BASC’s Key Achievements of 2017
The examples below give a snapshot of what we have achieved in 2017. A membership of over 150,000 knows the value of BASC.
- Helped persuade the largest firearms licensing departments in the UK to improve their service, including reducing delays in the licensing process, by gathering empirical evidence showing that licensing was a ‘postcode lottery’.
- Continued to help shooters understand the requirements of the new airgun legislation in Scotland.
- Provided clear evidence to Natural Resources Wales that shooting is both an essential wildlife management tool and an important recreational activity, in response to its review of firearms use on land it manages.
- Continued to develop pioneering projects such as Young Shots Ambassadors and the #LetsLearnMoor social media campaign to promote grouse shooting.
Helped 22 wildfowling clubs in England and Wales secure shooting over 52,404 acres of foreshore and inland marsh.
- Ran a survey of members in Scotland to provide an evidence base with which to fight unfair GP fees for firearms licencing in Scotland.
- Worked with other organisations to collectively produce guidance in relation to Avian Influenza and gamebirds which was endorsed by Government.
- Developed the BASC Ladies Shooting programme to include an even better range of courses and events, including an inaugural ladies introduction to deer stalking event in Cumbria. Ladies membership has grown by over 10% in 2017.
Sent out over 200 press releases to the shooting and non-shooting press, to help protect and promote shooting.
- Challenged a decision by ScotRail to ban all firearms on its trains and promoted an alternative service, Caledonian Sleeper, which welcomes responsible carriage of firearms on its trains.
- Worked closely with FACE, which is the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation, to ensure UK shooting is represented, protected and promoted internationally.
- Contributed a case study to the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s ‘Reconomics’ report, about clay coaching at the Essex Scouts Jamboree and the value of getting young people involved in shooting.
- Continued to provide the secretariat to the Code of Good Shooting Practice, which was updated in 2017
- The head of BASC’s Game and Deer department chaired the England and Wales Poaching priority delivery group.
- Represented members’ interest across wide range of areas including trapping, snaring, access, dog ownership, game rearing and deer management.
Members offers and services
- Introduced a new stalking scheme, meaning that we are now able to offer members a choice of four schemes.
- Introduced two new voluntary insurance packages in 2017 – Business Insurance and Shooting Ground Insurance-bringing the total voluntary insurance packages up to nine.
BASC announced that all members will receive complimentary entry to The Game Fair for the next 3 years.
- Ran a membership satisfaction survey and regular lapsed member surveys to ensure BASC continues to meet the needs and wants of the members.
- Published monthly Science Matters to inform members of the latest research affecting shooting.
- Published monthly BASC Bites to inform members about how BASC works for shooting, conservation and the members each month.
Expanded the firearms team
Expanded the firearms team, which handled over 10,000 calls from members during 2017, breaking its own record.
The Membership team extended its opening hours to provide more flexibility to members when calling to join / renew their membership. Opening times are 8am – 7pm Monday – Thursday and 8am to 6.30pm on Friday.
- BASC’s Shooting & Conservation magazine achieved record circulation in 2017, with a readership of over 150,000.
- Gathered feedback from members to make sure that the online bag recording and Green shoots mapping system remains a useful resource.
Politics and lobbying
- Launched the ‘Where does your MP stand on shooting?’ campaign website, allowing members to promote the value of shooting to their local candidates, and find out their views on shooting before the General Election.
- Worked with government, including sitting on ornithological panels, to resist restrictions on shooting and produced management schemes for the release of game in 2017.
Successfully lobbied to change and clarify the law in a number of areas, for example the use of shotguns by non-certificate holders and expanding ammunition.
- Challenged the anti-shooting lobby who were misrepresenting political support to secure backing for its latest attack on driven grouse shooting.
- With the Angling Trust, hosted Rural Receptions at political party conferences, at which government minister Dr Therese Coffey reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support shooting; the Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman MP pledged to work closely with BASC and the Angling Trust; and Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael applauded the work of both organisations.
Continued to campaign against regulation which is not evidence-based – including challenging proposals to ban ownership of .50 calibre and other rifles.
- Responded to 18 consultations in 2017, representing shooting interests on a wide range of topics including firearms fees, lead ammunition, firearms ownership, game meat handling, wildfowling, shoot licensing, public access and tail docking.
