William Powell Country

Pushing the Boundaries for Game

Rural Matters

Article written by 10 July 2012

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is challenging lowland shoots to sample its unique new advice package, which by combining research with practical advice guarantees to increase the survival and breeding success of wild pheasants and partridges as well as helping to improve the prospects for released game.

The new Lowground Technical Services (LTS) follows in the footsteps of the GWCT’s existing Grouse Technical Services (GTS), which has proved hugely effective and popular to moorland owners in the north of England and Scotland.

The GWCT’s new Lowland Technical Services provides a flexible package of advice that offers unrivalled access to the GWCT’s leading research as well as providing tailored support to keepers, farm managers and owners throughout the life of a project.  Integral to the service is the fact that LTS offers an ongoing package of practical advice and support: management recommendations are followed by on-the-ground guidance on how to effectively implement plans to achieve optimal results.

Alex Butler, based at the GWCT’s Allerton Project farm in Loddington is leading this new initiative and said, “We are delighted to offer this new service to lowland shoots.  It is very much a cross-over between science and advice and aims to give owners and keepers the reassurance that they are getting the best advice and support to maximise both their wild and released game season after season.”

A key aspect of LTS is to help shoots integrate their wild and reared gamebird management and develop a programme that will encourage all stock to breed more successfully in the wild.  Dr Roger Draycott, Senior Game Biologist, has studied reared and wild game for nearly 20 years and will be closely involved with the delivery of LTS. He explains, “Millions of gamebirds survive the shooting season but contribute little to the following seasons’ bag due to poor survival and breeding success.  We believe that including  a programme of management that encourages the wilder element will help to ensure a more cost effective and sustainable future for lowland game shooting, and thus helping to guarantee continuity in the number of days shooting.”

The new LTS service ranges from advice on gamebird health to recommendations on improving the survival and productivity of gamebirds through habitat creation, monitoring and disease management.  Other aspects of LTS include the assessment of management procedures such as feeding and the conservation of habitats and wildlife. Other important elements are: best practice training on topics such as predator control, and sustainable gamebird releasing based on the GWCT’s guidelines.  The training and guidance provided by LTS highlights the requirements of current law as well as examining how best practice guidelines should be followed – snaring being a prime example.

For further information on the GWCT’s Lowground Technical Services, please contact: Lynda Ferguson on 01425 651013 or Alex Butler on 07717 475491.


Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is the leading UK charity conducting scientific research to enhance the British countryside for public benefit. Read more.

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