Category Archives: Pest Control
Natural England has today begun a Consultation on General and Class Licences under wildlife legislation in England. The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday 19th May 2014.
Natural England is seeking views on a number of proposals and topics relating to the General and Class Licences issued under wildlife legislation. These licences are periodically reviewed, and Natural England consults with stakeholders and the general public on proposed changes and seeks views on broader topics.
- the management of conflict species;
- the trapping and welfare of animals;
- sale, exhibition and possession of protected species;
- improving compliance with the licences;
- changes related to obligations under the EU Birds Directive.
This consultation will be of interest to anyone who uses a General or Class Licence, and organisations representing the interests of licence users and/or protected species.
You can respond to the consultation by e-mailing completed response forms to email@example.com. Alternatively you can respond in writing to:
Natural England General Licence Consultation br>
c/o Wildlife Licensing br>
Natural England br>
Temple Quay House br>
2 The Square br>
Bristol BS1 6EB br>
(NB: There is no need to post hard copies of e-mailed responses and responses received by post will not be acknowledged unless specifically requested.)
Whilst we recognize the importance of periodically reviewing and if necessary updating the licencing schemes of which Natural England has the authority to administer we have some concerns around increasing the administrative burden for those undertaking pest control and the impact certain proposals will have on the successful control of pest species to prevent damage to agriculture. Some of our concerns include, but are not necessary limited to the following;
Introducing a requirement to report on nil returns as part of the air safety Class Licence.
A proposal to introduce a referenced tagging system for traps set under General or Class Licence.
Proposal to include a statement in all General Licences that a person’s right to use a General licence may be rescinded if they breach a condition(s) of a wildlife licence.
Whilst having some concerns as noted above we appreciate that Natural England have taken the time to conduct ‘An Assessment of Regulatory Impact’, see Annex C in contrast to the Scottish Government who failed to conduct such an assessment whilst launching their campaign against airgun owners. In addition we are happy to support numerous of the proposals within the consultation.
We advise all firearms owners to become familiar with the General and Class Licence even in cases where they are not required to carry out lawful shooting related activities such as in target shooting; the current consultation presents an ideal opportunity. Familiarity with the licences allows all shooters to present their views and any evidence in support of reasonable and logical legislation which does not place any unnecessary financial or administrative burden upon those which it impacts. A detailed response on behalf of Firearms UK Association will be published in due course.
We would like to draw everyone’s attention to this event where a charity gets the chance to win £1,000. As you will see the League against Cruel sports currently have a high percentage of the votes. We would like to encourage all our followers to vote in favour of the British Legion, not only are members of our team ex forces but this is a charity that is close to all our hearts as many of our family members have served in the forces. We feel that this is also a worthy cause to devote our efforts towards to ensure that the LACS do not get the money which they will use to further harass and lobby against law abiding hunters, pest controllers, and others involved in shooting.
It will be much better for the money to go to an important international charity or to help servicemen/women and their families rather than funding an organisation hell bent on disrupting legal past times and harassing innocent people; including children.
Erika was recently fortunate enough to win a DVD entitled ‘The ABC of Rabbit Control’, kindly donated to the Pest Control UK group on Facebook; in return for her good fortune she will provide a review of the DVD bellow.
My general thoughts are that the video is very clear, easy to understand and is professionally presented; so don’t be fooled by the debatable quality of the DVD sleeve insert :-). The subject is covered in detail and is divided into sub topics beginning with an introduction to the various tools available for rabbit control. The tools are then discussed in more detail and demonstrated so that you are familiar with how to use them and how to select the most appropriate tool for your own circumstances. The DVD finishes with an “in the field” demonstration showing traps being setup and baited ready for use and highlights some of the damage caused by the rabbits.
Particularly interesting for myself was the tunnel trap and the ferrets because I am less familiar with these methods in comparison to the live catch traps and other methods mentioned. Having an opportunity to see the traps deployed in the field with the intricacies of where to place the traps discussed is also a very valuable portion of the video which I found to be engaging. If you are new to traps they are covered in great detail, with the various types explained; how and where to set them is covered as well as some historical points.
I am informed the DVD is “a bit dated now”, though it is still available on their new ‘Discount Pest Control’ website, where it is currently available for only £5.99, a bargain for any budding pest controller or someone with their own rabbit problem. On their website you will also find a collection of “live catch” traps which they make themselves.
The impact of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) can be manifold, ranging from loss of crops, damaged buildings, and additional production costs to the loss of livelihoods and ecosystem services. INNS are increasingly abundant in Great Britain and in Europe generally and their impact is rising. Hence, INNS are the subject of considerable concern in Great Britain, prompting the development of a Non-Native Species Strategy and the formation of the GB Non-Native Species Programme Board and Secretariat.