- Responded to Natural England’s Wildfowling Guidance Review and encouraged all wildfowlers to make their views heard by responding.
- Provided supporting evidence to an enquiry on tail docking which resulted in the successful overturn of the ban on prophylactic tail docking for working dogs in Scotland.
- Surveyed shooters in Northern Ireland to provide an evidence base for BASC’s work in lobbying against the removal of the paper firearms licensing system in Northern Ireland.
- Collected evidence to support BASC Northern Ireland’s lobbying work to allow the shooting of pest birds on Sundays in Northern Ireland.
- Provided media training sessions for staff, volunteers and partners, to equip them with the skills needed to represent shooting across all media channels.
Conservation and land management
- Funded independent research by York University into upland hydrology in relation to management practices. This will help ensure BASC’s advice is based on the latest research and science and not political agendas.
- BASC Wiltshire Social Committee launched a conservation grant fund using money raised at social events. The fund is now open to applications for small-scale conservation projects within the county.
- Established the Grey Squirrel Control project in the Central England region in partnership with the National Forest. A number of BASC members have now been trained to control squirrels across vulnerable woodland within the National Forest.
Part-funded a study that has shown walking to be a 100 times more of a disturbance than wildfowling.
- Involved over 100 London-based Cubs and Scouts in duck conservation projects in the South East.
- Awarded our largest ever grant to the Wildlife Habitat Conservation Trust (WHCT).
- Gave away more than 12kg of Green Shoots wildflower seed mix to members of the public at The Game Fair and BBC Countryfile Live.
- United with Northern Ireland countryside organisations to welcome the deployment of the new PSNI helicopter and drones to tackle deer poaching.
- Attended the ‘Peatlands for Birds’ conference in Sheffield where Colin Shedden, BASC’s Director Scotland, presented.
Purdey bronze conservation award
The Lindisfarne Wildfowling Management Group won the Purdey bronze conservation award – a sustainable partnership between wildfowlers, BASC and Natural England evidencing the important links between shooting sports and conservation.
In 2017 £265,000 was lent to BASC-affiliated clubs and syndicates by the Wildlife Habitat Trust, which BASC administrates, enabling the purchase of 47.72 acres of land for shooting and conservation purposes.
This brings the total lent by the WHT to £1.9million for purchasing 4,285 acres.
Courses, shows and events
BASC hosted its first ever national clay shooting competition. This competition ran at all the Countryman Fairs events with the grand final being held at the Midland Game Fair.
- Donated £7,000 to the ‘Let’s Learn Moor’ conservation scheme, which, with the support of partners including the North York Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO), the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) and Countryside Learning, provided over 300 primary school pupils the chance to learn about moorland conservation tasks and the unique habitats and wildlife of the North York Moors.
- BASC North trained more than 30 police officers from the north of England how to spot wildlife crime at an awareness day.
- The South West team, working with a residential centre for inner city school children, has taught 150 + (and counting) youngsters about the countryside, conservation, and the role of the gamekeeper.
- Organised a National Deer Management Conference in conjunction with the Deer initiative and The British Deer Society.
- Delivered a ‘Shooting for the Future’ course in conjunction with the GWCT in Leicestershire. BASC gave a presentation on improving your shooting, whilst the GWCT talked about bird management which maximises shoot productivity and conservation benefits. The event was for shooters at all levels to gain insight into the best practice in game shooting.
BASC delivered 137 courses in 2017, an increase of 13% from the previous year.
- Sponsored the England Airgun Hunter Field Target team, who won the World Championships.
- Organised the Gamekeeping classes at Crufts.
- Organised a national gundog competition, the BASC Chudleys scurry league, culminating in a grand final at the Midland Game Fair.
- Worked with colleagues to provide training for gamekeepers including organising a national Gamekeeping Student Clay Shoot
- In the South East more than 2,000 pupils were introduced to shooting and conservation through school visits and education days.
- Our YouTube channel reached over a million views.
- Supported the Game Shooting Census, run by Guns on Pegs and Strutt & Parker.
- Taste of Game, Purdey and Boisedales launched a brand new initiative called the ‘Eat Game Awards’ aimed at identifying and celebrating the ‘innovators, creators and revolutionaries’ of the wild game world.
- Taste of Game partnered with the National Trust to introduce a game lasagne into their catering properties along with a branded recipe leaflet for the autumn.
BASC membership passed