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Readers Competition In association with Fife Country Clothing Breaking barriers Disabled access to country sports

Scottish Gamekeepers Association Twenty years and counting

Habitat & Species Protection Hope for the grey partridge?

Classic Gun By Ross Haygarth

Shooting, Fishing & Wildlife Photography With Linda Mellor The Caledonian Fly Company By Malcolm & Karen Anderson

Personal File By Tommy Davidson, For Farmers UK Cooking with Game Mouth watering recipe from Wendy Barrie

Top Ten Shooting Tips By Stewart Cumming, Hopetoun Clays

Health Benefits of Fishing By Linda Mellor Plus


september 2017


Scottish Countryside Alliance Scottish Ladies Shooting Clubs Deer Management Scottish Association for Country Sports Scottish Country Life s Fox Control Outdoor Look s What’s New and much more

contents 4

september 2017


Pies, ticks and gamekeeper award!

10 Shooting, fishing & wildlife photography

editor's bit From here we grow…

Welcome to our third issue of Shooting Scotland Magazine and our first to go out on sale in newsagents across Scotland. This is the big step that allows the magazine a higher visible profile, and only the very beginning of us growing and expanding the title. For example, in addition to newsagents, we have arranged to have magazines available through shooting & fishing outlets too. We also have magazines with and ‘on board’ Hebridean Air Services to the Western Isles from their base at Oban Airport. We now have a huge task ahead as we grow our retail reach throughout Scotland from this beginning, while at the same time expanding the magazine content and developing partnerships with the right people across the nation. All exciting stuff! Our next issue will be out on 7th October, so I am very keen to hear your ideas for things you want to read about in Scotland, after all this is a magazine for you! So, you have this magazine in front of you right now?....then we need to hear from you. To our advertisers I say this, we appreciate your support tremendously, and we aim to be the best magazine that we can possibly be to help you reach our readers – and the only way to do that, is to be widely available in the right rural locations and to provide great articles of real & genuine interest. Shooting Scotland is now on the news shelves, we are here to stay and grow. I hope you will all join us.

Tips from Linda Mellor

11 Viewpoint

Points of view by Niall Rowantree

13 The Scottish Gamekeepers Association Twenty years and counting

17 Scottish Country Life


By Linda Mellor

18 The Caledonian Fly Co. By Malcolm & Karen Anderson

20 Scottish Country Alliance Consequences of Brexit?

22 The Scottish Ladies Shooting Club Girls with guns having fun!

23 Habitat & Species Protection Hope for the grey partridge?

29 Deer Management

Deer management review

31 Scottish Association for Country Sports Tail docking results

32 Breaking barriers

Disabled access to country sports

33 Classic Gun

By Ross Haygarth

34 Fox control

With Graeme Kelly

36 Personal File


Tommy Davidson, For Farmers UK

37 The Falconer

With Stewart Robertson

38 Top Ten Shooting Tips

By Stewart Cumming, Hopetoun Clays

40 Gundogs

Competition or Pleasure?

41 Air guns

Are air guns still useful asks David Scott?


42 Health benefits of fishing By Linda Mellor

44 The Ghillie

Guide to tackle with Robert White

45 Cooking with game

Mouthwatering recipe from Wendy Barrie

46 Artworks

Featuring the work of Clare Shaw

47 The outdoor look Clothing to ponder


48 Readers competition

In association with Fife Country

49 What’s new

Slàinte, Athole.

New products on the market

EDITOR & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail:


PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Christina Fleming Email:

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Red grouse in the golden light

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 01738 550157 Email:

ADVERTISING MANAGER Trevor Knights Tel. 01738 447378 Email:

COPYRIGHT This publication has been produced and published by ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD who are the copyright owners. No reproduction, copying, image scanning, storing or recording of any part of this publication without the permission of ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD. Contents disclaimer: SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is not responsible for any factual inaccuracies within press information supplied to us. Any concerns regarding such matters should be directed to the supplier of the materials.

SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is designed, produced and published by Athole Design & Publishing Ltd., Tolastadh, 18 Corsie Drive, Kinnoull, Perth, Scotland PH2 7BU. Tel. 01738 639747


news Green Speysider is Scotland’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year

Connectivity Committee, handed over the prize to Iain at the Scottish Game Fair yesterday, along with SGA Chairman, Alex Hogg. He said: “I am delighted that Iain has been awarded this prize. His passion and drive, which has been developed not only by the North Highland College but by being an apprentice, is a credit to him. I am delighted Iain has chosen this worthwhile profession.” SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The decision was a very

difficult one, with a final shortlist of 3- all of whom are a credit to their work. “The gamekeeping profession continues to evolve, with greater regulation and need for continuous training. Young keepers, stalkers and ghillies on river and hill, today, have to take account of many changes in management and land use. It is great to see youngsters such as Iain emerging and taking up positions of trust within our profession.”

Staring role for our gun dogs

A Speyside-born teenager managing iconic species amidst green energy development in the highlands has been named Scotland’s Young Gamekeeper of the Year. The award, judged by the profession’s representative body, The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, is the most coveted prize for an early years practitioner on land and river. Iain Coltart (18) from Carrbridge collected the prize after impressing judges with his breadth of skills, maturity, passion and his ability to communicate the role of the modern gamekeeper. Iain, whose parents work in teaching and care sectors, tends grouse, pheasants and red deer at Glendoe Estate near Loch Ness, whilst also supporting a range of threatened moorland birds. The extensive Hydro scheme at Glendoe and the Stronelairg wind farm on a neighbouring estate means he is also in regular contact with many other hill users on a daily basis. Communicating the importance of responsible gamekeeping, therefore, is something he believes it vital to the future health of an industry worth £200m a year to the economy. 4

“The management we do on the estate benefits more than just the game species,” said the youngster, who completed a Modern Apprenticeship before embarking on an NC at North Highland College UHI in Thurso. “We are a busy estate, with the hydro work and the wind farm traffic accessing our ground. A lot of walkers use the community footpath, too. When people are interested, I think is is important to stop and explain the way the land is managed and why. If you take the time most people, in my opinion, understand. “It is important to dispel the old myth of the ‘grumpy gamekeeper’ and engage. At the end of the day, although we manage it, the hill is there for others, too.” Asked why he chose a career in gamekeeping, something which started with work experience at Rothiemurchus, Iain said there was only one job he would have considered. “I always wanted to work outdoors,” he said. “Every single day is different. There is nothing like it, in my view. It is my passion.” Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, Convener of the Rural Economy and

Gun dogs demonstrated why they are so loved and appreciated as they went on parade at the Scottish Game Fair at Scone in July. Golden retrievers, Labradors, Cocker spaniels, English pointers, German short-haired pointers, Gordon setters, Springer spaniels, Vizslas, Weimaraners were all stars of the show at the annual event celebrating country sports and rural communities.

Kirsty Cousins, a professional gun dog trainer, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people bringing their working dogs along the Scottish Game Fair and championing the importance of the numerous breeds active today on our moorlands. “This way of life has remained unchanged for centuries and these animals are a much loved and essential part of the rural sector.”

Tweed Forum Nominated for Major International River Prize The Tweed Forum, the organization that protects and conserves the natural, built and cultural heritage of the River Tweed and its surroundings,

has been shortlisted for a major international River prize. Awarded for outstanding achievements in river restoration and protection management, the

news Thiess International River Prize is presented each year by the International River Foundation, with the winner awarded $200,000 Australian dollars in prize money.

The Tweed is up against three other strong contenders – the San Antonio River in Texas, USA, The Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers in Alaska, USA and the Pasig River in the Philippines. Previous winners

of the prestigious competition include the River Niagara, the Rhine and the Danube. The 2017 winner will be announced at the International Riversymposium in Brisbane,

Australia in September (18th20th), and representatives of each of the four finalists will travel to the event to share their knowledge and experience with others in the field from across the globe.

Protect yourself from Ticks

In the UK we have two families of ticks. The soft tick family called “Argasidae” and the hard tick family called “Ixodidae”. Out of these, three particular species of hard tick are more likely to attach to humans and their pets. The “Ixodes Ricinus” also known as the sheep tick, wood tick, deer tick and castor bean tick. The “Ixodes Hexagonus” also known as the hedgehog tick and the “Dermacentor Reticulates also known as the ornate cow or marsh tick. However some species of soft tick will also bite given the opportunity.

The Tick life cycle. When ticks hatch, called the larvae stage they immediately need to feed to build strength and grow, at this stage they only have six legs and are very small. Once the first feed is complete they moult and move to their next stage and become nymphs, they will now have eight legs. The nymph tick will continue to feed and moult again when they will move to the last stage which is an adult. At this stage breeding takes place and the whole cycle starts again. Who’s hunting who? In order to feed, ticks need a

host. Normally they choose farm live stock and wildlife to feed on but humans give off the same signals therefore we accidently become targets. Ticks can only crawl so they position themselves at the top of grasses, plant stems or on the edge of leaves where they wait to ambush a victim as they brush past. Ticks have a number of ways to detect a host is approaching. Firstly whilst waiting they wave their forelegs in the air which carry the “Haller’s Organ”. This is a sensory organ that picks up odours produced from the host’s

body. The black legged tick which is a close relative to the UK wood tick have been known to pick up human odours from eleven meters away. The tick can also detect carbon dioxide from the potential host’s breath which again lets them know a host is close. Final the tick picks up vibrations and can detect a moving shadow, at this point it will stretch its legs out waiting to catch hold of the host as it passes. Once on the host, the ticks mission is to remain undetected so it will crawl around to locate a dark warm area where it will 5

news prepare to feed. (This is why it is important to toughly inspect your whole body if you have been in a tick area as many time the tick will be un noticed until it starts to swell with blood). Once this area has been found the ticks weapon is deployed. Ticks do not have a head, what the do have is some serious mouth parts.

There are three main ways of preventing tick bites. One is to wear light colour clothing as this will show up ticks crawling up you so you can knock them off before they attach. Secondly is the use of spays and creams, these can be used to coat your clothing and repel ticks from crawling on you in the first place. The third and relatively newest

method in the UK is protective clothing. The market leading manufacturer of Anti tick clothing is Rovince. Clothing from Rovince is impregnated with their patented ZECK-Protec treatment which causes a thermal barrier over the garment. This barrier stops ticks being able to grip the garment and makes them fall off meaning they never

get chance to find a way into the body. Compared to other methods the clothing offers a much user friendly approach. For one the clothing comes in darker colours so it is more suited to the countryside. Another benefit is the treatment used on all Rovince clothing is added under controlled conditions making it safe for the user.

