Small Woodland Owners' Group

Hired gun

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Postby Hobby » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:56 pm

Well thanks for your response, I really don't mean to sit here and preach or give judgement on people who shoot.

I am an animal lover through and through, and whether that's my Black lab or a Black Rat, I don't view being human gives me the right to kill anything for enjoyment.

I have squirrels chewing my bat and nest boxes, badgers and foxes digging up my bluebells, moles and ants making mounds in my paddocks, wasps and hornets making nests the size of beach balls ( I have pictures if you don't believe me) within my stables, Herons eating the Rudd in my pond and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

I view the land I own as simply loaned to me, after all, in 60 years time ( if i'm lucky) the only sign that I was ever present will be the inscriptions in the oak trees dug out on some lazy summer day !!!

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Postby Henrietta » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:09 pm

The truth of it is Steve that you like killing animals. You say you get requests from farmers to shoot on their land, so why are you touting for woodland owners to give you permission? Just how much killing will satisfy you?

As for that old chestnut about magpies killing all the small birds. Well, why aren't they all dead then? Have you heard of the hawks and doves principle. The hawks do well when there are lots of doves, but when the numbers of doves drop back, the hawks suffer. There have been populations of magpies and small birds for thousands of years and the only thing which affects their numbers involves the activities of mankind. Blaming animals for every ill is factious, and nearly every native animal has been the butt of ignorance over the years. Otters were almost wiped to extinction in this country, I still remember the the otter hunts around Farnham. Red squirrels were just as hated as are the greys and were nearly wiped out, foxes, and now badgers. The list is endless. Unfortunately, some people have a bloodlust, foxhunters for instance, and I really don't understand it. If you could just take the time Steve, to have a real look at these animals, you would see that they are all just doing what they need to survive, even if it doesn't seem that way to you. we are so lucky to share this earth with them.

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Postby Stephen1 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:41 pm

Hi Steve

Just replying to let you know that not everyone here shares the same views as the previous two posters. It's a topic that has been debated here many times before. Very few people have had their oppinions swayed in either direction, no matter how emotional or fact based the attempt.

My personal position is that culling only be done when absolutely necessary. Typically in established woodland it is only grey squirrel that falls into that category.

It's hard to convince people with no experience of farming the impact pigeons, rabbits and deer can have on a crop - few people have actually seen what happens to populations of these creatures when given a vast easy food source (the crop) with no important predators - the populations explode! The idea that nature will somehow quickly respond and balance is just a myth in these artifical situations. If only food arrived on the shop shelves by magic...

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Postby Hobby » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:46 pm

" My personal position is that culling only be done when absolutely necessary "....... YOU SAY

Have you ever seen a woodland devoid of trees,young or ancient ???.............An Oak, Ash,Beech Birch, Hornbeam etc will collectively produce thousands upon thousands of seeds annually ,to say that shooting squirrels would have a major or " necessary" impact on the outcome of these seeds is complete folly.

Face it, shooting birds or mammals within a woodland setting is carried out to satisfy ones own need for self gratification ...either that or the people doing the shooting are ignorant. I just wish people would be honest .

I appreciate that we all have different views, but the damage done to woodlands in the UK by the squirrel population either Grey or Red would be no excuse for a cull.

Many a time have I cursed a squirrel for its actions but I wouldn't dream of killing it just to satisfy my own desires, what on earth would give me the right to do that .

By the way, to look at me, you would think shooting would be right up my street......funny how looks can be deceptive.

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Postby Stephen1 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:17 am


I respect the passion with which you hold your views. However I would appreciate it if you if you did not accuse me of ignorance or being dishonest again.

I have no desire to hunt - there are times when I take the view that it is the lesser of two evils. As custodians of land we all have to weigh the facts and make decisions. That responsibility is the price for being a custodian of land. You and I have weighed the facts but come to different conclusions. That I differ in view from you does not make me ignorant or dishonest. I take no pleasure in it.

I believe you have a short term view of woodland, and perhaps find it hard to conceive how the beech woodland landscape of the chilterns may look in 150 years time without grey squirrel control. The mature trees there now grew past their vulnerable stage before the population density of grey squirrel was what it is now.

In my part of North Wales grey squirrels only reached us in the 1960s. They only reached population densities that had a serious impact in the early 1980s - their impact as it will be seen in the future is not yet manifest.

I may be wrong. It is not a decision I've taken lightly. I'm doing what I believe all the scientific research in the field of woodland ecology points to as being necessary.

If you are able to avoid posting insults I'm happy to discuss this with you, if you wish - but have no desire to engage in debate with people who feel it's appropriate to insult those who hold different views to themselves.

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Postby Hobby » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:14 am

You misunderstand.

My comments were in no way directed to anyone personally, just simply a view on those who carry out the process without a defined and accurate conclusion.

All I am simply saying is that most people shoot for enjoyment, and use the vermin control argument to justify their actions.

If you shoot or are able to kill a harmless wild animal, for fun, then I am glad there are people with my ethics around to provide sanctuary within our own woodlands .

However, I can see that you are upset and apologise if you misinterpreted my words as being of a personal nature.

As a former animal sanctuary worker, I have seen many wild animals shot, and to hold a kestrel in my hands as the life ebbed away from its innocent, beautiful body ,through an air gun pellet shot, has left me with memories that run deep within my soul.

