a selfish demonstration of human cruelty and lust for power. I hope it is one day banned. You are doing a excellent job of informing the public about the true side of it. 🙂

  8. The first step would be to nationalise these estates, but the system is against us, after all if you have the right money you can one, no questions asked. Maybe a mass trespass like the Kinder Scout ones of the 1930s would frighten the shit out of them. If it was done on the 12th August e.g. how much money would they lose!!!

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