Anglers asked to get their flapper snaps out Sea anglers who have fished in a west coast Marine Protected Area (MPA) could unwittingly hold information wanted by scientists stored on their phones, hard drives or in family albums. Marine scientists studying the world’s largest skate species in the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura MPA are asking anglers to share any photographs they have of common skate, sometimes known as flapper skate, which were caught and released in the area during the last 10 years. The species has suffered large declines in population numbers over recent decades and the fish is the main focus of marine biologists’ research in the MPA. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) are working together on a project looking to see if individual skates can be identified by the spot patterns on their backs. Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura was proposed as an MPA by SSACN and designated by the Scottish Government in 2014 to help protect the common skate. The proposal was based on information submitted by volunteer sea anglers showing that the area supports a good number of resident mature common skate, which may also be breeding in the area. Skate are related to sharks and common skate can grow up to two metres across and three metres long. The species is non-migratory, spending its life in a relatively small area. The fish is a favourite of sea anglers and it attracts visitors from far and wide to the area. It is estimated that sea anglers spend 6

news around £23 million a year in the Argyll and Lochaber region alone. All common skate captured in Scottish waters must be released unharmed.

Anglers with photos they are happy to share with the project should contact skates@sams. or visit the dedicated SAMS website at

Game for a pie? With Game so readily available, but still not fully understood when cooking it, at Storey Poultry they’ve gone one step further to make it easier and more enjoyable. Not everybody enjoys the stronger flavour of Game, so Storey Poultry have created a pie with a twist. Using only fresh ingredients, they take pheasant breast, pork tenderloin, smoked back bacon with Madeira wine and bouquet garni creating a rich gravy encased in a delicious shortcrust pastry. With a meat ratio of 60% pheasant, 40% pork, they have created a pie that has an array of flavours. The pie is wholesome and very tasty but does not have the predominance of Game

flavour and it can be ready to eat on the table in 25 minutes prior to defrosting. Each pie weighs 200g (approx). Please note this product is not suitable for microwaving as it may contain lead shot. Made as a small individual pie, baked and frozen they can be delivered to you via courier in their own special packaging to remain frozen for you to enjoy. Due to the fact Storey Poultry use fresh ingredients the pies will be available later in the year once the game season is under way. For all enquiries please call Storey Poultry Supplies on: 01473 823598 or 07879 496970

ACCESS TRAILERS™ Countryside People Carriers GP Trailer with lift off top & versatile base unit 3 Models that carry 10 to 18, option of 16 inch wheels

Transport for Guns, Beater’s and Game From Off Road ATV’s to Tractor Drawn

Visit: Tel: 07854 085880 Email: 8

news Tweed Forum Launches Search for Unsung Heroes of the River

2016 winner Frank Turnbull

The Tweed Forum has launched a search in the Borders and North Northumberland for a worthy winner of this year’s River Champion Award. The accolade was introduced by the charitable trust last year as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations and rewards an individual from any walk of life from the Scottish Borders or Northumberland with an outstanding commitment to the protection and enhancement of the River Tweed and the natural, built and cultural heritage of its surroundings. Nominations are invited from the public on both sides of the Border and the Forum is hoping

that farmers, foresters, fishermen, landowners and members of the community will nominate anyone they believe deserves special recognition for their work in the preservation of one of the area’s most precious assets. Nominations for the 2017 Tweed River Champion Award close on Friday 22 September 2017. They should be made in writing by post or email and full details are available on the Tweed Forum’s website at www. A shortlist of nominees will be announced in October with the eventual winner, chosen by a panel of judges, announced in November. 9


Shooting, fishing and wildlife photography Tips by LInda Mellor Most people can pick up a camera or use a phone camera to take pictures these days, however, following some basic advice can turn mediocre images into great images. Much of the advice in this article can be applied to both, but if you are serious about improving your photography, a camera is a much better option than a phone. To become a competent photographer, you need to master your camera’s functions and get away for the ‘auto’ option.


Photographing wildlife is highly rewarding especially if you are patient and prepared. Prior preparation is of the utmost importance. Before you leave the car ensure you have everything you need; a lens cloth, extra memory cards and a plastic bag (useful to sit on or to cover your camera in a downpour). There are no guarantees of what you will see or when you will see it, but if you are prepared to take photographs from the minute you (quietly!) close the car door then

Using single colour for contemporary effect


View Point By Niall Rowantree Natural framing shows off this foxes face

you could be making the most of your one and only opportunity. Wear suitable ‘quiet’ outdoor clothing of muted colours that allows you to blend in, walk quietly and slowly while looking around and listening. Always have your camera at the ready as you may stumble upon other wildlife especially if you are out during an active period, like dawn. Unless you are going to sit in the same spot for hours on end, do not take a tripod with you, it is something else to carry, and you can take most shots freehand. Many cameras have a stabilising function, and if you’re in woodland, you can steady yourself on a tree. If you are used to the countryside, you will know where to look for wildlife, but if you are unsure or interested in a particular species, like deer, you should get to know your subject. Find out where it likes to feed and on what, the best time of day to see it (most wildlife are active at dawn and dusk) and

Zooming in for close up detail

how the weather may influence any sightings. When you find your subject, stay calm, relax, take deep breaths and take a few images. Don’t concern yourself about getting too close as a close-up can isolate the subject from its environment. Ideally, you should take a selection of wider shots showing the animal in its setting. If you have done all your preparation then, you should be able to work quickly, as any sudden movement may spook your subject, and it disappears before you have taken a picture. If you are interested in deer, it will be worth your while talking to a local deer-stalker to ask if they will take you out on a stalk. Stalkers are masters of field-craft and have a vast knowledge of deer, and any information they impart will be invaluable for wildlife photography. It is worth spending a day at the Scottish Deer Centre, Cupar, Fife, they have a range of deer (and other animals) and as they’re all used

Deer Management in the Spotlight… Where does it go from here? Few people involved in the management of deer in Scotland will have missed the level of scrutiny that is being focused on our activity and the perception that somehow wild deer are at the root of all the nations’ environmental ills. It seem that even in the presence of other herbivores, the desire to pin it on the deer has led to almost a blatant effort to mislead the public into believing that the highlands in particular are in the hands of evil barons determined to lay waste to the land through their tweed clad servants. This sad state of affairs has led many to lose confidence in the current government and its agencies and pushed much of what has been achieved backwards. Over the last 20 years, deer management has made major strides forwards through the formation of deer management

groups, establishment of habitat monitoring and a willingness to take into account the varying objectives of others. However, land use in Scotland varies from forestry to sporting and from commercial to environmental and we cannot have sweeping solutions to complex objectives. If we cannot reach practical compromise, that delivers socio-economic and environmental benefits, we will end in a position of failure no matter what our vision is. To rely on the false gods of environmental tourism and the tax payer funding all, is unlikely to deliver the rewilding vision that some have for Scotland particularly in this time of political uncertainty. It is high time that we pull together and find common ground that allows rural Scotland to deliver its best and be home for us all.

Niall Rowantree is Headstalker and Sporting Manager of West Highland Hunting

photography to humans you have plenty scope for a variety of images including close-ups. If you want to photograph an angler on the river, first consider the photograph you wish to take. To illustrate the angler fishing a pool surrounded by beautiful countryside you will want a wide image. Look around to ensure there are no distracting objects in the background like pylons, poles or signs. You don’t want a picture of someone fishing a lovely spot by the river with a line of cars in the background or a brightly coloured, discarded plastic bag caught in a tree or a pylon sticking up in the background sprouting from the top of their head. If there are any distractions reposition yourself or, where possible, ask your subject to move position. You can capture a vast range of images if you spend a few hours on the river; close-ups of rods,


reels, fly boxes and flies. Ask the angler to cast towards you, and, with a high shutter speed, you can capture a selection of interesting images of the fishing line in the air and being pulled from the water. Consider the backdrop when taking pictures of the angler casting his line out, a lightly coloured line will be lost against a bright sky. The light always plays an important part especially if you are photographing on a river or loch as the water can give you many interesting variables. There are magical times of day when the light is beautifully soft and golden. The hour before dawn and just before dusk can be spectacular as the light is changing and flattering and ideal for portraits or emotive images. Avoid midday as the sun is at its highest and the light is very harsh creating stark contrasts and shadows. If the midday sun is

A little surrealist effect


Using the natural colours of nature to create the perfect background

Landscaping to show the wide open spaces during a shoot

Twenty years and counting‌

2017 marks a historic year for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, with our organisation celebrating 20 years of existence. In that time, we have proudly represented the part our game-keeper, stalker, river and land ghillie, wildlife manager and ranger members have played in shaping and managing Scotland’s celebrated land and river scapes so that visitors from all over the world continue to return to Scotland each year for sport and recreation. We have also fought many battles for our members, helping to address misconceptions and en-sure they could retain the legal tools they require to manage effectively, not just for game species but the countless other ground nesting birds and songbirds proven to benefit from their protection. Whilst many challenges have been met and the skill and competence level of our land managers continues to reach ever higher, there are still issues we must face,

politically and in the media. Last year, the industry in the UK faced up to the threat of a ban on driven grouse shooting. Although this was particular to England and Wales, no section of our industry is ever fully immune to legislative change happening in other territories. As we broach our own 20th anniversary, our members will be aware that a petition to licence all game shooting is to be heard by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Commit-tee. It is important that everyone who enjoys our way of life is willing to work to keep it; to persuade where persuasion is needed; to inform where there is misinformation and to make contact with decision makers in their own areas to ensure they know the full facts. We have special landscapes and a special sporting product in Scotland. It is time for all of us to fully appreciate it and tell others why it is unique and deserving of value. Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Inveralmond Business Centre. 6 Auld Bond Road, South Inveralmond, Perth, PH1 3FX. Tel: 01738 587515

photography unavoidable, try finding a spot in the shade when the likes of trees will filter the light. Shotgun photography is a great subject to master but never compromise on safety and always wear ear protection. Whether its clay shooting or game shooting pay attention to shooters to see if they are left or right handed, you’ll want to photograph their face for a more engaging image. Capturing the detail of the spent cartridges ejecting when the gun is broken is a fun ‘showy’ image but always ensure you have a high shutter speed for sharp images. On a game shooting day, take pictures from varying angles and always try to photograph

Experiment with monochrome to show textures

the gundogs working down at their level as you’ll get a far more interesting image (most people look down at them) and a different perspective.


Give your subjects looking space and acquaint yourself with the rule of thirds. Don’t overly rely on Photoshop. If you spend too much time fiddling

photography with your images, they will lose their integrity and will look over-processed. Photography is about creating images with your camera after all.

Young owl close up crop


Setting shutter speed to show moving action

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE It’s one of my favourite times of year for being outdoors and enjoying our flora and fauna. It’s been a very dry spring affecting farming crops and river levels, but the bright, dry weather encourages more people to get out and enjoy it. I was invited a clay shoot at Dunkeld with the Scottish Association of Country Sports (SACS) in early April. It felt good getting my old 682 Beretta out of the gun cabinet and into it’s gun-slip as it had been a while since I last shot, thinking about it, I hadn’t shot any clays for more than a year. On arrival, we were greeted by Beth from SACS with coffee and bacon rolls. It was lovely catching up with the rest of the crowd, and soon afterwards we headed out in small groups to the clay shooting range. We had unusually warm, sunny weather, and what I like to call a ‘no-coat day’. The group members took it in turn to shoot ten targets each before moving on to other stands. My first two shots were a hit then a miss, but I took my time and steadied myself. The time flew, and we’d all shot 50 targets, and I wished I could have carried on shooting. No prizes for me but I was delighted my guest, Artist, Jim Hardie, had enjoyed the clay shooting. Considering Jim hadn’t shot before and, at the age of 79, he had taken to it very

well, he handled the gun with confidence and dusted plenty clay targets. It is a busy year for me as clients revamp their websites, launch new products and expand their existing businesses. I recently worked with Simba Rods based in Crieff helping promote their range of bespoke rods, made by avid angler Simon Barnes. Simon called me one morning to let me know one of his customers had bought his ‘wee loch rod’ and caught a monster 10lb+ trout. Simon makes all his rods to order if you would like to see the range or order one you can contact Simon via phone or website (https://simbarods. com) or visit him on the Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine stand at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair Friday 30 June - Sunday 02 July.

