I was quite shocked to find a YouTube video about gamekeepers and others that shoot Ptarmigan. I had heard that Ptarmigan are allowed to be shot and killed legally in Scotland. I would have hoped that there would be a voluntary ban at least by gamekeepers and others in hunting and shooting Ptarmigan, such as the voluntary ban on shooting Black Grouse. I’m not 100% sure how rare or uncommon the Ptarmigan is at present in Scotland or in what the reason is for shooting or if Ptarmigan are rare at this present time or if the Ptarmigan should have legal protection in Scotland such as the Capercaillie has had since 2001 in Scotland. Maybe someone who knows more about the present situation about the Ptarmigan and the legal situation involving shooting Ptarmigan in Scotland and how rare or common the Ptarmigan is at present in Scotland. I was very lucky to see the Ptarmigan in my teenage years during the 1960’s when I was walking in the Cairngorms and just a few feet from myself, and my brother with my Mother and Father on a really hot sunny day in June on the summit of Ben Macdui the second highest mountain in the UK in the Cairngorms, but there was still lots of snow seen, even in June.
Ian My understanding is that the Scottish legislation that covers this is the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011. This act amends some of the provisions of the UK legislation in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Regarding Ptarmigan (& other game birds) the main difference is that the definition of game birds is repealed i.e. there is no distinction in the Scottish act between wild birds and game birds. Having said that, as best as I can tell, the Scottish act still allows the killing of Ptarmigan in the open season which is 12 August to 10 December. RSPB lists the conservation status of Ptarmigan as green with a UK breeding population of 2,000 to 15,000 pairs. I suspect their best form of protection lies in the fact they are only to be found in the highest areas of Highland Scotland e.g. you saw them on Ben Macdui. As for gamekeepers exercising any restraint, I would guess that we will have a very long wait for that. Ian
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