Shooters in Scotland help farmers protect crops from geese

Photo: NE Wildlife

Farmers and shooters in Scotland are teaming up to protect crops from thousands of migrating geese.

The open season for shooting geese on farmland has closed but farmers can apply to Scottish Natural Heritage for a specific out of season shooting licence. They will need to demonstrate that they are likely to experience crop losses and had made reasonable attempts at scaring birds from fields at risk.

Farmers in Scotland who would like to be put in contact with goose guides and wildfowling clubs in their area should contact BASC Scotland.

BASC Scotland director Colin Shedden said: “BASC Scotland is in close contact with a number of BASC-registered goose guides and wildfowling clubs and many would be willing to help local farmers at this key time of the year. The pink-footed goose population alone now numbers over 500,000 and most of them will be travelling through Scotland in the next couple of months. Newly emerging crops and the “first bite” of grass will be targeted by these geese.

“Whilst SNH manages a number of goose schemes for barnacle geese, the only provision made for pink-footed geese is a small scheme around the Loch of Strathbeg in Aberdeenshire.”

Mike Hardy, a member of BASC Council and chairman of BASC’s Scottish committee, said: “As the first green shoots of the 2017 growing season begin to appear it is not just the livestock that are looking forward to the taste of fresh green grass. They will be competing against thousands of pink footed geese who are about to move into these areas to join those already here. They too will be looking to take advantage of the early grass growth to prepare themselves for the northwards migration from Scotland to Iceland.

“BASC recognises that this time of year is a busy time in agriculture with calving and lambing preoccupying many farmers. The assistance of BASC members and BASC-registered goose guides can offer a workable solution to the lack of available farm staff to protect young crops and grass.”

Farmers who would like to be put in contact with goose guides and wildfowling clubs in their area should contact BASC Scotland on 01350 723226 or scotland@basc.org.uk

ENDS

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