Later on this month I am looking forward to going out deer stalking with Kenneth Larsen from Venator (http:// ) based in Perth. I have been out deer stalking many times over the years with other stalkers but never to shoot. As a Venator product Ambassador, I feel it is important to fully experience the sport and go stalking with a rifle and not my camera. I am field-testing (just like road-testing but for the countryside!) a number of items from the Hillman hunting clothing range stocked by Venator. If you like your t-shirts, you should check out the top-notch 3D Gamewear: my favourites are the Fox and the Roe Deer. Do many readers use Social Media? If you do, you may have been aware of Facebook in the news again. I took part in a phone-in via

BBC Radio Scotland on Kaye Adam’s programme to talk about using Facebook. I have used it for 5 or 6 years with personal and business pages; I share my photographs including a popular daily ‘good morning’ photo. I have built up quite a big following but limit the information I share and the time I spend updating my pages. During the phone-in, I wasn’t surprised to hear how many people are addicted to using Facebook. I think it’s a great tool for sharing, but you should get out more if your life revolves around your Facebook feed! Delighted to see the Countryside Alliance (CA) is leading the way in tackling online bullies and trolls. For far too long people with countryside, interests have been subjected to online attacks and threats. I’ve used Twitter since 2009 and have had my fair share of abuse including being called a few unpleasant names (what’s the old saying, sticks and stones..) and being accused of ‘stalking defenceless animals’ with my camera. I can’t understand why people think it is acceptable to hurl abuse just because they don’t agree with you or your way of life. The CA are urging us to take a stand against online abuse and bullying of people in the countryside, using the hashtag #reportonlineabuse 17

Caledonia Fly Company By Malcolm and Karen Anderson Fly Fishing is one of the most social and exciting sports out there to spend our free time amongst the beautiful countryside where there are plenty of different types of fish to catch. I fell in love with fishing very early on in my life and am still hooked on it today at 55. I started by joining my local club and getting to know my way around how to catch the fish that was jumping around in front of me. Why was it rising or jumping out of the water to see where it was going or maybe feeding. All was to be revealed to me by more knowledgeable anglers who passed their wisdom on happily to a very keen youngster. After fifty years I feel I am one of those wise anglers now and have passed on all that I have learnt by spending a life out on so many different waters. Still as excited as ever when I am heading out with my friends to a river to try and hook a fish but I also have been lucky enough to have my very own fly company Caledonia Fly Company. It is run by Karen and I in the heart of picturesque Perthshire, we started the business up in 2003 and now both work fulltime on delivering the trades recognised highest quality and innovative flies for all species of fish. I always found it easy to design flies as a trout angler in my early years looking at what was in or on top of the water and going back to try and replicate this wee beastie I had seen. Now flies are designed around new and exciting material that come out each season and you can put your own spin on a contemporary pattern. I spent many successful years 18

Stillwater trout competition fishing throughout the UK, when you are in these circles fellow fly tiers and myself are showing our latest inventions and colour schemes of patterns in the highest of secret societies! This flowed down to the fly market place month and years later. Being part of this circle was a great grounding for the years ahead of owning you own fly company, what a dream. Over the last 10 years I have been drawn to Salmon

fly fishing, in the early years I used to fish for the salmon only in the early part of the season and in autumn but now I crave the peace and tranquillity on the river, out there in a stream casting for the largest freshwater fish in our rivers is what does it for me. Working with flies everyday day and trying to improve the look, movement and the fish attract ability in all types of weather and water conditions is what it’s all about, it is not a

bad job and I am lucky enough to do it. Enjoy your fishing whatever you are trying to catch the most important thing for me is the challenge and the camaraderie be it in the boat house, fishing lodge or just sitting having the craic on the river bank. I hope you like the few words I have written about myself and where you flies come from, wishing you all a successful and exciting life in fishing.

The consequences of Brexit for countryside management By Jamie Stewart Scottish Countryside Alliance Director

Jamie Stewart, Director for Scotland, SCA


As farmers work long hours harvesting cereals, bale and cultivate for next season, thoughts turn to the reality of Brexit as policy starts to unfold in earnest. We know that the UK’s decision

to leave the EU has triggered proposals to implement the most significant changes to agricultural policy since it joined the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 1973.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, said: “There’s a huge opportunity to design a better system for supporting farmers”. However, it must be recognised that when combined with exit from the single market and the customs union, these policies will create an agricultural playing field pretty similar to that of 100 years ago, one perhaps reflecting the collapse of the 1920s Agricultural Act and the return to a free market economy with little or no government involvement. Some suggest that cutting subsidies could be the best thing for the UK environmentally and that it could encourage more farmers to pursue sustainable practices. While a very welcome proposition, lessons need to be learned from others who have followed this route. New Zealand removed farming subsidies in the 80’s and consequently changed

farming practices and structure from small to large-scale commercial units. This model, was viewed as a success in productivity and innovation terms, but had a devastating effect on the environment. The decision to end our membership of the European Union (EU) could have consequences for the agricultural industry, the shooting industry should have less to worry about. We know that firearms legislation in the UK is among the strictest and tightest in the world, and certainly exceeds what is required by the EU Firearms Directive, so firearms law would be broadly unaffected. Having said that, when we do leave the EU we need to ensure the continuation of visitor’s permits in the form of the EU Firearms Pass to allow our sporting brethren to travel freely in Europe with shotguns and rifles. Equally,

we need to ensure that the EU set up a free trade agreement with the UK and that guns will continue to be imported exactly as they are now with no increase in VAT or duty. The Grey Partridge was once the most widespread game bird in the UK; its historic fondness for grassy steppe habitats allowing it to adapt readily to cultivated ecosystems. Indeed, during the 18th and 19th century, aided by an increase in arable farming, land enclosure and widespread predator control the partridge population expanded considerably. In the wake of WWII, the introduction of new arable farming methods did much to destroy the habitat of the grey partridge. Large scale hedgerow and bank removal, stubble burning, silage cutting in May, artificial fertilisers and chemical weed killer sprays which destroyed the insects

on which the birds depended all took their toll on partridge and other ground nesting birds survival rates. Can a step into the past can make for a brighter future? It may well take a tremendous effort but, I for one would support a return to pre-war farming policy and practices, implemented differently from that in the New Zealand example, that could provide alternatives to increased production through support to farmers for the provision of sympathetic environmental services and does not restrict shooting in any way but actually enhance shooting’s contribution, both environmentally and economically. Nothing is definite. Uncertainty ensues - farmers and gamekeepers can only wait to see what happens and hope that a step into the past can make for a brighter future.


Girls with guns have fun; and help others too…

What a year it has been so far! Scottish Ladies Shooting Club has been going from strength to strength, both in terms of member numbers & in terms of the variety and quality of events that have been put on. We have monthly clay shoots, an annual Ladies Charity Day, several simulated game days, annual Game Shooting Day and attend a number of charity days across the country. The Scottish Ladies Shooting Club was started with a main aim of providing ladies with an opportunity to try out shooting in a friendly, relaxed and safe environment. All you need is outdoor clothing and a willingness to try something new, as the shooting school provides the gun, cartridges and full tuition. Our monthly event, on the first Sunday of every month, rotates around 22

a number of central Scotland shooting grounds including County Clays at Dunkeld, Auchterhouse near Dundee, Cluny Clays at Kirkcaldy and Gleneagles in Perthshire. The club caters for complete beginners, novice, improver, intermediate and experienced ladies. Another aim of the club is to keep our shooting as cost effective as possible, so we have negotiated some great prices from the shooting grounds. As the club is non-profit making, all we ask for is an annual membership of £30 to cover our costs. The membership comes with a few benefits including bulk buying cartridges at discount prices, discounted clay rates at the shooting grounds and discount at selected retailers. Our meets aren’t just about shooting though – socializing

and having fun is a big part of the club. At our monthly event we get together for a light lunch beforehand with tea, coffee and cake afterwards to give our members an opportunity to get to

know more people – not just those they were tutored with. Fun is definitely the name of the game with some friendly rivalry thrown in as everyone improves and moves between tutor groups. The socialising highlight of the year is our annual shoot dinner in early December. This gives the ladies a chance to remove the winter layers, put on a posh frock and let our hair down with a glass or two of fizz or a Bruadar cocktail (Bruadar make wonderful Sloe Gin, Raspberry Vodka and Whisky Liqueur). We try to keep the fun element to the fore at several specific events, so it’s Christmas Jumpers in December, fancy dress to support the Auchterhouse Charity Ladies Day in June, a BBQ at our end of June shoot, and a longer afternoon tea with cakes galore at our September shoot to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support (£103 raised). Whilst having fun we also like to help others, especially as many of us have had those close to us affected by cancer. The club’s chosen charity is Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Dundee. Our Scottish Ladies Days and raffle at the shoot dinner have raised £3087.13 for Maggie’s

to date. The Scottish Ladies Shooting Club has entered teams into several charity events the last couple of years to help raise money for the Saints and Sinner’s Charity Fund, the Army Benevolent Fund and the Edenmill Charity Shoot. Charity shoots are a great day out and fun way to help raising money for a good cause. We are delighted to report our teams of ladies more than managed to hold their own amongst the teams of men. Our teams have been placed 3rd, fourth and fifth overall with twenty to twenty-two teams entered. Our charity Scottish Ladies Day in May was well attended with the after lunch talks on gun fit, buying a gun and eye dominance and shooting gun down presented by Derek O’Neill of GMK and Stewart Cumming of Hopetoun Clays. We were delighted to have the opportunity to try several guns from Beretta, including the new Vittoria lady gun. The Scottish Ladies Day is a great event for bringing together ladies from all over Scotland who do not shoot competitively. Now that the club is well established & ladies confidence in their shooting abilities is higher, more of our members are taking the opportunity to take part in charity days, shoots and competitions around the country. We have effectively lost Gail Barclay to the competition circuit & the Scottish team (we are so proud of you Gail, but please keep coming back for the Christmas Shoot Dinner as your Christmas hats are amazing!). Jennifer O’Neill and Caroline Madden are great shots and more than ready to take on the competition scene. It was great to see several ladies bring their guns along to the clay shooting at Scone Game Fair in July (Susan, Lesley, Gail, Caroline, Lisa, Sylvia and Justine). There are plans afoot to get more of our ladies shooting at the 2018 Scottish Game Fair. By the time this goes to print, we will have held our second Simulated Game Day at Hopetoun. Not that we wish to boast, but those who have been involved in running the days for us in the past have said that they have never laughed so much and we are much more fun than some of the men only groups

