New GWCT book aims to raise standards in shooting

by John Duncan

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has launched a new book to increase understanding of shoot conservation and to raise standards by increasing awareness of Guns’ legal and ethical obligations including tackling some of the most controversial issues affecting shooting today.

The Knowledge: Every Gun’s Guide to Conservation is aimed at seasoned Guns as well as those new to shooting. Equally, it will be of value to conservationists or people keen to learn more about how the British countryside is managed.

GWCT: The Knowledge

The 200-page book draws on more than 150 scientific publications to provide a detailed introduction to the principal quarry species, management of habitat and predators and the law relating to a shoot day. It includes information on the use of lead shot, medication in game rearing, health and safety, game handling and security.

Produced in an accessible question-and-answer style in line with recent GWCT publications such as the Moorland Balance. The Knowledge gives readers the key questions to ask their own shoots or those they are visiting or buying a day from as well as answers to topical questions such as:

  • How do you define a wild pheasant?
  • Why are grey partridges on the quarry list when they are in national decline?
  • Do big shoots do more environmental damage than small ones?
  • What does predation management contribute to conservation?
  • What UK habitats do woodcock prefer?
  • What conservation measures should Guns look out for on a shoot day?
  • The Trust’s first ‘plain English’ book on conservation for Guns has been written by research specialist Jennifer Brewin and Joe Dimbleby, the former editor of Shooting Times.

Joe said: “By reading this book based on GWCT science, Guns will gain a deeper understanding about the countryside and the contribution made by shooting. We hope they will be better able to recognise and value the conservation measures that come with good shoot management, and know which other wildlife species can benefit. It offers an insight into what goes on outside of shoot day, as well as the possible effects of shoots not adhering to the required standards.”

Andrew Gilruth, Director of Communications at the GWCT, said: “The book is packed with facts from our scientific studies about how the conservation elements of a shoot work. We are also offering those wishing to go further and confirm their knowledge an opportunity to undertake an online assessment, complete with certificate, which will be launching soon.”

“We are doing all this because the GWCT understands that properly conducted game shooting has a significant positive impact on both conservation and the rural economy, and more knowledge among Guns can help it stay that way.”

Director of Research, Advisory and Education at the Trust, Professor Nick Sotherton, wrote the foreword, stressing “it’s vital that a balanced case is made for gamebird management. Some notable, high-profile opinions published recently have lacked this balance. As an evidence-based research organisation, the GWCT would seek to put this right”.