Monday, 13 August 2012


Spearheading the campaign to rid the Scottish countryside of Buzzards, Scottish Gamekeeper's Association's Alex Hogg appears to have lost none of his appetite for trying to get his anti-raptor message out. His last blog on the SGA website has Alex once again claiming big losses to Buzzards as well as a couple of other new Pheasant-killers.

Alex writes "The first week I lost a good few poults to the Tawny Owls and Sparrowhawks and then the Buzzards found them and, since then, we have been losing one a day at each pen for the last 28 days.As well as these losses from direct predation, my poults once again are on the verge of leaving me because of the onslaught, hence hundreds more losses, and I can’t do a damn thing about it."

I admit I continue to be puzzled as to exactly how the Chairman arrives at his numbers and is able to keep track of which predators are taking which poults. In fact I'm astonished that he even manages an accurate count of the poults in his release pens to be able to assess the predation.

It is also worth noting the numbers above and contrasting them with Alex's interview on Countryfile recently in which he stated 'we lose 1000 poults to Buzzards a year', I wrote about the apparent inconsistency in his numbers here. Remember that 1000 a year equated back to an incredible 150 poults per week if true. However as can be seen from his latest claims he now claims his losses (if we can trust these latest figures) are SEVEN poults per pen per week. Extrapolated that totals perhaps 42 poults from a pen during the six weeks the Pheasants are sited inside the pens. Now I don't know how many release sites they have for the 3800 poults they release but I suspect it may fall well short of the 23 they would need for Alex's original claims to be anything other than complete Hogg-wash.

What is very clear is that 'anecdotal evidence' like this from so called 'respected' sources within the industry, remember that is what was and continues to be used as a basis for justifying the need for Buzzard Management by these people, cannot be trusted. At best it is spurious, inaccurate nonsense and at worst a deliberately concocted trail of deceit designed to achieve their aims.


Andrew Kinghorn said...

It's much the same with the Western Isles/Highlands farmers. They over exaggerate the actual numbers of live lambs taken by White-tailed and Golden Eagles. Perhaps blissfully ignorant of the fact that an Eagle that risks taking a live lamb is in danger of sentencing itself to death! I imagine the number of live lambs taken must be seriously low, knowing how fast they 'grow up' must surely suggest to the farmers after a few weeks the lambs are just too big. But then again that means there's nothing to complain about for the rest of the summer. My suggestions: lamb indoors, accept losses from lambing outside, or pack in farming sheep.

Stringer said...

Well said Alan, they are just making it up as they go along !!

Agreed, evidence based decisions are of course more important than just listening to hearsay from so called “industry experts”. However, in this case I really couldn't give a flying fart about evidence either because........ THIS IS A NON ISSUE !!

If these idiots will insist on releasing their non native, hand reared "pet birds” in to our natural environment then they simply need to accept the dangers that will come with that. Would you release your pet rabbit into the plains of Africa where lions and other large predators roam ?! I don’t think so......

If these buzzards caused a serious proven threat to our native biodiversity then I might perhaps understand people feeling concerned. In this instance the only threat to biodiversity I can see is to the buzzards themselves, more precisely the indiscriminate targeting of our legally protected birds of prey by these “custodians of the countryside”. It’s a total disgrace, and the pheasant shooting industry should really hang their heads in shame.

One good thing about this issue is that this time the shooting fraternity dropped the thin veil of being “conservationists” and really shown their true colours ! All those years of pussy footing about trying to justify what they do (killing birds for pleasure) by calling it “conservation”. The reality is now plain to see. These people are much more interested in releasing non native species into our natural environment and removing our native predators at every opportunity than they are in actually conserving biodiversity.

Conservationist ?..... I’ll let you make your own mind up......

Finally, while we are on this topic, let’s see some research into the effects of millions of pheasants being released into our natural environment every year. I find it quite hard to believe that such massive quantities of released, non native, pheasants and red legged partridge do not compete with our struggling native farmland birds for food, nests sites etc..

Pete Woodruff said...

Not for the first time I've been beaten to saying what I would have said by two correspondents Alan, this time Andrew and Stringer, but that's not a complaint as it saves me the trouble of the write up.

For all the wrong reason it was a joy to read your post on Mr Hoggs latest blog which relates to his visit to the Moy game fair and the related 'predation' of his beloved poults....Oh dear!!

Anonymous said...

I note that Alex also admits that he lost thounds more because he kept them in pens without protection during the bad weather. The mark of a true professional pheasant killer.