that come to them – sorry gents, we are obviously just much better at poaching from each other; not to mention the whoops of delight whilst we are shooting ! We will be holding another Simulated Game Day in September. We hope that we have given you a flavour of the fun and clays that this club offers to ladies who wish to get into / continue shooting. We are a very friendly and welcoming club that is open to all abilities – please have a look at our upcoming events below and get in touch, we’d love to have you come along. To find out more: • Website: www.scottishladiesshooting. • Facebook group w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / scottishladiesshooting. • Email: info@scottishladiesshooting. • Telephone Lesley on 07971 547 826 or Cara on 07771 695 494 Upcoming Scottish Ladies Shooting Club events: • Sunday 6th August 2017 – Cluny Clays, Nr Kirkcaldy - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00

shooting - £45 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/novices). Friday 25th August 2017 – Private Shopping Evening at House of Bruar - 17:30 – 19:00 with canapes and champagne at 18:00– Ladies from the club and their guests will be able to check out the new range of Autumn / Winter country wear and shooting accessories. Minibus to/from Pitlochry. Meal in Pitlochry afterwards. Sunday 3rd September 2017 – Autumn simulated game day at Hopetoun Clays - Hot breakfast at 09:30, shoot six drives with break for a light lunch and finish with afternoon tea. The price is £160 for full guns or £90 for half gun. Sunday 17th September 2017 - Joint event with BASC Scotland - £60 for clays, cartridges, coaching and lunch provided – 10:00 talk on guns, ammunition and the law – 12:00 lunch – 13:00 shooting. Sunday 1st October 2017 County Clays, Dunkeld - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting £50 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/novices). Sunday 5th November 2017 - Gleneagles Shooting School

- 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £60 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/novices). Friday 17th November 2017 – Ladies Game Day Hallyburton Estate, Nr Coupar Angus - 100 bird driven day a mix of pheasant, partridge and duck - 10 guns at £300 inc VAT each. Price includes ‘Elevensies’ and lunch in the ‘Beaters Bothy’. Minder/ loader available. Saturday 2nd December 2017 - BASC Scotland Ladies Driven Game Day at Lochearnhead – Ideal opportunity for first game day - BASC staff and shotgun coaches present to provide guidance and supervision. £190 including light lunch. Husbands/partners welcome to load. Saturday 2nd December 2017 – SLSC Fourth Birthday Party at Dunkeld House Hotel – Pre-dinner cocktails, Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and Dancing for £99. Sunday 3rd December 2017 - County Clays, Dunkeld - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £50 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/novices).


habitat and species protection

Hope for the Grey Partridge? By Dr Dave Parish, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

(Grey Partidge – Courtesy of Peter Thompson, GWCT)

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The humble Grey Partridge is often referred to as the barometer of the countryside because its status so often reflects that of many other farmland species. We’ve all heard of how recent agricultural policy has changed farmland and, in turn, driven many species into steep declines, but there is much that can be done to help Grey Partridges and their cousins, though it isn’t always easy to deliver that help on the ground. The classic story of how to manage farmland for the benefit of Grey Partridge is that of the threelegged stool, which comprises nesting habitat, brood-rearing cover and the legal reduction of certain predators to limit the negative impact they can have on breeding success. More recently, it has been shown that we probably need to add a fourth leg – winter cover crops, providing food and a safe-haven. All are usually needed: without any one, populations struggle to persist. Predator control is the most difficult to deliver in the absence of a professional, privatelyfunded gamekeeper, though some support is available in certain circumstances from the Scottish

Rural Development Programme (SRDP). The habitat measures are a little easier with SRDP options such as ‘grass strips’ and ‘wild bird seed for farmland birds’, though the regulations aren’t always helpful: those for grass strips require annual cutting – the perfect way to destroy good nesting habitat! This is not a problem unique to Scotland. Delivering appropriate habitat measures is often more problematic in other parts of Europe where agri-environment schemes may have other priorities like protecting water supplies and limiting soil erosion. This led the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to approach the EU (the North Sea Region Interreg programme), with the idea of establishing demonstration sites in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands to implement and promote measures that best help Grey Partridge and other wildlife, and ultimately try to improve agri-environment schemes across northern Europe. The resulting PARTRIDGE project (Protecting the Areas Resources Through Researched Innovative Demonstration of Good Examples) was launched recently and is off to a flying start with habitat measures being introduced at all 10 demonstration sites (http:// We are aiming to convert 7 per cent of the land on the sites into beneficial habitats – the level necessary to produce stable or increasing populations – by introducing many of the habitats that GWCT has been researching for years, alongside a novel ‘all in one’ cover crop developed in Germany. This comprises species of annual, biennial and perennial plants (with the species varying between countries) sown in large blocks (>1ha) or wide strips (ideally at least 24m). In the year after sowing, half the crop is cut which provides excellent

habitat and species protection brood-rearing cover, whilst the remaining crop is great for nesting and winter cover. Cutting rotates each year so there is always a combination of short and long cover available. The dimensions of the crop are important because in the absence of predator control, nesting success of Grey Partridge is far higher in larger blocks of this habitat. Even where predator control is practised, this could still be very relevant in the face

of increasing badger numbers, for example. The Grey Partridge in Scotland is struggling, with a population now probably well below 10,000 pairs and Europe-wide of no more than around 2.6 million. Hopefully the PARTRIDGE project will help inform more people about what they can do and motivate them to take action, and contribute to a reversal of fortunes for this keystone species.

Golden Plover Award 2017

(left to right): Adam Smith, Director, GWCT Scotland; Craig Jackson and Scott MacKenzie, Fearann Eilean Iarmain; Michael Yellowlees, Head of Rural Services, Lindsays; Ian Coghill, Chairman, GWCT; Richard May, The Heather Trust; Simon Thorp, Director, The Heather Trust.

Golden Plover Award 2017 winner Fearann Eilean Iarmain was celebrated at a special event laid on by Lindsays at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair held in July. The Skye estate saw off tough competition from two other finalists to win the award, which is jointly run by The Heather Trust and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Scotland. The Golden Plover Award is held each year to celebrate the very best of progressive, innovative upland management in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on balance and integration. Now in its fifth year, the Award was given a geographical theme in 2017, and applicants were sought from across the north Highlands and West Coast, including the Hebrides.

The Deerstalker By Kenneth Larsen, Venator Pro deerstalker and MD. Deer stalking is a popular country sport, especially here in Scotland as we have a large and thriving deer population. As the deer population continues to grow it needs to be managed by deerstalkers. Stalking is an activity everyone can enjoy and gain benefit from; it’s great exercise, you’ll be exploring the countryside and broadening your wildlife knowledge, and shooting a rifle is a new skill to learn. At Venator we offer an introductory daylong course for those interested in deer stalking. The beginners’ day is run by me from our base in Perth, where we will spend the morning talking about the species of deer, rifle safety, shot placement and stalking techniques. After a light lunch we go to the rifle range so you can shoot with a rifle at a deer sized target. Before you commence a live stalk, you have to demonstrate your ability to shoot accurately with a rifle. Hunting large animals comes with a high degree of responsibility, so it is imperative you understand

the importance of safety and animal welfare. Deer stalking is done on the open hill or lowland/ woodland. One of the most exciting species to stalk is the Roe deer, and as a stalk takes around three hours, it is an ideal introduction for the novice. Stalking takes place in the morning or evening, and typically on foot or sometimes from a high seat; a strategically positioned elevated seat located in an area known for deer activity. We may walk for a number of miles searching for deer, or we may find a small group less than a field away, as, with all nature, there are no guarantees of seeing anything. Once a deer has been spotted, I will make sure you are in a position from where a safe shot can be taken and support you through the process. Stalking into deer will be one of the most thrilling outdoor experiences you are likely to have, and I look forward to welcoming you to the Venator Introduction to Deer Stalking. Visit our website for more information and our online shop.

There was a good level of interest from across the Gàidhealtachd, and the judges honed down the applicants to a final shortlist of three, with site visits carried out earlier in June. Fearann Eilean Iarmain extends through the parishes of Sleat and Strath in the southern part of Skye and is based around a network of crofts, farms and hill ground with extensive areas of regenerated and native woodland. It is home to a wide variety of birdlife including breeding populations of hen harrier, greenshank, curlew, golden plover and white tailed as well as golden eagles, and work is actively undertaken to promote the conservation of many ground nesting bird species.


habitat and species protection Tenant farmers and crofters maintain numbers of hill sheep and conduct muirburn in a cooperative arrangement designed to benefit all stakeholders. Cutting heather has been put forward as an alternative to burning where appropriate, particularly in the areas where blanket bog could be sensitive to burning. In keeping with Sir Iain Noble’s vision when he arrived on Skye in 1972, Fearann Eilean Iarmain is committed to supporting and growing the local economy and in particular the Gaelic community through the provision

of year-round employment and career opportunities as well as continuing Sir Iain’s projects to develop affordable housing. A whisky company with international distribution, two small hotels of character and an art gallery are also part of Fearann Eilean Iarmain, with a new gin distillation project currently being developed, providing further new jobs. Fearann Eilean Iarmain continues with further business initiatives as well as developing a range of sustainable enterprises, which balance and complement one another.

The competition was extremely close and both runners-up were highly commended. Reay Forest in Sutherland is a traditional deer stalking estate that has made major investments and progress in renewable energy. The judges were impressed with the wealth of knowledge on the estate, and were encouraged by future plans for peatland management being considered as part of a Carbon Action Plan. Meanwhile, Ardnamurchan Estate on the West Coast has established a reputation for innovative deer management, and has been closely involved in the

development of wildlife tourism in the area. Having been presented with a print of a Golden Plover by the celebrated wildlife artist Colin Woolf, Fearann Eilean Iarmain gamekeeper Scott McKenzie commented on how important the award was to the estate. He said: It’s a real recognition of all our hard work. We have got a great set-up at Eilean Iarmain, and we’re always trying new things. This award goes to show what can be achieved when you work together, and we hope the Golden Plover will help to really put us on the map for the future.

Helping black grouse in southern Scotland By Adam Smith, Director Scotland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a charismatic bird - larger than its red counterpart, the male is glossy black with lyre-shaped tail, a distinctive red wattle over the eye, white under tail and a white flash on its wing. The less exotic female is mottled grey-brown. Black grouse were once so widespread they were said to be present in every county in Britain, but they have been in decline for more than 150 years. This is due to a combination of factors including the loss and fragmentation of moorland and moorland fringe habitats through agricultural improvement and commercial afforestation, and increases in generalist predators. Two thirds of the remaining 5000 males are now found in Scotland with 1000 in northern England and 400 in Wales. Whilst numbers of black grouse in the Scottish Highlands are considered stable, numbers are struggling though the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway where some stability would be expected. GWCT has demonstrated through a recovery project in northern England that the declines can be stopped and numbers increased, but this requires a 26

landscape scale approach, where neighbouring moorland land managers implement a suite of conservation measures on the moor fringe. The focus is now on the south of Scotland, with the launch of a new conservation plan in early July at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair outlining necessary management approaches to stop the decline in this region, then increase numbers and encourage recolonisation of lost range. Black grouse conservation in southern Scotland – Phase 2 development of a regional strategic conservation plan has been funded by project partners the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Lammermuirs Moorland Group, Scottish Borders Council and RSPB Scotland A number of priority actions have been set out in the plan that aims to reverse the long-term decline of black grouse in the region. This has accelerated in recent decades, with numbers falling by 49% and 69% in south-west and south-east Scotland respectively between 1995/6 and 2005 to an estimated 807 and 257 males.