Maybe that will give people food for thought the next time they attempt to take an animals life.

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Postby SteveA » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:46 am

Hobby, beleive me i have more respect than you can imagen for people like you (someone with passion)

you have had some serious emotional experiance from air guns

you saw the animal suffer and die slowly. (this isnt acceptable, any animal/being should have a clean and quick end)

you saw a beautifull animal (probably protected) get shot most probably by some little oik !!!

i am not blood thursty, i wouldnt do these things.

when i shoot ill take it home to eat (from breasting to full animals... ill take the fur if its a mamal too) man has made good use of what he can since he stuck a spear in something! (and this would not be a quick end!) when i shoot the animal is standing there 1 second and dead the next (a head shot sees that they do not suffer)

if we are discussing ethics and moral rights and wrongs please take a look at the world

do you eat meat? is it responsibly sourced/raised? ever seen a pig in a stool? a hell of a lot of the pig we eat in this counry is from the water in europe wherethis barbaric practis is still happening (VERY crule to the pig, produces poor quaility meat and undercuts our boys that raise them properly) english go out and buy it as its cheap (i dont... only british for me!)

eggs/chickens (i have my own and theylive very good lives) ever seen the poor ones that fall into the crap trough that is left to die? chucked in the bin living! im not saying you buy eggs from caged hens and are evil but even things like pancake batter mix (anything with egg in) can be from these unless stated that it isnt (halmans are one of few!)

milk anyone? why do you think they make milk.... people make milk when they are pregnant/have babies..... the same for animals ! they produce milk all the time as they are calving all the time! if its a baby cow happy days! they will live and be subjected to the same life as their mum..... baby bulls..... not so good for them they drop to the floor, are gathered and killed (seriously!)

goats suffer the same fate! probably sheep too!

if we raise them for meat they get a better quaility of life as they have WORTH...they have a life!!!! this isnt my view it is a fact (crule sounding one i know and i think its almost against god life has a price tag, killing because its the wrong sex...... in some countrys they do the same to human babys!)

people buy pets and let them go stray the healthy ones that get cought and caged are sometimes put to sleep, organisations can not afford to keep them. its that black and white in some places!

and if you think thats bad look at what we are doing to the planet.... did you know jets still have lead in their fuel? how often do you fly? (prob not that often due to the beautiful wood you own) but you see my point? people just dont know!

i will shoot an animal and take it home to eat (with permission fom the land owner) it has led the best life... in the wild were animals should be! i am not a gun ho un educated fool, please do not tar me with the same brush as a kestrel slaying idiot that probably didnt even know what it was that he shot.... for "fun" (and this is not an excuse!) and could do with being culled himself in my eyes!

by shooting and doing the things that i do i also educate my children (1 x 3.5 yrs 1 on the way... no more after that!) she already knows rights and wrongs about guns (and yes i do lock it away) how many kids dont and shoot people....worse still how many kids think bacon comes from tescos in a packet! let alone realise the implications of what they buy and how it was treated ?!? all this because their mum and dad also do not have a clue?

im not even going to go into how we as a race produce power....

i came on here to offer a service to people for free that also benifits me (meal on the table)

it was not my intension to convert you all to the rights and wrongs of shooting (note shooting not hunting as killing a fox with a bunch of dogs isnt for me!!)

nor to point out the real species that is out of controll and having the biggest impact on the planed is man!

if it really is against the masses ill close my account but please do not class me as the same as that kestrel killer

i dont want to insult anyone and i dont want to argue it was just a simple pest controll question/offer.

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Postby Hobby » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:14 pm

Hi Steve.

Wow, how did we get here !!!

I think the real problem with chatting over a forum regarding emotive subjects is that the text form can be very much misconstrued and the true meaning lost in translation.

Our life experiences and upbringings make us who we are and I think I am maybe a little to narrow minded for my own good sometimes.

I just find it difficult to understand killing wild animals......their actions are never carried out through spite

Thanks for the replies anyway, and good luck in all you do.....well most things anyway!!


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Postby SteveA » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:59 pm

No problem Hobby

all the best


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Postby Rich » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:56 pm

Well peace breaks out :-)

It is an emotive and polemic subject and I think it was Stephen who pointed out that people with strongly held convictions rarely change their position despite some fairly robust debate.

Although I live with a vegetarian I'm not one myself, as I choose to eat wild food. If I didn't have access to it I would be vegetarian. We have an expert deer stalker who who can shoot a deer through the heart at 175 yards, it is dead before it hits the ground. It's not pleasant to watch, but then it's not pleasant to watch the chase and the kill of a predator so often filmed on wildlife documentaries. The suffering involved I'm afraid is part of nature, which is ambivalent to such suffering. We as humans however have evolved empathy and are able to rationalise that at least the deer we eat has had a free existence and a quick and painless death.

Here on the edge of Ashdown forest we don't have any wolves or other natural predators of the deer so it is, unfortunately a necessity, for the health of the heard and the rest of the ecology of the area.

I have deep respect for the vegetarian or vegan point of view, but I suppose if you looked far enough back into the history of human evolution, the fact that we have arrived where we are today (for good or bad) is due to the nutrition we enjoyed from killing and eating animals. This nutrition over and above grubbing for roots and grasses grew our brains, gave us time to think, invent, create and I guess will be our downfall as well!

Richard Hare
SWOG website editor

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