For Bodfuan Shoot, Game Shooting is about shooting and conservation working side by side. It often concerns us how little the public know about shooting and the logistics of a shoot.
In our opinion the majority of people stopped in a town or city would say they love to see pheasants and wild birds when visiting the countryside. Some would say it’s cruel to shoot them. In our opinion very few people understand that if it wasn’t for pheasant shooting and shoots stocking pheasants very few would be seen in the UK. Pheasants, not being UK originated birds, can in the majority of cases, only survive with the help of a game keeper. Pheasants are fed wheat on a daily basis either by a game keeperor from an automatic feeder. We estimate that only 50% of the feed is eaten by our pheasants and the rest eaten by wild birds and mice etc. Just take a few minutes to think about the food chains all starting with wheat which the game keeper has fed the pheasants especially during a cold winter like 2009/10 when there was not much food on the ground for wild birds.
Wheat > Game > Human
Wheat > Game > Fox/Wild Cats/Other Predators
Wheat > Mice > Birds of prey
Wheat > Song Birds/Wild Birds
Our conservation and countryside management at Bodfuan Shoot is a big part of our work. Everything we shoot at Bodfuan gets eaten. Only 25-50% of the pheasants we put down each year get shot, the others live to see another day and for you to see in the countryside. Please remember if you want to continue to see pheasants and wild birds in the countryside, keep Britain Game Shooting.
A new study investigates the amount of winter food needed to boost declining birds.
With the prospect of freezing winter conditions ahead of us The Game Conservancy Trust is urging farmers and landowners to keep feeding game and farmland birds during late winter and early spring as this is the time when many declining bird species struggle for survival due to a lack of food.
In a recent four-year study the Trust has identified that early spring feeding consistently led to higher densities of breeding pheasants and nearly twice as many young were produced when birds were regularly fed from a network of wheat-filled feed hoppers through to mid-May. As well as game, many other declining bird species such as yellowhammers and corn buntings are thought to benefit from this winter feeding regime.
Many of our once-familiar farmland birds, such as the tree sparrow, grey partridge and corn bunting have all undergone more than 80% declines in the last forty years and most conservationists suspect that the cause of these declines for these and other seed-eating birds is the loss of suitable food over the winter-time, resulting in fewer birds surviving.
To test this theory, The Game Conservancy Trust and RSPB Scotland have embarked on an ambitious four-year study, which aims to identify the reasons for these serious declines in bird populations and to explore just how important winter food supplies are to several species of farmland birds in Scotland. When completed, the project will help to provide national guidelines on winter feeding, as well as showing the specific feeding regimes that are suited to a variety of farmland bird species.
Dr Dave Parish from The Game Conservancy Trust, who is running the project said, “This study is a massive undertaking, which will involve monitoring bird numbers on more than 32 farms across eastern Scotland. This summer we assessed the number of birds present on all our study sites before any changes are introduced and this has revealed a total of 80 species, ranging from the more common birds such as crows and pigeons, to some real scarcities like quail and crossbill.”
Within the study area some of the farms involved will provide extra food over-winter, either as crops that are left for the birds to eat or as heaps of grain, whilst the remainder will remain unchanged. Dave Parish explains, “After we have monitored bird numbers on all the farms over the coming years we will be able to tell whether those with extra food have done better than those without and most importantly, whether they have maintained or increased their bird populations.
The fact that so many species have been seen on the study sites also means that the effect of the winter food can be investigated on a variety of birds all at once. This is extremely important because the recent changes in farming subsidies now mean that farmers will be paid for sowing a variety of seed-bearing crops that are not harvested but left for the birds to eat. Dr Jerry Wilson of RSPB Scotland, who is also working on the project said, “This study will confirm whether these new farming prescriptions actually work and will hopefully show the best ways of increasing the benefits to birds. More fundamentally, this study will provide the best evidence yet as to whether winter food availability is crucial to the survival of these seed eating birds.” https://gwct.org.uk/default.asp