The new plan follows an earlier desk-top project in 2013/14 that looked specifically at the size and management of moorland areas and how this affected black grouse occupancy and numbers. This concluded that to conserve black grouse effectively in southern Scotland a landscapescale approach was required with its fundamental objectives to secure and protect core populations associated with the larger moorland areas, prior to instigating measures to increase population size and the connectivity with other moorland in the landscape. At the launch in July, Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity,

said: “Black grouse are among Scotland’s most iconic and impressive species but I am aware numbers in southern Scotland have fallen in recent decades. To halt this decline, it is therefore vital that we work together to take the right conservation action in the right places.” The new plan outlines three sets of priority actions, short, medium and long term. Short term Increase breeding productivity and over-winter survival of black grouse in the Tweedsmuir and Moorfoot Hills and the Galloway Forest Park, to provide ‘recruits’ to re-colonise neighbouring

habitat and species protection areas. This will be achieved by enhancing habitat on the moorland fringe through agri-environment/ woodland schemes, forest management and targeted predator management. Also, to establish a robust surveying and monitoring strategy to monitor populations and assess success of the work done through the course of the project. Medium term Implement immediate conservation measures to safeguard remnant black grouse populations in the Muirkirk Hills, East Galloway and the Lowther Hills. To retain and consolidate connectivity between populations in the west and east, through restoring and enhancing moorland habitat networks, forest restructuring and targeted broadleaf planting. Promote range recolonisation in the Lammermuir and Pentland Hills from the Moorfoots through agri-environment schemes on heather moorland fringes with full-


time gamekeepers. Translocation is also proposed as an option in the plan to expand the range of the birds into previously occupied areas where suitable habitat has been restored. Long term Restore and enhance connectivity between Langholm and the Tweedsmuir Hills through retention and maintenance of a heathland network east of Craik Forest, as well as investigating similar linkage north through Eskdalemuir. Also, to restore functional habitat links and connectivity between Galloway Forest Park southwards to Cairnmore to create a larger, more robust population in the south-west. Dr Philip Warren of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and author of the plan commented: “This strategic plan provides an important platform for all parties to deliver black grouse conservation objectives in southern Scotland. In the short term we need to target

resources to secure remaining populations whilst in the longer term putting in place a network of habitat corridors to enhance connectivity and facilitate future range colonisation.” Dr Sue Haysom of SNH welcomed the moves and said the Scottish Government’s Environmental Co-operation Action Fund (ECAF) and Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) provide useful resources. She said: “We are committed to black grouse conservation in Scotland – we want to ensure generations to come can enjoy the sight of this species displaying in all its glory,” she said. “It is an important link in our biodiversity chain and this partnership project, assisted by SRDP and ECAF, aims to support those who wish to do something positive for black grouse. The objective is to target our collaborative efforts in the most effective way and this plan shows us how.”

Duncan Orr-Ewing from RSPB Scotland said: “RSPB Scotland welcome this report and its focus on landscape scale conservation and active habitat management. We will work with partners to make sure this report is implemented on the ground.” The Lammermuirs Moorland Group has also helped with funding because of its members’ strong desire to see black grouse flourishing again in the Lammermuir Hills. Evidence from the north of England shows a close correlation with red grouse management, particularly predator control. The grouse moor estates in the Lammermuirs can provide practical input to help range recolonisation from the Moorfoot Hills and will be working with GWCT and other partners on delivery of the conservation plan. The full plan is available to download from blackgrouseplan

deer management Deer Management Review concludes with Cabinet Secretary’s announcement

Woodland Stalker

Just as the Scottish Parliament broke for its summer recess at the end of June, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, made her much-awaited announcement about what is to happen next for deer management in Scotland. This followed the Deer Review, which comprised the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) 2016 Assessments of Deer Management Groups and subsequent Report, the review by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee and a debate in the Scottish Parliament. The Board of SNH also met at the end of June to discuss


deer management its next steps with two papers presented for approval titled An Enhanced Approach to Deer Management and Deer Management on the Assynt Peninsula. This had been a long wait. Deer Management Groups have been under considerable pressure to improve their performance, and having stepped up a gear particularly over the last two years, felt that that progress had not been properly recognised either in the SNH review, or in the ECCLR Committee’s report following its deliberations. The Cabinet Secretary’s announcement however brings all back within the bounds or realism, with the sector still having a considerable amount to do over the coming years but at least on the basis of good progress made to date. Richard Cooke, Chairman, the Association of Deer

Hinds in fields at Invervar


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deer management

Tail Docking – The Result

Looking inland from Kinlochbervie

Management Groups (ADMG), said: “The upland deer sector is committed to progressive change and will work with other interests in developing and implementing new approaches to deer management which plays an important role in the rural economy and rural employment in the remoter parts of Scotland. Thus we welcomed the Cabinet Secretary’s decision to set up an independent group to support the deer sector as it moves forward. “We are pleased to note the Cabinet Secretary’s recognition in her statement of the progress made by the deer sector over the last two years, particularly as this was somewhat understated in the 2016 SNH Report. Deer Management Groups, having adopted new deer management plans taking account of all relevant aspects of the public interest, are now turning their attention and efforts to setting up systematic habitat monitoring across the upland deer range. Hopefully this will result in a more informed debate on the habitat

impact of deer along with other herbivores, especially sheep, rather than focusing on deer numbers and densities alone, as has mostly been the case in the recent review process. “We agree with the Cabinet Secretary that more legislative action is not necessary at this time and support her direction to SNH to use existing statutory powers as a back stop for the voluntary approach in situations where deer management is falling short. We have no difficulty with a more assertive approach being taken by SNH but will expect any such last resort action to be justified on the basis of firm evidence.” There is also to be a Panel set up to assess deer management in Scotland’s lowland areas which are now recognised as requiring a different approach from that of the upland deer range with its Deer Management Group structure. Richard Cooke said: “At last there is recognition that a one size fits all approach is not workable everywhere and that different systems are needed for different parts of the country.”

In the last Scottish Association for Country Sports Newsletter, we updated members on the progress of the Scottish Government’s consultation into tail docking, and we stated that we were hopeful that common sense would prevail. Fortunately for working spaniels and HPRs across Scotland, it has prevailed. The Cabinet Secretary announced last October that “Legislation will be changed to permit the shortening of the tails of Spaniel and Hunt Point Retriever puppies where a vet believes they are likely to be for use as a working dog and risk serious tail injury in later life.” This is a fantastic result, achieved by everybody who worked to gather and submit evidence in favour of docking, and to respond to the Government’s consultation last year. The civil servants drafted the secondary legislation required, and it was then laid in the Scottish Parliament for discussion. SACS submitted additional pro-docking evidence to the ECCLR Committee, which after debating the information available voted seven-to-three in favour of the legislation.

Later, MSPs took a vote in the Parliamentary chamber on whether to pass the changes. This one final hurdle was concerning, as there were dissenting MSPs who supported the views of animal rights extremists who oppose docking at all costs; however, we were informed that it would have been unusual for legislation put forward by the Government to fail to pass, so we remained hopeful that the Cabinet Secretary would be able to fulfil her statement quoted above. In the event, 86 MSPs voted for the legislation and 29 voted against, with a number of abstentions. The Scottish Ministers signed the legislation on 27 June, with it coming into force on 28 June. Well done to everyone who helped achieve this significant, positive result; it has been an extraordinary team effort, but particular thanks should go to Airlie Bruce Jones who has invested so much time and capital into this fight right from the start. Please give Airlie a big thank you next time you see him and his spaniels at a fair.

Written by: Scottish Association for Country Sports 31

Breaking Barriers Everyone with a disability can get out there and enjoy Scotland’s country sports By David Reilly

Growing up in rural East Lothian, my love of the countryside and the outdoors has always been with me. I spent a lot of my childhood escaping into the hills or going fishing with my dad so it was very much a part of me from an early age. Having cerebral palsy never made things easy, but it was never enough to put me off. When I left home however things changed and my focus was on my education. Recently I have rediscovered that my passion for country sports is as strong as ever, and I have decided to look for opportunities to participate again. Where I grew up I was just surrounded by the outdoors and had lots of opportunities to participate in sports and activities. The local Scout 32

movement provided a lot of that opportunity where I spent a lot of time and had great fun. I would regularly go hillwalking or canoeing and take part in annual summer camp. My dad had a boat and we would go sea fishing off Dunbar or, if we were on holiday, would always find a harbour to fish off. We also had a rather large garden and I got my first air gun at quite a young age. We were taught to shoot and would set up target practice with anything we could find. As an adult however, things really turned around. Unfortunately I discovered that fishing is one of the things that I find most difficult to do by myself. My manual dexterity makes tying lines impossible for me. I have managed to do a little

bit of shooting again recently and realized how much I still enjoy it. I have done a bit of clay shooting, as well as using an airgun on a farm to shoot. I enjoy shooting and would like to do a lot more. Through blogging, writing and promoting disability sport, I have made contact with Wildlife Photographer and Business Coach, Linda Mellor. Linda and I have started working together to look at the participation of disabled people in country sport. I have been involved and participated in outdoor sports for a long time and this has been my passion for many years. However, I have not always found it easy to create, or come across, the opportunities to participate in outdoor and country sport, and I suspect many disabled people

experience similar barriers. As well as the physicality of country sport, many attitudinal barriers are still in place. I hope to take part in more country sport and show that disabled people can participate and play a full role. I would like to find many more opportunities to go shooting and fishing. Hopefully through writing, and my work with Linda, I will find a way to incorporate more country sport into my life. As well as creating opportunities for disabled people, this could open up another market for sports providers. I would like to see country sport as accessible to disabled people as it is to anyone. I think everyone should have the same choices and options to pursue their leisure time in any way they desire.


Ross Rifle Co. Mod. 1907

‘’Scotch Pattern’’ .280 straight pull stalking rifle By Ross Haygarth

This gun has a very strong Scottish connection. It was designed and partially built by Sir Charles Ross Bt. owner of the 350,000 acre Balnagown Castle near Kildary, Rosshire. Sir Charles was the Clan Chief of the Ross’s, a millionaire landowner & businessman. Ross became involved in several business ventures in Canada in the 1890’s and served in the Boer War where he saw the advantage of the rapid fire of the straight-pull bolt of the Mannlicher mod. 1890 rifle that many of the Boers were armed with, compared to the British Lee Enfield & Martini Henry .303 rifles.

