Gamekeepers plan to say that gamekeepers are wonderful – shock!

Gamekeepers are asking themselves whether they are wonderful and are expected to say ‘Yes, we are!’.

It’s a fairly obvious point but – wouldn’t it be more impressive if gamekeepers could get others to say how wonderful they are? And I don’t mean their employers! If the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts and other real conservation organisations were saying this then it might have rather more weight.

And how low has the GWCT science fallen that they have to boast about the fact that they are adding up a few numbers for a survey of gamekeepers? Sad, sad, sad – and just a little bit amusing too.

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12 Replies to “Gamekeepers plan to say that gamekeepers are wonderful – shock!”

  1. So I’m guessing the GWCT boffins will put on lab coats while they press the ‘Show Results’ button on Survey Monkey. To prove it’s science.

    Meanwhile, any control group? Any starting hypothesis? Any measures in place to prevent bogus submissions? Any clue at all?

    Wouldn’t the GWCT’s time be spent better by running courses on basic ecology for these animal killers? I suppose there’s the worry that if they knew what they were doing they’d all hand in their guns, traps and poisons and go off and do something useful with their lives.

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  2. I thought questions 69 and 70 were interesting:

    "69. Please put a tick in the boxes below to indicate which of these protected predators were present on the land you manage in 2018 and whether or not they have increased, remained stable or decreased over the last 5 years. Please also indicate (tick) those on your ground that, in your opinion, had an adverse effect on either game or ground-nesting/songbirds in 2018."

    "70. Please put a tick in the boxes below to indicate which of these protected predators were present on the land you manage in 2018 and whether or not they have increased, decreased or remained stable over the last 5 years. Please also indicate (tick) those on your ground that, in your opinion, had and adverse effect on either game or ground-nesting/songbirds in 2018."

    The options in the tick boxes are as follows:
    Present?
    Adverse effect on game
    Adverse effect on ground-nesting birds/songbirds?
    Increase
    Stable
    Decrease

    Anyone willing to bet what the responses to these will be?

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    1. I think we all know what the responses will be to these very leading questions. There of course is no comments box to say that you are killing these protected predators but then the survey if it can be called that is not anonymous. Anyone know of a game estate with Goshawk, Peregrine, Hen or Marsh Harrier, Eagles and Short-eared Owl where it is not known, proven or not or strongly suspected that these birds are not killed/ prevented breeding or discouraged, I don't? Same for Badger and Polecat, most English keepers I know of kill Polecats pretending they are feral Ferrets and are never challenged over it. Whatever the results of this survey they will hardly be good science but they will be trumpeted as such to show what a wonderful world these stalwarts of the countryside inhabit.
      They are not delusional ( they are purveyors of untruths commonly called liars) but they will hope the folk that see the results are.

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  3. Oh and to call it a conservation survey, laughable if only it weren't for what many of the targeted job ( whatever they think Game keeping is NOT a profession!) have done and are still doing to protected wildlife.

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  4. Well I believe the GWCT will have some rare success with this at least, for years keepers have been telling the rest of the world how wonderful they are and our beautiful countryside brimming over with wildlife is entirely down to them. They happen to work outside which of course automatically makes them wildlife experts. I wonder how much of their 'con'servation work these days involves planting out cover for game? I know that a lot of pounds woods and copses are being over run by non native plants on it as cover for pheasants principally. This has included such dellights as rhododendron, cherry laurel, snowberry and salmonberry. I wondered what was being used these days as I believed planting out non native was now illegal so I did a bit of googling. Either there must be some pretty irrattional exemptions to the legislation or the law is being brazenly flouted. There are nurseries selling cover plants to shooting estates and even with a very quick look I saw that cherry laurel and Himalayan honeysuckle (pheasantberry) were being advertised. The former is an absolute death sentence to the ground flora and invertebrate life in any place it takes over. I spent countless hours trying to clear it from a local wood after our council failed to do so, and I was pretty aghast to see it advertised as not only being good for gamebirds, but wildlife as well! Not many will have heard of Himalayan honeysuckle yet, but I came across some taking over an established bramble patch near me and when I found out it it's listed as a noxious weed in NZ and Australiana wasn't surprised, I've heard it's starting to be a problem in parts of the highlands. It's a garden plant that sometimes makes it over the fence, but it's alternative name of pheasantberry indicates who else likes it and what pathway could be the most significant if it ever becomes another significant invasive plant in this country. I will be chasing this up, but it looks after all the sad lessons of the past ecologically disastrous non native species are STILL being put out into the countryside as an aid to shooting. Keepers certainly aren't helping our wildlife if they're doing this.

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    1. I can remember seeing relatively newly planted Rhododendron, Cherry Laurel and Japanese Knotweed a few years ago on a rather famous north Lancashire game estate. Horrifying but they have always been a law unto themselves and successive governments have allowed that.

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      1. I suspected there was a bit of planting still going on, but it's as if there's absolutely nothing wrong with planting out known invasive plant species! It never occurred to me nurseries would actually be advertising them which is why I never looked into this previously. It's appalling, these people have absolutely no idea or they don't care or both.

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      2. Err ... I'm fairly sure planting Japanese Knotweed is illegal. It has been detrimental to our natural and built environments ever since some misguided Victorians allowed its import and planted it at Kew because they thought it looked nice. But I'm sure gamekeepers' children could be taught to kill it whenever they see it

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  5. The GWCT is hopelessly compromised. Their real scientists must despair (but perhaps they should resign instead).

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  6. 4 species of Owl
    Sparrow hawks
    Hobby
    Kestrels
    2 pairs Red kites ( moved in in last 18 months )
    Pair of Ravens in the park
    Buzzards (shed load)
    Visiting Female Hen harrier
    All on the up and doing well....
    I doubt people would be interested in the the Red & amber listed species on the Estate....
    Bloody Gamekeepers!....

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    1. A good list Ed, one you can of course be proud of, has it ever occurred to you that you might be one of the exceptions to the rule?

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  7. Thank you. No, my shoot is no different to any of the surrounding ones. Actually in planning stages with next door for a little project.
    Just goes to show what can be achieved when landowners, farmers & keepers are all singing of the same hymn sheet!

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