Friday, 18 February 2011

Gamekeeper thrilled to see harriers on his moor

I was pleased to see this comment from a keeper on the excellent 'Working for Grouse' blog: "To suggest that harrier persecution is part and parcel of upland keepering is misleading, and only the most foolish would consider harming birds of prey to boost grouse numbers."

It's an interesting post, which supports my own view that the scale of the problem is often exaggerated for political and fundraising purposes.


Alan Tilmouth said...

Two quotes from the Introduction to the Working for Grouse blog James:

"I am not a real gamekeeper."

"I am a twenty five year old freelance journalist"

Whilst I applaud his views on Hen Harrier I would suggest that

a) he is not typical of the average gamekeeper.

b)given the second statement is in the public domain any views expressed to him by other gamekeepers who may well be aware of his chosen field of work need to be treat with caution, surely?

James Marchington said...

Well it warmed my heart to read it. I guess if you're determined to believe the worst of people, you can always find something to sneer at.

Mike Groves said...

James, aren't you forgetting just how few pairs of breeding Hen Harriers you have in England?

James Marchington said...

How so?

Mike Groves said...

To put it into context James, the 1998 Hen Harrier survey recorded 28 breeding pairs in England.
In 2010 there were only 6. What has caused the decline?

James Marchington said...

Ah, we're back to anecdote, dodgy statistics and name-calling.

Let me know when you're ready to talk about making progress.

Mike Groves said...

Come on James I'm a pretty balanced guy. Please answer the question. What has caused the decline?

Mike Price said...


What we appear to be back to is denial.

Need we remind you that there is a wealth of evidence to show that persecution of birds of prey in a continuing and widespread problem throughout the UK.

There are court cases ongoing and historical to prove this we don't need to keep showing them to you, it seems you have done a U turn on your views in the last week or so (have you come under some pressure from your peers?)

Sorry to say but thats how it looks to me

Alan Tilmouth said...

James, I didn't 'sneer' at any one just highlighting that many people these days are will be understandably cautious when dealing with journalists and guarded about what they tell them so to use views expressed to him to "support your own view" would seem somewhat naive.

James Marchington said...

Denial? No one is denying anything here. If people could just grow up a bit and accept that many shooting people, and all shooting organisations, want to put a stop to a problem that undoubtedly exists, maybe we'd start to get somewhere.

Alan, where on earth do you get this stereotyped picture of a 'typical' gamekeeper? If the police took a similar approach, they'd be running round looking for men with striped jumpers and bags marked 'Swag'. You need to get out and meet some real gamekeepers.

Alan Tilmouth said...

James how many other gamekeepers do you know that are blogging and whose main career is that of freelance journalist? He isn't typical.

James Marchington said...

Gamekeepers are a very diverse bunch, and a great many are part-timers doing what they can on a d-i-y syndicate shoot - just as this chap has a full-time job too. Maybe BASC has the numbers to show what percentage of shooting land is managed by full-time keepers vs part-timers.

vicky said...

Some raptors are in decline. Some are thriving- buzzards seem increasingly numerous down here. The reasons are not simple. Loss of habitat for them and their prey, deliberate and accidental poisoning, deliberate and accidental interference maybe even inbreeding of small populations reducing fertility can lead to decline. There is killing by keepers, but also by farmers, pigeon fanciers and lord knows who else. Most keepers put up with the raptors and do nothing to encourage or damage them (though they will do their utmost to discourage them- usually with free daily Mail CD's!). THERE CAN BE NO WAY FORWARD WHEN EVERYTIME A PAIR FAIL KEEPERS ARE BLAMED AND WHEN EVERY KEEPER WHO TRIES TO DO SOMETHING POSITIVE IS DISMISSED.

If the raptor lovers tried meeting with the 'good' keepers and worked together.....oh how lovely the word could be!