Tuesday, 7 December 2010

BASC Calls For Voluntary Restraint on Shooting

We have all seen the impact the snow and freezing conditions have particularly on waders and water birds both last winter and in this current spell. For many the thought of many of these species having to cope with the possibility of increased disturbance from shooting in the middle of this is abhorrent. There is a system in place that allows for the issue of a call for 'voluntary restraint' after a fixed period of temperatures reaching certain criteria. That call was issued in England today by The British Association of Shooting & Conservation (BASC).

BASC define voluntary restraint as follows: Voluntary restraint is showing respect for our quarry by not going shooting where birds are struggling under difficult conditions. Unusual movements of birds or birds in poor condition are signs of such difficulties and, regardless of any restraint call, an indication that shooting should be reduced or stopped to enable birds to recover and breed successfully the following spring. Restraint is a decision taken by shooters at a local level according to need.

If temperatures continue until Day 13 (nationally) then a statutory protection order can be issued by government making it illegal to shoot waterfowl and waders. During a statutory suspension, it is illegal to shoot any ducks (including reared mallard), geese, waders (including woodcock and snipe), coots or moorhen.

Whilst the system is far from perfect as a result of being applied nationally it does mean that shooters should now be refraining from shooting activities that cause disturbance to waterfowl and waders. It's worth noting that disturbance won't be restricted to shooters here either so it's well worth practising what we preach so wandering around still wet areas to deliberately flush Woodock and Jack Snipe should be avoided. Having inadvertently flushed one yesterday as well as a few Common Snipe I felt pretty shit, I'll be avoiding the areas they're feeding in going forward.

If you are out birding at the weekend and you come across anyone ignoring the call for voluntary restraint and continuing to shoot wildfowl or waders you can forward the details via the contact form on the BASC website.


Dean Eades said...

Cracking Fieldfare m8

Ipin said...

Shame the ban hadn't come in earlier, a lot of woodcocks will have bought it at the weekend.

If you don't want to flush any woodcocks, you'd better stay in, they are everywhere!

Ghost of Stringer said...

This is good news Alan, a lot of birds (not just quarry birds) struggling in this weather, and they could do without the disturbance (shooting or otherwise). Good on BASC for bringing this "restraint" in !

Also worth noting we have had freezing conditions and snow in the north east for longer than the rest of the country, and we have also witnessed an obvious hard weather movement of many species including snipe and woodcock. An exciting time for birders and shooters I'm sure, but it's time to give them a break now in my opinion...

If I see any shoots disturbing wildfowl or shooting woodcock/snipe while this restraint is in force up here I will be discussing it directly with BASC, and if I see any birders causing unnecessary disturbance I will have words in my usual fashion !!

Thanks for posting this information up, something we should all be aware of when we are out birding.