Ross decided he could build something better and make it in Canada, using the same basic principles of the Mannlicher design & built a brand new factory in 1903 just north of Ottawa in Quebec at a personal cost of $500,000. His plan to supply a Canadian made .303 military straight - pull bolt rifle to the Canadian Army was a well known disaster but his sporting rifles were much less troublesome and quite successful, especially in his own .280 Ross caliber which had tremendous ballistics for its time. With a 140 grain hollow point bullet it achieved a muzzle velocity of 3,00 feet per second and was

copied by other British rifle makes such as John Rigby and Holland & Holland in London. One disadvantage of the .280 round is it gives a considerable muzzle flash & is very noisey. Ross set up a UK agent for his sporting rifles, the well regarded Bristol Gun & Rifle maker George Gibbs. The rifles were supplied to Gibbs as barreled actions ‘’In the white’’ Gibbs submitted them to Nitro proof in London, then finished off the metalwork, fitted the open sights etc and stocked them to a high standard in the traditional British style. This particular rifle was finished in 1910, it has a slender 28’’ barrel and weights a pleasing

8lbs, 12ozs. The 4-round magazine box is blind and loads from the top only, the lifter is unusual and moves in a long arc. It has a two stage trigger, the safe also locks the bolt, wether cocked or not. It carries both Ross & Gibbs numbers on the metalwork. It is in remarkably good original condition & has seen little use. The blueing & chequring on the woodwork is original. In use, the straight pull bolt is very fast & slick. Straight pull rifles are all the rage in the current decade with rifles being built by Browning, Heym, Blaser etc, but as we have seen, there is nothing new under the sun!

Ross Haygarth is the owner of CH Haygarth & Sons, Gun & Rifle Makers, in Dunnet, Caithness. They are Scotlands oldest family owned Gunmakers. Ross is the son of Colin Haygarth the famous Gunmaker, Trap shooter, sportsman & conservationist. Ross is considered to be one of Scotland’s leading experts on British Guns & Rifles. 33

fox control

Our foxing days are changing By Graeme Kelly

It is becoming more and more apparent that the long-time art of foxing is changing in-line with technology. The same can be said for many other jobs and pursuits in the world. Night vision and infrared technology, which was originally borrowed from the military, has revoltionised the fox controller’s role by allowing them to see through the darkness without shining a visible beam. Now there is thermal imaging technology. This has made foxing a totally covert operation and it has changed the way us foxers plan our attacks. Over the last few years, I have found that using the thermal imaging monocular for scanning fields (where you would traditionally use a lamp), will bring you results and you will see what you’ve been missing… literally. When using the thermal imaging monocular for spotting you will quickly start to see things that you would never have seen on the lamp, such 34

as the foxes movements, their patterns and habits. With shining a lamp over a long range you are relying on eye-shine bouncing back from the fox. Without eyeshine there is nothing to see, so if the fox is walking away from you, the chances are you won’t see it with a lamp. But thermal imaging picks up the body heat regardless what way it’s facing – you can even see them though loose cover. Motor shy. The most common lesson learned when thermaling is what I call “motor shyness” – when you drive into a field or along a roadside and see a fox taking-off like a scalded cat, even with all the lights off on your vehicle. There are two reasons for this: (1) they have previously been shot at from a vehicle or (2) they are just plain cautious. This sort of behaviour you would rarely see with the lamp. But with thermal I’ve seen them running

from such a distance that I’ve wondered how they even heard the motor.

next night out. You would never be able to achieve this level of reconnaissance with a lamp.

Vantage point. The best way to optimise your chances with the thermal spotter is to find a vantage point such as a high-seat or a hilltop. Take your distances with a rangefinder and simply wait it out. This itself has its advantages as it’s very therapeutic and far removed from the daily rat-race. If you’ve seen a fox working your chosen area, record the time and be there an hour or so earlier the next day. That works for me 90% of the time as, unfortunately for them, they are creatures of habit. Once you get used to using the thermal equipment you soon learn to distinguish what’s a hare and what’s a fox even at long range. So even if the wind is not in your favour, or the fox has disappeared before you get to it, you can take away vital information to prepare for the

Know your ground. The more knowledge you have of your ground, the better, when it comes to using thermal. Distances can be difficult to judge and visibility can be hindered by rain. Just like every hunting technique, weather can affect performance. On a damp or humid night you can sometimes lose the land contours and the fence wires etc. But on a clear, dry night you can see in high definition. Every night can be different, and it often is with the mixed bag of weather we get up here in Scotland. Graeme Kelly runs Night Master Scotland and uses the latest Pulsar Helion spotter and Pulsar Trail thermal scope. For advice on the equipment, call him on 07990 954973 or search Facebook for ‘Night Master Scotland’.

personal file

Tommy Davidson Account manager for Specilaity Feed at For Farmers, UK My name is Tommy Davidson and I am the Account Manager for Speciality Feeds for ForFarmers UK. Based in Scotland, I manage the Game and Deer feed accounts for the region. A little about me, I am married with two children. My main hobbies include shooting, fishing and football (not at the same time!) and I really enjoy travelling and meeting new people. The main basis of my job is to travel across Scotland to meet Game Farmers, Keepers and Estate owners to support their feed requirements and offer advice and expertise in various species. The main part of my role is to create and maintain relationships with customers to ensure that they receive the best service and feed possible. This is a part of my role I really enjoy. The average year for me consists of meeting Game Farmers in February and March, in April to July to meet with Game Keepers and Estate Owners, and in August to January I meet Deer Farms and Park Estates to discuss our Cairngorm Deer Feed. My plans for the year ... I am currently planning and looking forward to the Scottish Game Fair at Scone and also the Highland Field Sports Fair at Moy. I really enjoy looking after our customers at these shows. We meet lots of Estate owners, Game Keepers, dog owners and their working dogs at these events and give away free dog feed samples on the day for their dogs to try. I also plan to support the Scottish Game Keepers, BASC Scotland and the Game Keepers Welfare Trust throughout the year. Throughout the year I am constantly meeting new customers and supporting current customers with their feeding requirements. I am constantly learning from each meeting I have with 36

my customers and appreciate all of the help and support I receive from everyone I meet. My challenges in 2017 I have been engaging and networking with Deer Farmers in Scotland over the past two years to build my presence in the industry in this region. I have also been hosting and supporting Estate owners, Keepers and new entrants who have attended planned events across Scotland. There is a great demand for venison in Scotland and across the UK, hotels and supermarkets can’t get enough all year round. I want to meet as many Estate owners and Game Keepers to discuss these opportunities as ForFarmers have a team of experts to help develop and support any new Deer Farms. Industry Concerns In the past, medication has been effective in the control of disease and in most cases still is, however there is concern that as a consequence of prolonged use, some antibiotics are losing their effectiveness. ForFarmers has therefore been working hard to develop feeds that not only ensure excellent performance but also supports the health of the bird. Through the inclusion of structural and functional fibres in the Game Feed range, the birds digestive health is supported. Our feeds also include essential oils which naturally support digestion and intestinal health. All are contributing factors to support the growth and health of the bird while helping reduce the use of medication. If you would like any more information about ForFarmers and our speciality feeds, visit our website http://www.forfarmers. To find out more about our Marsden’s Game Feed http:// speciality_feeds/marsdens_ game_feeds.aspx

The Falconer

An introduction to Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre By Stewart Robertson, Centre Director

Stewart with Orla

Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre was founded in 2004 by my friend Brian Haining. Sadly, Brian died of cancer in 2006, at the age of 41. When told of the wishes of his widow to sell the birds and shut the centre, I decided to maintain Brian’s dream. I cashed in my pensions, gave up my job, and took on the responsibilities of running a Bird of Prey Centre. The location of the centre at that time, together with the effects of the economic downturn, meant the centre had

a painful few years. Then in 2012, I was invited to relocate to the current location at Loch Lomond Shores. Good fortune and determination resulted in the new centre opening in October 2013. Since then, our popularity and reputation have grown. There is still much to do, as always, the welfare if the residents is the top priority. There are plans in place for expansion and refinement, all of which will improve the welfare standards and visitor experience.

The centre has over 30 Birds of Prey and Owls. We are one of a few, if not the only centre in the UK with all 5 British Owls. The Golden Eagle, Orla, is probably the most impressive and most well known of the residents, having appeared on TV adverts and wildlife programmes. The centre offers various experience days, including hunting with the hawks. Winter is the main flying season, hunting and providing experience sessions. My

personal hunting hawks are the Harris’ Hawk, Goshawk, and the Golden Eagle. At the centre we provide awareness of conservation issues and education on Owls and Raptors, not only to the visiting public, but to local schools and youth groups etc. It has become a lifestyle. No days off, no holidays, with just a few trips each year to Bird of Prey events. That is what is required when you have animals, or birds, in your care.


Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre Loch Lomond Shores Ben Lomond Way, Balloch 37

Shooting Top Ten Tips By Stewart Cumming, Shooting Manager at Hopetoun Clays, Hopetoun Estate

Stewart Cumming is Shooting Manager at Hopetoun Clays near Edinburgh. Stewart has worked at Hopetoun Estate for over 30 years, predominately in forestry but during this time has built up a successful clay pigeon shooting profile on a national and international level, including 3 years as the Scottish Clay Shooting Team Captain. Hopetoun Clays was established on Hopetoun Estate in 2010 which was

on the back of Stewart’s success internationally as clays shot and coincided with the increased demand in the outdoor activities market. Stewart has twice finished in the top 10 at the World FITASC Championship, won the Troyfoods FITASC classic in 2016 and at the time of writing this was off to defend his title in Wales. Stewart is currently one of the highest ranking FITASC shooters in Scotland.

Hopetoun Estate is a stunning backdrop for any activity. We offer a variety of environments and different ranges of shooting days within our 6,500 acres. You can book in for a one – one pro lesson with Stewart himself or for less experienced shots we provide novice to intermediate level instruction. Group lesson are very popular, come as a group of friends or as colleagues for team building day. For a more challenging days shooting we offer a variety

of simulated game shooting packages for groups. It’s as close the real things as you can get! Pheasant , partridge, grouse, pigeon and duck drives are presented on our Home Beat replicated using clays. Let’s not forget what is at the heart of Hopetoun Estate, the stunning Hopetoun House. Home to the Hope family since 1699, the present Lord Hopetoun and his family still live in the house. You can visit between Easter and September, take afternoon tea in the elegant Stables Tearoom or walk around the policies. Combine a shoot with a visit to the house – it’s a wonderful day out! 10 Shooting Tips you need to know: 1. Preparation & practice - if you have had a 6 month break, don’t expect to lift your gun and pick up where you left off. Book preseason shooting lessons to detect & correct mistakes and to improve on your technique in advance. 2. Keep your weight well forward onto the ball of your foot and your head on the stock – this will ensure a flued swing. 3. Don’t drop your shoulder – keep it level. Your upper body should turn with ease, try to avoid tensing up.


Shooting Top Ten Tips 4. Practice your gun mount and combine this with your swing. Your front hand should lead the process. 5. Keep your eye on the target – this is the best advice you will ever get. Its unnatural to focus on a moving object, it’s a real skill. Take your focus off the barrel and onto the edge of the target. 6. Keep moving your gun – many of us stop the gun if you are not focusing on the bird. To keep the gun moving on every shot ensure keeping your head down, weight over your foot and eye on the bird. 7. Look after your gun! All guns need to be serviced regularly to maximize performance. Summer is the perfect time to get your equipment in good order for the months ahead. 8. Don’t forget to look after your eyes. Our own equipment deteriorates with age! Not

only your vision impacts on your shooting performance but your eye dominance can change with age too. 9. Don’t wait until the season is

upon us to get your shooting team together. A simulated game day is an excellent way to get some pre-season practice in and catch up on your news.

