The key questions over grouse shooting and our moors – Yorkshire Post letters

A grouse on a moor near Ripon, North Yorkshire, as the Glorious 12th, the official start of the grouse shooting season, gets underway.
A grouse on a moor near Ripon, North Yorkshire, as the Glorious 12th, the official start of the grouse shooting season, gets underway.
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From: Paul Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.

YOU carried two interesting points about moorland management, one being a whole page advertisment encouraging the banning of grouse shooting and implicated Yorkshire Water because it has several shooting leases on its land (The Yorkshire Post, August 9).

The grouse shooting season is, once again, shrouded in controversy.

The grouse shooting season is, once again, shrouded in controversy.

Grouse shootiong review urged amid troubled start to new season in Yorkshire

Unfortunately, moorland that we see isn’t natural – it’s man-made, a managed landscape, and most of this management, including burning-off of overgrown ‘leggy’ heather is to ensure grouse breed well. This, in turn, brings in a substantial financial income to moorland estates.

Beetle epidemic on Yorkshire moors threatens an inglorious twelfth for hunters

I can accept that some people have an ‘anti’ attitude to shooting and fishing. If you are a grouse, you will regard humans as predatory and possibly see them as more troublesome than foxes and raptors.

The grouse shooting season began this week.

The grouse shooting season began this week.

GP Taylor: Grouse shooting must be banned – these incredible creatures cannot be lost so as to please a handful of tweed-clad toffs

North Yorkshire has one of the worst records in the country for persecution of raptors, and ‘rural crime’ police officers seem inept and reluctant to bring prosecutions for shooting, poisoning and trapping – speed cameras are more profitable and less time consuming.

The other feature in the paper was a report of the poor performance regarding Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the North York Moors National Park. The National Park Authority chairman, Jim Bailey, claimed it would be counter-productive by raising public expectations over the ability to conserve wildlife. He continued by mentioning the “carefully managed landscape of the North York Moors”.

How exactly does this “carefully managed” system allow moorland estates to construct many, many kilometres of unsightly access tracks all over wild open moor, apparently exempt from any form of planning control? Or indeed allow estates to put in new lines of shooting butts damaging archaeological sites? Or the erection of transmission sites all over the moors? Apparently they have no benefit towards better communications in remote dale heads, but may make a ’keepers day a little easier – especially if he or she is out seeking raptors.

I have no problem with legal shooting, it brings in a little money and employment to the rural economy, but the vast majority of the income goes into the coffers of large estates that appear to run roughshod over the penny pinching National Parks.