BASC Scotland

The BASC Scotland team has extensive knowledge and experience in all areas of shooting and conservation.  We run a programme of training courses and activity days and provide advice and guidance in all relevant areas.  We also represent your interests  in the Scottish press, with politicians and the police and advise Scottish Government on policy issues affecting shooting.  The team also specialise in firearms related issues in Scotland.

BASC Scotland Centre, Trochry, Dunkeld, Perthshire, PH8 0DY
Tel: 01350 723 226   Fax: 01350 723 227   email

General Licence Trapping Project

Registered trap users working under the General Licences were contacted by the GWCT (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust) in March and asked to complete a questionnaire on their use of these traps. The next stage of this project is now being conducted by SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture), who are asking for volunteers to help keep simple records of their catches and to allow SASA staff to remotely monitor trap activity using trail cameras. If you are prepared to help then please contact Seonaidh Jamieson (seonaidh.jamieson@sasa.gsi.gov.uk; 0131 244 8889).

Assisting with these field trials will help to ensure that General Licences remain fit-for-purpose, robust and defensible. We encourage your participation wherever possible.

Inter-Club Competition

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The annual BASC Scotland inter-club and open sporting clay pigeon shooting competitions took place on 1 June in conjunction with County Clays at the Hilton House Hotel.

The inter-club competition is open to all clubs affiliated to BASC providing a chance for clubs covering the length and breadth of Scotland to test their skills against one another.

Six clubs participated in the event across a variety of individual and team categories including under-18s’, women’s and men’s events.

Nine trophies were contested for on the day, with the results as follows:

Club Competition Winner
WAGBI/BASC Challenge Sporting Cup East of Scotland Association for Wildfowling and Conservation
NCR Trophy (DTL) Forres, Nairn and District Wildfowling Association
High Gun Trophy Michael Schneider (Forres, Nairn and District Wildfowling Association)
Whitsun Trophy Jordan Paton (Kingseat Fieldsporters Club)
Pintail Trophy Owen Leslie (Kingseat Fieldsporters Club)
Black Isle Tam Todd memorial Trophy Callum Youngson (Kingseat Fieldsporters Club)

The 30-bird open sporting competition challenges different aspects of shooting, with three stands of varying difficulties.

 Open Sporting Competition Winners
 Ladies (Hardy)  Sylvia Pike (Kingseat Fieldsporters Club)
Under 18s (Hardy) Jordan Paton (Kingseat Fieldsporters Club)
Sporting (Hardy) Bill Morrison

 

Airgun licensing in Scotland a costly and bureaucratic mistake

firstairgun webA system to license the estimated half-a-million airguns in Scotland will be a costly and bureaucratic mistake, brought in as airgun crime has fallen by 75%, according to Scotland’s largest shooting organisation, BASC Scotland.

BASC Scotland says airgun licensing is unnecessary, costly and impractical, despite the Scottish Government’s publication of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill. It flies in the face of evidence, the results of the public consultation and fails on every principle of good regulation.

BASC says a licensing system will place unnecessary burdens on police time and budgets, will only be taken up by already law-abiding airgun users, and will have little effect on criminal misuse.

Dr Colin Shedden, director of BASC Scotland, said: “Offences involving air weapons in Scotland have fallen by 75% in recent years. In 2006-07 there was a ten-year-peak of 683 air weapon offences. In 2012-13, after six years of steady decline, there were 171 offences. In addition, all firearms offences are now at the lowest level since records began. Airguns are already extensively regulated by law, with more than thirty offences on the statute books. Bringing in this legislation will not deter those who are already determined to break the law.”

“The drop in crimes has been achieved by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and shooting organisations such as BASC working together to improve education and enforcement of existing legislation. Further work in this direction would reap greater benefits than a disproportionate, expensive and bureaucratic licensing system that would have to accommodate the estimated 500,000 air weapons in Scotland. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill recently announced that this “education and enforcement” approach has also proved successful in reducing knife crime in the west of Scotland. If this is good enough for knife crime why would anyone think that licensing of all air weapons in Scotland, and all those brought in by visitors, is proportional, practical or affordable?”