10. Finally and most importantly.. Stay safe! Discipline and control make you a better & safer shot. A Preseason lesson will keep your safety procedures refreshed.


Competition or pleasure? It’s back to basics! GUNDOGS Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre was founded in 2004 by my friend Brian Haining. Sadly, Brian died of cancer in 2006, at the age of 41. When told of the wishes of his widow to sell the birds and shut the centre, I decided to maintain Brian’s dream. I cashed in my pensions, gave up my job, and took on the responsibilities of running a Bird of Prey Centre. The location of the centre at that time, together with

the effects of the economic downturn, meant the centre had a painful few years. Then in 2012, I was invited to relocate to the current location at Loch Lomond Shores. Good fortune and determination resulted in the new centre opening in October 2013. Since then, our popularity and reputation have grown. There is still much to do, as always, the welfare if the residents is the top priority. There are plans in place for

By Stuart Dunn Caledonian Retriever Club expansion and refinement, all of which will improve the welfare standards and visitor experience. The centre has over 30 Birds of Prey and Owls. We are one of a few, if not the only centre in the UK with all 5 British Owls. The Golden Eagle, Orla, is probably the most impressive and most well known of the residents, having appeared on TV adverts and wildlife programmes.

The centre offers various experience days, including hunting with the hawks. Winter is the main flying season, hunting and providing experience sessions. My personal hunting hawks are the Harris’ Hawk, Goshawk, and the Golden Eagle. At the centre we provide awareness of conservation issues and education on Owls and Raptors, not only to the visiting public, but to local schools and youth groups etc.


Integrated Security Solutions




Communications and Security for Farms and Estates



TEL: 01738 563000 40


Are Airguns still useful? By David Scott NSRA BFTA club instructor

It has become a lifestyle. No days off, no holidays, with just a few trips each year to Bird

of Prey events. That is what is required when you have animals, or birds, in your care.

Many of us started out shooting with an airgun handed over to us by a mum, dad, or older sibling and some of the countries top sporting shooters still remember their airguns fondly. Long gone are the days when you could get them delivered to your door from catalogues or buy them second hand in markets. Airguns were the way many of us moved into shooting sports and pest control and with the new Scottish air weapons licensing now firmly in place I decided to find out if there was still a place for airguns and if they were still popular. The answer seems to be an unequivocal yes! The club scene has had a massive boost from the new licensing scheme and although the licensing has been extremely unpopular airgun users are flocking to clubs and the feedback is that they are all staying and enjoying the club atmosphere and many are now taking up target shooting competitions that are part of most clubs shooting itinerary and Scottish airgun clubs are thriving. Social media also plays a big part in new shooters coming into airgunning as there are many groups out there offering help and advice to new shooters and clubs and indeed airgun suppliers are feeling the benefit. The use of airguns for controlling pests such as corvids, rats, and rabbits is becoming increasingly popular with many landowners happy for knowledgeable properly insured airgun users to control pests on their land and landowners are becoming

more aware that the lower power of airguns mean they are safer to use in some areas such as barns and in and around farm buildings and where shooting at distance is not generally required. Modern airguns are incredibly accurate and can be whisper quiet and are ideal for pest control at distance out to around 45 yards and they come with multi shot magazines and many pest controller use night vision equipment which can be bought for around £150 and works well for rabbits and rats. The lower power of airguns also makes them very useful for work in barns and sheds and landowners are aware of the benefits of this and often grant permission for an airgun user to shoot on their property when they would not allow use of high power small bore or large bore rifles. The new licensing laws have seen many airgunners applying for shotgun and firearms certificates as the cost is almost the same as an air weapons license which makes a mockery of the Scottish government trying to get “dangerous” weapons off the streets and there are now many more people with shotguns, .243’s, and even .308 guns in their cabinets but I suppose that counts as being “off the streets” Seems strange but there you go. So there we have it. Airguns are very much alive and kicking. They are still an integral part of Scottish country sports and an entry into commonwealth and olympic disciplines.

health benefits of fishing

Fishing for health By Linda Mellor increased psychological benefits of being in a green environment. Nature provides a calm and peaceful setting to help unravel any stress and allow the mind to relax and focus on the activity. Angling also gives a sense of purpose and the opportunity to develop the skill of fly fishing. The fresh air is great for mind and body. Spending a day outdoors assists the body in making Vitamin D which aids bone health and is also linked to helping beat depression. The physical movements in casting exercise the fingers, forearms, wrists and hands, improving dexterity and reflexes and wading through water is good for lower body strength.

Spending time outdoors can give a tremendous sense of wellbeing and fun if you share a day in the company of friends. Fishing can be as sociable or as solitary as you like. Connecting with friends enriches our social world and boosts our feelings of well-being. If you share your fishing with likeminded friends, their company will enhance your day’s enjoyment, perhaps inject a little competition and offer much scope for the good humoured stories over lunch in the fishing hut. Laughter is good for us, and it has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. When we laugh our brain releases endorphins, giving us the feel good factor.

Recovery from ill health can be a long and drawn out process, requiring a slow, steady pace. Fishing is a gentle sport, informal and the participation can be the main feature of recovery therapy from illness or surgery. It is suitable for men, women and children of all ages. One of the most common forms of cancer is breast cancer, around 50,000 women and 600 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The need for a workable recovery plan is greater than ever. There are a number of charities set up to help support cancer sufferers; one of them is ‘Casting for Recovery’. They provide opportunities for women affected by breast cancer to learn

(Photos by Linda Mellor).

The countryside can work wonders for our general wellbeing, offering us a natural way of lessening stress and shaking off the pressures of the outside world. Stress is responsible for much ill health, headaches, anxiety, depression, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. Health professionals will encourage the participation in sport and activities as a drug-free method of combating stress, improving your lifestyle and extending your longevity. Fishing is possibly one of the most relaxing outdoor sports there is, and it offers countless mental and physical gains for all who take part. There are


health benefits of fishing

fly fishing in retreats across the UK. The retreats are free to attendees and include medical advice, education, counselling and relaxation. The physical activity of casting is used to strengthen muscles and increase movement following surgery. The charity’s targeted programmes of support using fly fishing and the outdoors have ensured women have enjoyed a positive recovery process, boosted their confidence and introduced them to a new outdoor pastime. ‘Lets Tackle Cancer’ was created by a fly fishing forum a few years ago to raise thousands of pounds through fishing for

Marie Curie, Cancer Research and MacMillan Nurses. The sport of fishing can be a point of focus, a target and an aim during treatment and recovery. Ian, a lifelong angler, said, “Fishing was my single focal point throughout a ravaging course of chemotherapy. It helped me deal with the treatment. I spent so much time in the hospital, and when you are unwell, doing things like reading can be out of reach. Most days lying in bed, I would picture myself on the river, I would imagine the cool feeling of the water, the movement of the current and the fresh air and sunlight on my skin. In my

mind’s eye, I would cast my line out and fish the various pools of my favourite beat. When I left the hospital, I kept up with my thoughts of fishing because I wanted to focus on building my strength up so I could go fishing. Even on the rougher days, I would just keep pushing myself by thinking about standing on the bank, casting out across the river and hooking a bar of silver!” Re-igniting a long lost passion for fishing can also act as an aid to recovery. “I was suffering from PTSD, I was feeling very isolated and had difficulty concentrating. Even day to day things were a challenge for

me; I lost my confidence, and the doctor wanted to write me a prescription for pills,” said James. “Everything was an effort; one day I was trying hard to do some spring cleaning, I found my old fishing gear that I had forgotten about. Picking up the rod, old reel and flies reminded me how much I used to love fishing, so I plucked up the courage to go to the river. When I bought my fishing permit, I started to look forward to my day on the river and was feeling excited about it. It was amazing, as soon as I saw the water, I felt uplifted. I met up with some old friends, and I spend the entire day fly fishing. We talked, fished, laughed, shared advice and told stories. That night I enjoyed the longest sleep I’d had since I left the army, and it was nightmare free. Gradually, I feel fitter and more positive about life. I fish as often as I can and have introduced others to the river. It is my therapy, exercise and I have made many great friends. I don’t take any pills, and I haven’t been back to the doctor in over a year. I credit fishing for my full recovery.” If your mind is relaxed, then you are in a calm, happy place and it takes the strain away from the body allowing it to focus on healing. The tranquil nature of a day on the river and the hypnotic flow of the water will soothe your soul. The fresh air, the open spaces, the joy of taking part in a sport and the laughter of friends all promote a tremendous sense of well being leaving you feeling rejuvenated.


The Ghillie

A guide for tackle requirements for a large river By Robert White, River Tay Ghillie Spinning. Rods. You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.

Tackle needed – what rods and lines for different seasons Fly Rods. The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned. In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances. Fly Lines. In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous


choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down. Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.

Line. A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line. Baits. Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon’s are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110’s are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling. What Tay flies should I take? Are there any famous Tay patterns? In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4’s and 6’s in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the

correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day. As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water. 6 tips on how to fish and enjoy a good day on a large river. 1. Do not be overawed by the size of the river. Often you are fishing another river within it. 2. Take the advice of the Ghillie to gain as much knowledge as possible. 3. Cast within yourself especially with the fly. It is better to cast a controlled fly than one that is tangled trying to gain that extra yard. 4. Wade sensibly as it is a dangerous powerful river. Wear a life Jacket. 5. Come with the advised tackle and be prepared. 6. Bring a camera to capture those special moments.

cooking with game

Pot Roasted Pheasant and Partridge with Apple By Wendy Barrie

When selecting my recipe for you I decided to go for a moist and delicious method of cooking to maximise the fabulous flavours of these game birds from Craigadam by Castle Douglas, where Richard and Celia Pickup run their award-winning country house hotel. Craigadam offers an extensive range of quality game and organic lamb through their online Country Larder. Celia’s dinners are renowned, specializing in game cooking, with produce from their land, served in a relaxed and gracious setting. Ingredients: 2 pheasants 2-4 partridges 2 bay leaves Juniper berries, crushed sufficiently to just break the berries open Isle of Skye sea salt & freshly milled black pepper 2 red onions, peeled and sliced 75g haricot beans, soaked overnight

50g butter A healthy drizzle of Summer Harvest Rapeseed Oil 1 bottle of Cox Laprig Apple Juice 6-8 dried apple rings A stem of marjoram 2tbsps redcurrant jelly 1 rounded dessertspoon cornflour Fresh chives for garnish

