Comment and blog

Scottish grey partridge conservation

grey partridge ringingConserving the grey partridge in the Kingdom of Fife, by Dr. Dave Parish, Senior Scientist for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scotland.

Buying and selling guns at auction

holts auctioneersBuying and selling guns at an auction can seem daunting, but if you know how the process works it can be highly enjoyable. Selena Barr looks at what you need to know before placing a bid or consigning an heirloom.

Address to the haggis, by Robert Burns 

haggis dishAll sorts of traditions are honoured on Burns Night from bag pipes and speeches to offerings of haggis, neeps and tatties served with a dram of whisky. But no celebration would be complete without Robert Burns's famous poem.

One million visitor nights to be generated by Scotland's country sports

Scottish Sporting Gazette

Scotland's country sports sector is on course to contribute more than one million visitor nights to the nation's tourism sector this year, said Robert Rattray, head of CKD Galbraith's Sporting Lets.

Following several exceptional grouse shooting seasons, Mr Rattray said that the country sport sector is well placed to improve on previous visitor statistics, including the 2013 record where 910,000 visitor nights were booked by country sport enthusiasts.

Grouse boosting hare populations

Scottish Sporting Gazette

The Highlands are celebrating a special conservation bonus following two very good grouse seasons.

Scottish moorland managers are reporting large numbers of the much loved and easily recognised mountain hare, linked to last year's 'best in a generation' grouse season. The Scottish population of hares is thought to be around 350,000 and in some areas they are now at historically high levels - the hares have the red grouse to thank!

10 reasons to subscribe to the next issue

Scottish Sporting Gazette

If you've visited the Highlands and Islands before, you'll know the allure of this intoxicating region all too well - it's a truly magical place. In our next issue, out May 1, we have dedicated some 80 pages to the culture and sport bursting from these hills.

Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn't miss it...

Controversial salmon stocking

Scottish Sporting Gazette

There are no two ways about it: the 2014 salmon season was a veritable crisis. River boards across the UK, from Caithness to Cornwall, reported a perturbing dearth, and with the salmon's lifecycle still such an enigma, the future looks bleak.

Andrew Graham Stewart of The Salmon & Trout Association stated: ?In Scotland alone, the season's rod catch fell short of 50,000 - this compares to a five-year average of 84,500.

'Disappointing' wildlife crime report

Scottish Sporting Gazette

In light of the wildlife crime report, Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: "Like every organisation with the interests of rural Scotland at heart, we share the stated ambition of the LINK report - to eradicate wildlife crime in Scotland.

"It is, however, disappointing that in pursuit of this ambition and preparation of this report LINK did not consult organisations that are actively involved in tackling wildlife crime and form the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAWS).

Land reform proposals are damaging

Scottish Sporting Gazette

A group of sporting and land management organisations have voiced their concerns over a number of land reform proposals in an open letter to Dr. Aileen McLeod, the Minister responsible for Land Reform in Scotland.

These include the removal of the exemption for business rates for shooting and deerstalking. The letter states that the tax could spell the end for many shoots and small rural businesses, leading to a loss of vital rural employment and a reduction in tourist income.

We're all a little bonkers!

Scottish Sporting Gazette

No litany of adjectives can quite do justice to Mother Nature's temper on this particular shoot day - it was wet. And I mean seriously wet. A light dusting of pneumonia looked to be on the cards.

But this is when country sportsmen and women stand out from the masses - we're all a little bit bonkers, for no other reason than when ornery weather rocks entire woodlands and forces most to remain behind closed doors, cowering at the thought of being swept into the next county, we pull on our breeks, waders, boots and jackets and carry about our business as usual.

Share your shooting shots

Scottish Sporting Gazette

It's always the way. One moment you're staring ahead at months of action-packed Saturdays in the field, and the next you find yourself at the end of January, sleeving your gun for the final time. The shooting season flies by as fast as estuary mallard in a hoolie.

It all got off to a magical start, with thick grouse packs filling the skies; bag records smashed across the country. The partridges and pheasants then followed suit - news from owners, Guns and keepers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Landowners fight Land Reform plans

Scottish Sporting Gazette

Scottish Land & Estates said today it was voicing extreme concerns over measures outlined in the Scottish Government's land reform bill proposals, and has submitted its formal response to the government's consultation.

The year's first salmon

Scottish Sporting Gazette

An opening day salmon the Tay - the first of the 2015 season. By Sandy Datta.

The alarm clock on my phone made its usual dreadful screeching sound. I had just fallen asleep; that could not be right; I must have set it incorrectly. I reached over and picked up my phone from the bedside table and looked at it; unfortunately it was right. It was 2:45 in the morning and we were in a hotel in Darlington. I could hear the wind howling outside and the rain was beating on the hotel room window. My wife was in bed beside me asleep and dead to the world. I turned off the alarm and rolled back over to get another hour's sleep. It then dawned on me that it was the 15th of January and the opening day of the salmon fishing season on the mighty River Tay.

Stunning trio from Churchills

Scottish Sporting Gazette

A fine and virtually unused cased garniture of Regal XXV boxlock ejectors in 20-bore, 28-bore and .410 by Churchills is one of the many exciting lots going under the hammer in mid-March. Engraved 1, 2 and 3 respectively, the trio comes in their lightweight leather case with green velveteen lining and complement of accessories.

Here we go again?

Scottish Sporting Gazette

It only seems like yesterday that ghillies were padlocking fishing huts and waving adieu to a dismal 2014 season for salmon and grilse. Yet here we are again, just days away from the start of the 2015 season, with both the Helmsdale and Tay kicking off this week.

This year's excited is punctuated by large doses of concern - a concern for the state of our Atlantic salmon. Fingers crossed that 2014 was an anomaly. For thick-skinned anglers lining the banks during these early winter months, the most revered prize within the realms of fly fishing is on offer: a pristine, muscle-strapped springer, the epitome of piscine perfection.

Springer snaps Fishpal Malloch Trophy

Scottish Sporting Gazette

You never know when that fish of a lifetime will hit your fly - it is part of the sport's magical allure. For Wayne Longstaff, it was May 2014...

Salmon killing petition

Scottish Sporting Gazette

The Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) (S&TA(S)), in conjunction with leading angling guide and consultant Ian Gordon, has today launched an online petition aimed at preventing any killing of wild salmon in Scotland before July 1 for the next five years. This follows two years of poor salmon runs and reflects an increasing appreciation that decisive action is required to help arrest the decline. In 2013 6,563 salmon were killed before July 1 ? of which over two thirds were taken by nets.

A record-breaking year

grouse, shooting, rattray, scotland,

The 2014 grouse season is one to remember, says Robert Rattray.

By all accounts, Scotland has enjoyed one of its best grouse years in living memory, and hailed by some as the best in a generation.

Balmoral setting the standard

Scottish Sporting Gazette

HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has collected a coveted award on behalf of Balmoral Estate to recognise the estate's exceptional work on game and wildlife management.

Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation is an internationally recognised award given to farms and estates that have demonstrated a standard of excellence in land management.

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