“Currently, 60,000 people in Scotland already hold firearms licences. Increasing the licensing requirement to cover hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland plus visitors will place existing Police Scotland licensing staff under a massive administrative burden when offences have fallen significantly and the police are subject to pressure on both budgets and staffing.”

Airgun licensing in Scotland – frequently asked questions

Foxes wanted – Trichinella in wildlife survey

Freshly killed adult fox carcasses are currently needed as part of a study investigating the incidence of Trichinella in Scotland. AHVLA would like your help in sourcing these and are especially interested in hearing from anyone in the north of Scotland.

Mike Holliday, chairman of the BASC Scotland Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management Working Group, has already supplied a number of foxes and said that, “This is an important initiative and I would urge our members to help. It could not be easier; simply bag, tag and make a call.”

Bodies can be dropped off at various locations or arrangements made for uplift in more remote areas. For more information please contact Kenny Willmitt at the BASC Scottish office.

BASC Scotland instigates study to monitor illegal trap and snare interference

Have your traps or snares been tampered with?  Email BASC at trapsandsnares@basc.org.uk.

Land managers in Scotland have agreed on a year-long study, instigated by BASC to analyse the extent of unauthorised interference with legal traps and snares.

The study will use trap and snare interference reports collected from BASC members and members of other land management organisations to supply a monthly analysis to the Scottish Government and to the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland).

The use of traps and snares to assist with the management of certain pest species of bird and mammal, such as crows, rats and foxes, is tightly controlled by legislation in Scotland. Depending on the tool used, operators now have to be trained and traps and snares tagged so that the user can be identified.

Despite this level of control there are a number of reports of legal traps and snares being tampered with, moved and vandalised. Such actions are illegal and not only reduce the efficiency of pest control but can also compromise animal welfare, especially if traps or snares are moved and cannot be checked at regular intervals.

At a recent meeting of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee the Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “We do not have statistical evidence of the issue; we have only anecdotal evidence and suggestions from people that that might happen. Hopefully, the work that BASC will do, with Government support, will help to define how big the problem is, if, indeed, it is a problem at all.”

Mike Holliday, Chairman of BASC Scotland’s Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management Working Group said: “This appears to be a widespread problem that can affect the welfare of birds and animals as well as the work of gamekeepers and land managers. A well-set trap or snare will target pest species and restrain them until they can be humanely despatched – a vandalised one could catch or harm protected species.”

As with any other suspected crime, if land managers come across vandalised, damaged or moved traps or snares they are advised to report this to Police Scotland and then record the incident with BASC Scotland via trapsandsnares@basc.org.uk.

Scottish winner at Crufts

Ragnar, a rehomed seven-year-old German wirehaired pointer has taken the top trophy in the Gamekeepers’ Classes at Crufts 2014.

Ragnar is owned by gamekeeper David Johnson and his wife Fiona who live in the Shetland Isles. He was shown in the Gamekeepers’ classes by Mrs. Johnson.

The classes organised by BASC saw Trudvang Gyldenborste at Gyldearn, known as Ragnar, win the Northesk Memorial Trophy after going up against other class winners for final judging in the main arena.

Handler Mrs. Johnson was delighted to win, she said: “I am absolutely gobsmacked at winning. I feel like I could cry. Ragnar’s previous owner fell ill and we rehomed him but he loves working and being a gamekeeper’s dog. He is a veteran but you would think with the way he bounces around that he was seven-and a-half-months not years.”

This year was Ragnar’s first time in the BASC’s Gamekeepers’ Classes and Mrs Johnson’s first experience in the Crufts main arena. She was presented with the Northesk Memorial Trophy by BASC’s chief executive Richard Ali.

Tail Docking

***Still no sign of tail docking research. BASC Scotland demands answers from Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead.***

BASC Scotland has written to the Scottish Government and the Cabinet Secretary seeking a meeting and asking them to provide a date when the Government will produce and publish overdue research into tail injuries in working gundogs since tail docking was banned.

More than three years ago we were assured that further research and publication would be completed within a strict time frame.  We are disappointed that once again there have been unacceptable delays in the research being published in the Veterinary Record and for new research to be considered by the Government.  This is a big welfare issue for working dogs which needs to be addressed urgently.

