Grouse, grouse, grouse...

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Scottish Sporting Gazette

"The red grouse and the hen harrier can both live in relative harmony. But they won?t do it without human help ? and without shooting, said human help won?t have the funds."

This is an issue that the shooting community has raised time and time again in response to the lunacies of Mark Avery and George Monbiot. It is great, however, to see the point published by The Spectator ? Camilla Swift's article, Shooting does more to protect wildlife than the RSPB, is well worth a read.?

Grouse appear to be stealing headlines left, right and centre. Nevertheless, in the mishmash of M&S's late u-turn to stock shot birds and Avery's petition to ban the sport altogether, anticipation for the Glorious Twelfth was as strong as ever.?

Anyone who?knows the first thing about grouse moor management can instantly recognise the benefits. The danger is the large sector of the public who don't reading and believing the drivel that spills from Mark Avery's pen, whose open letter to Marc Bolland asked how he could possibly support an industry ?that reeks of criminality?.

It baffles me that someone who 'specialises in nature conservation' and played such a major role in the RSPB cannot look past his own ignorance to realise the wider benefits of grouse moor management on such a vast array of species. When it comes to upland nature conservation - not just the harrier debate - Avery is treading on his own tail by praying for a ban; it is keepers and finances from the shooting industry that produce landslide conservation results.?

And, as Camilla Swift mentions, current RSPB conservation director Martin Harper is fully aware of the benefits of shooting - a point that he made clear during a debate he took part in at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim.

We know it, and as an industry we must work to educate those who don't. The CA petition in response to M&S's recent decision has not gone unnoticed, with a piece in the Telegraph. If you haven't signed up, take two minutes to do so now, and then share with all those you can - M&S petition.?

In the meantime, enjoy the season ahead and all that it encompasses. In doing so, we ensure that the hard work of all those involved in moor management is not drowned out by ill-informed opposition. And, finally, remember to share your stories with us here at The Scottish Sporting Gazette. ??

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