Method: s *OINTTHEBIRDS REMOVINGlLLETSANDJOINTINGLEGS s 0LACEALLREMAININGBONESINAGENEROUSLYSIZEDPANANDCOVERWITHWATER!DDHALFADOZENJUNIPERBERRIESWITHBAYLEAVES and seasoning. Bring to boil and simmer for an hour or longer. When ready, drain and retain stock for the dish. (Any remaining meat can be stripped from carcass to make delicious stovies or risotto). s )NAPAN MELTBUTTERWITHRAPESEEDOILANDSAUTĂ?JOINTSUNTILNICELYBROWNED!DDONIONSTOSAUTĂ?ANDSEASONWITHSALTAND pepper. s $EGLAZEPANWITHMLSOFSTOCKANDHALFTHEBOTTLEOFAPPLEJUICE!DDBEANS APPLERINGS ACOUPLEMOREJUNIPERBERRIES and the leaves stripped from the marjoram. Simmer, lid on, for a minimum of 50 minutes, adding more stock as required. The pan should remain lovely and liquidy. (Any leftover stock will make amazing soup). Taste to check seasoning. s 7HENTHEDISHISCOOKED ADDTHEREDCURRANTJELLYANDBLENDEDCORNmOUR"RINGTOBOILTOCREATEASMOOTHGLAZE3CATTERWITH chives. Serve with roasted roots of carrot, parsnip, onion and heritage potatoes such as Shetland Blacks and Highland Burgundy Red (pictured). Makes 4 generous portions or 6 modest ones. Wendy is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food production, a popular cookery show presenter and food writer, providing expertise in food tourism, education and events. Owner of Scottish Food Guide, the ethical and independent award-winning guide giving professional quality assurance for the best places to eat and the finest produce in Scotland 45

ARTWORKS Wildlife in focus Featuring artist Clare Shaw Clare finds all of her inspiration literally on her doorstep. She does not have to travel far to encounter running, boxing and leaping hare, fighting pheasants, foraging deer, working dogs on a plethora of local shoots or her chickens scratching about in the dust. They are all within walking distance, some as close as outside her studio window! Clare loves to paint using water colour pencils and acrylic paint, and always aims to create the most vivid, captivating pieces that she can possibly do. People always question how she gets such energy in her paintings with just pencils but Clare believes this is down to really getting to know her subject and studying them intently until that exact colour is finally matched. She has been know to stalk Pheasants to get that perfect shimmering light. Over recent months Clare has become more and more well known in the hunting and shooting field, with her work gracing the walls of several commercial and privately owned shoots in their shoot rooms and private houses. Clare also works with interior designers allowing her work to be used in new developments and conversions to help create a country feel and relaxed atmosphere. Both of these areas she is incredibly passionate about and would like to develop further as they are perfect places for her clients to see her work. Clare loves a challenge and will always consider any

commission that you may like to see in your home or work place. Commissions are a really great way for her to show her unique

detail and commitment to the subject and she already has her paintings in many large country houses and estates. 07943502756 Original, limited edition prints, commissions, shoot room statements, and pet portraits are all available on request.


outdoor look Berwick Men’s Shooting Waistcoat This shooting waistcoat from Alan Paine has a waterproof & breathable cotton blend outer and Centre front zipper with adjustable waist cord. Cartridge pockets come in handy too of course. Finishings of mock suede outer collar, shoulder patches & surrounding zip binding & pockets. Available in olive & dark navy. Size range: S to 5XL RRP £124.95 More information:

Berwick Men’s Waterproof Breeks Helping to keep out the damp and a myriad of beasties, these breeks are waterproof with a breathable cotton blend outer andfFully lined with a mesh lining and zipped fly. Also with side pockets & zipsecured back pockets and buckle adjustable hem. Available in olive. Size range: 30” to 46” RRP £99.95 More information: www.alanpaine.

Irish Setter Elk Tracker 861 Men’s 10-inch boot When out on the hills and mountains of Scotland, everyone needs to wear sensible shoes and boots of course. This Irish Setter Elk Tracker boot is all about great stability and traction, quality materials. Full grain, waterproof leather upper, un-insulated, dual density midsole, removable lightweight comfort cork EVA footbed with memory foam, ScentBan odour inhibitor, Goodyear leather welt construction, aggressive lug pattern for stability & traction and a Bulls-Eye Air Bob Aggressive sole. So I think that is all the technical spec covered! Anyway, a great boot! Price: £249.90 For information:

Kexby Men’s Performance Coat This classic style coat has a waterproof & breathable cotton outer with the top collar trimmed with Alcantara. Also with a two-way centre front zipper with studded placket and action back to aid movement & studded back vents to aid movement. Cartridge pockets with eyelet drainage holes, hand-warmer pockets trimmed with Alcantara & handy secure internal pockets and waterproof windbreaker cuffs make the jacket the complete deal. Available in khaki, olive & navy. Size range: S to 5XL RRP £224.95 More information: w w w. a l a n p a i n e .


Shooting Scotland

Tried & Tested

& readers competition With Fife Country

Ghillie Waterproof Fleece What they say: This high performance fleece is guaranteed to keep you warm and dry, whether out in the field or on the hill. Much more than a simple fleece jacket, the Ghillie has a hollow-fibre, thermal and breathable quilted lining; Alcantara reinforcements on all high wear areas, and one-piece shoulder construction for optimum ease of movement. There are three external, zipped pockets, one internal zipped security pocket, and an adjustable drawcord at the waist. Back Length 30” (Large). Sizes: S (35-37) M (38-41) L (42-45) XL (46-49) 2XL(50-52) Price: £75 Our Editors’ Review: First thing to say is that is the Scottish summer! when the fleece arrived, I did wonder how comfortable I would feel wearing such an obviously well put together garment in our glorious sunshine? Well, that wasn’t to be a problem! We had a campervan trip planned in early June, so the fleece came with me – and I loved it! Scotland is June is often wet, and very often windy, and that was where this Ghillie Fleece really proved its quality. We got lots of wind and blustery weather during our tip to the coast. This fleece was so comfortable and cosy while not too heavy, in fact very light considering its’ quality of fabric, lining and finishing. The pockets where robust and the fit was excellent. I have only ever had a couple of fleeces before and this is the best one I have tried on, so a very pleased camper indeed! I am no farmer, but for anyone working outside in our rural hills, I would totally recommend this Ghillie fleece, a Great product! Now of course, I am delighted to offer one our readers the chance to win one of these lovely fleeces all with the kind courtesy of Fife Country. Our competition is easy, so best of luck!

For more information on all Fife Country wear Visit: 48


THIS GHILLIE FLEECE Fife Country have kindly given us one of their Ghillie Fleeces as a prize. All you have to do is answer this simple question. Q. When was Fife Country established?

Three simple ways to enter 1. Email answer to 2. Telephone 01738 639747 (leave name and number) 3. Message us on Facebook @facebook/ShootingScotlandMagazine Closing date Friday 15th September

what’s new ZEISS Victory SF Binoculars With the latest version of the ZEISS Victory® SF Binoculars from ZEISS, you won’t miss a thing. These binoculars are designed specifically to deliver high-contrast bright images that allow you to see even the finest details in poor light – regardless of when and where you are hunting. Light transmission of 92% enables you to master any challenges faced in twilight. Their ultra-light design and the use of innovative materials on the new ZEISS Victory SF binoculars result in unique wearing comfort. Tipping the scales at only 780 grams, you hardly even notice they’re there! What’s more, they offer fatigue-free observation, due to their centre of gravity being far

behind the eyepiece. This means the binoculars move on their own towards your eyes where they rest, as light as a feather. This is compared to traditional binoculars which are typically heavier at the front, resulting in more stress and strain on the upper and lower arms. Thanks to the incredibly sharp image, a tremendous field of view and an optimised SmartFocus mechanism, the new ZEISS Victory SF binoculars are the ideal lightweight companion for a successful day of stalking. Victory SF 8 x 42 RRP £2,129.99 inc VAT Victory SF 10 x 42 RRP ££2,164.99 inc VAT w w w. z e i s s . c o . u k / h u n t i n g / dealersearch to find your nearest dealer.

Game Cart from Access Trailers

This new Game Cart 6’x4’ unbraked model is also perfect for carrying beaters and guns as sell as game of course. Access Trailers also do a GP Trailer with lift off top & versatile base unit. Price £2,295 ex works plus VAT. More information:

Smartrest Quad Rest

Description: The Quad Rest is a rifle rest designed to mount to quad bikes, ATV’s, and 4x4 roll bars/bull bars. The Quad Rest holds the rifle firmly and safely in place in transit, even if driving the quad over rough terrain. Should a potential target present itself simply release the piston and in seconds the rifle is raised to the perfect shooting height, the rifle is still securely cradled in the rest but can now rotate and pivot in any direction to allow a fast moving target to be tracked with ease and devastating accuracy Price: £199.99 More information: 49

what’s new Stop thief! Polaris officially announced this year that all new Polaris ATVs and Side by Side vehicles (excluding the Youth range) will be fitted with the CESAR ATV System. Security for ATVs and Utility vehicles has become a growing concern and as Europe’s leading All-Terrain Vehicle manufacturer, Polaris has taken this positive action towards protecting customers’ vehicles. The company has formed a new partnership with the CESAR Scheme - the official security initiative of the CEA(Construction Equipment Association) and the AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association) and Datatag, who are the technology partner behind CESAR. CESAR, is already widely recognized on larger construction and agricultural equipment and since launch over 225,000 machines have been registered and are protected with CESAR. The CESAR System is fitted to new Polaris vehicles by authorised Polaris dealers, and comprises both visible and covert markings which are a real deterrent to the prospective thieves. Should a vehicle be taken, quick police access to the CESAR database provides an instant trace

on stolen equipment via Datatag’s 24/7 UK Secure Contact Centre. The system is recognized by national and local government agencies and supported by the Home Office and National Police Chiefs’ Council. Statistics show that a CESAR registered machine is four times less likely to be stolen and six

times more likely to be recovered if it is taken. CESAR is approved by all major insurers and the NFU Mutual for example can offer a 12.5% discount with their NFU 5X farm machinery product policy if your ATV or side by side is fitted with the CESAR system. When you purchase a new Polaris ATV or side by side

utility vehicle it comes complete with the CESAR system already fitted and there are no annual fees or charges and no recovery fees should your machine be stolen and recovered. Polaris recommends contacting your nearest authorised Polaris dealer for full details. Tel: 0800 915 6720

Western Rivers Mantis 75R Caller The Western Rivers Mantis 75R is a compact, handheld caller that includes a remote control that will help bring predators in close without breaking the bank. The Mantis 75R comes preloaded with the most popular sounds that you can control with the remote from up to 300 feet away. The durable rubberized grips are attached to two pivoting legs that lock into position so you can stand the call up on its own. The LCD screen readout has a backlit display to help you see in low light conditions. The random repeat timed options help mix up your sound and realism. The Mantis operates on four AAA batteries (not included) and the remote uses one CR2032 battery (included). Features: 75 pre-loaded game calls, 300 foot range remote control, Compact legs with lock in position, Durable rubberized grip, LCD screen readout with backlight, Random repeat timed options, Sound activation trigger button, Power button, back and settings button Operates on 4 ‘AAA’ batteries (not included) Price: £59.99 More information:


Shooting Scotland Magazine (September - October 2017)  
Shooting Scotland Magazine (September - October 2017)