The total current annual cost of INNS to the British economy is estimated, when corrected for double counting, at £1,291,461,000 to England, £244,736,000 to Scotland and £125,118,000 to Wales. Therefore the total annual cost of INNS to the British economy is estimated at approximately £1.7 billion.
Total estimated annual costs of non-native species (that may be controlled by shooting) to agriculture.
Geese & Swans*1 £1,503,000
*1 Swans are not on the General License and therefore may NOT be shot.
The full report can be read here The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species to Great Britain
Back in July we provided you with an introduction to D.Camo Designs, a company who provides custom spraying of camouflage for air rifles and other equipment. Well, they now have their own website, so please take a look and see what you think.
After an initial enquiry by one of our team we have received a rather vague and non-committal letter regarding potential Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) restrictions to General Licenses.
Firearms UK absolutely supports efforts that target the criminals carrying out illegal raptor persecution. However, we are concerned that restrictions on General Licenses may impact law abiding shooters performing casual pest and vermin control.
We will keep an eye on the progress of the proposed restrictions and challenge any we believe unfairly impact the law abiding shooting community.
Firearms UK supports the Scottish Governments efforts to tackle illegal raptor persecution and other wildlife crime….
However, buried in the Environment Minister’s announcement is the following statement;
“I will be asking Scottish Natural Heritage in their capacity as the authority for licensing decisions under section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to examine how and in what circumstances they can restrict the use of General Licences to trap and shoot wild birds on land where they have good reason to believe that crimes against wild birds have taken place. These General Licences allow the holders to carry out actions that would otherwise be unlawful if undertaken, without any reference to SNH. We regard the use of General Licences as a privilege that should not be extended in circumstances where there is evidence that their use may be facilitating illegal activities.”
Firearms UK is concerned that restricting General Licenses may have an unjustified and unfair impact on law abiding shooters. Why should someone else’s illegal activities impact those who actually obey the law?
The full announcement can be read here
We encourage the law abiding shooters of Scotland to write to their MSPs expressing concern at the potential impact of restrictions to the General Licenses.
You can write to your MSPs via the writetothem online service
We have produced a “Land Authority Form” which you may use for confirming, in writing, the details of your shooting permission. We recommend that you carry a copy of the signed form with you when out shooting, perhaps as a scan or photograph on your mobile phone.
The form may be used to provide evidence of “good reason” during Shotgun/Firearms Certificate grants and renewals. For those on their first Firearms Certificate the form may also be used to notify your local Firearms Licensing Department of new shooting permission obtained. N.B. This should be done prior to you shooting on the new permission.
Crows, a member of the Corvid family are recognized as a pest species within the UK and are therefore legal quarry on pest control grounds. The act of taking Crows, or other pest bird species are covered by the General License. It is important, and a legal requirement that you are familiar with the General License and any specific conditions related to your particular quarry.
Mike Freeman has kindly given us his permission to reproduce his Crow Shooting Tips from the Pest Control UK Facebook group.
I was asked for some tips on shooting crows, I can only advise on the way that I shoot crows, some of you may benefit, some will have different methods and ideas on this topic.
1. Use a decent cartridge, I use mainly 5’s or 6’s if I have no 5’s. A crow can carry a bit of lead and its not fair to use too lighter load on them and send em off pricked.
2. Location, Find where the crows are feeding on the crop, normally on tram lines or laid areas, I will try to watch the feeding birds the evening before I shoot if its late in the day. Get there and set up before first light, the first visitors are the most confident.
3. Hides. Make a good hide, crows are very wary and will pick up on anything out of the ordinary, I put a partial cover on the top of the hide to give cover from birds looking in. keep movement down to a minimum and be aware of barrel glint on bright days. Look through your hide and not over it.
4.Decoys. I just use 4 plastic deeks, I wipe them with gun oil or WD40 before I use them, yea I know but look in a field of feeding crows, they shine!! I set these about 20-25 m out and slightly to one side of the hide, not a too open pattern. Replace deeks with dead birds as you shoot them, use cradles or props to make em look right. Add to your pattern as you shoot but don’t crowd it.
5. Shooting, Don’t be tempted by the rangey birds wait for em to come to the pattern, same for the high circlers that don’t feel safe, Let em come right in as they can veer off pretty quick if you shoot too early and you wont get the second barrel off if needed. Watch for the ‘stealth crows’ they come in with no sound when you ain’t looking , and enjoy the ones that are committed and come in like jets on an aircraft carrier.
6. Finishing up, clear up ya empties, spread out dead birds on their back wings spread on damaged crop, I spray with diesel to stop foxes buzzards etc from taking them. This will stop them returning. Go to next farm!
The above tips are based on a shotgun approach, for information on tackling crows with a rifle; Shooting Times has an article from April 2010 which covers this topic.