More than six months ago the Cabinet Secretary, replying to a parliamentary question prompted by BASC Scotland, stated that the research would be available “in the near future”. BASC Scotland is now pressing for this matter to be dealt with.

For more information contact Nicolle Hamilton on 01350 723 226 or email.

Step inside Scotland’s Natural Larder…

A new campaign aimed at promoting the healthy properties of game meat has been launched by Scottish Natural Heritage and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

People who shoot will be able to find out how to handle and present game to increase value. Consumers will be able to find out where to source game locally and get recipe ideas.

Warm pigeon salad with bacon and black pudding

A quick and easy recipe for pigeon breast. Made in conjunction with the “Scotland’s Natural Larder” campaign.

Pete Moore from the SNH’s Wildlife Management Team said: “There is a tremendous enthusiasm for local and natural produce these days and most of our TV chefs venture into game preparation. We want to make sure that everyone is equipped with the basic skills to be able to take full advantage of the natural products of wildlife management and sport shooting. We hope to develop the Scotland’s Natural Larder campaign in the future, to cover other aspects of the natural resources in both the marine and terrestrial environment, promoting responsible and sustainable harvesting and foraging.”

Donald Muir said: “Game meat is healthy, locally-sourced, sustainable and delicious. Low prices are paid for game meat at source and high prices are paid in delicatessens and supermarkets. This project seeks to go someway towards bridging that gap. It will also provide communities with local, healthy and sustainable food from source.”

To help us to plan a programme of promotion of wild game in a healthy diet, we would like you to tell us about the game that you eat, what you like, what you don’t and most importantly, whether you have enough information to be able to make the most of this great resource.  We are planning to provide some training and guidance to help, but we need to know what you need!  Thanks for your help!

Please send completed surveys by Email or by post to BASC Scotland, Trochry, Dunkeld, PH8 0DY

Airguns in Scotland

BASC has been fighting the challenges that have been made to the legitimate ownership and use of airguns in Scotland for the past four years. This has included representing airgun users at the Firearms Summit called by Alex Salmond just over four years ago and, over the past six months, through the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel (SFCP). This panel was set up by the Scottish Government to advise on airgun licensing. It is essential to be involved in these discussions and use our influence accordingly.

BASC is fundamentally opposed to any form of airgun licensing. However, despite the case against extra bureaucratic legislation being well made the majority SNP Government is determined to bring airgun licensing to Scotland. Our role on the panel is to ensure that if licensing is to be introduced it must be proportionate, recognising the many valid reasons for airgun ownership and use, as well as the fact that there at least 500,000 airguns in Scotland. In addition, we have sought and received assurances that recognition is given to the significant decline in airgun offences in Scotland in recent years – a drop of 42% last year – and that education and enforcement of existing legislation should play a part.

Snaring in Scotland- what you need to know

Currently

All snares must be free-running and have a fixed stop at the appropriate distance.

All set snares must be checked every day at intervals of no more than 24 hours.

All set snares must be staked to the ground or attached to an object to prevent the snare from being dragged.

Snares must not be set where an animal caught by the snare becomes fully or partially suspended or drowns.

Anyone wishing to set snares must be accredited and also have their operator ID number.

Anyone who passed the accreditation course prior to May 2010, will need to contact their accreditation body and request a new certificate, before applying for their operator ID number.

Tags featuring the ID number will need to be fitted to snares.

Snare operators will be obliged to keep snaring records.

BASC Scotland will be running a number of accreditation courses throughout Scotland. For more information on snaring or if you are interested in doing a Snaring accreditation course, please contact the Scottish centre at Trochry.

Snaring in Scotland a practitioners’ guide Fourth edition, a booklet covering all aspects of snaring legislation and best practice is available on request from the BASC Scottish centre at Trochry.


Scottish Country Sports
Tourism Group


Partnership for Action Against
Wildlife Crime in Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage’s new licensing duties

Following the introduction of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011, Scottish Ministers have delegated the majority of their species licensing powers to Scottish Natural Heritage. Their increased role also includes responsibility for the General Licenses.

For any enquiries please telephone 01463 725000 or email

Click here for more information

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Police, lawyers and BASC Scotland say airgun licensing plans are flawed

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