PE01615: State regulated licensing system for gamebird hunting in Scotland

Rural Affairs

Petitioner: Logan Steele on behalf of Scottish Raptor Study Group


Date Lodged: 22 August 2016

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to implement urgent action to introduce a state regulated system of licensing of gamebird hunting, that addresses the potentially adverse environmental impact of gamebird hunting, provides for the revocation or amendment of licences where a licence-holder fails to comply with their terms and conditions, and to implement the recommendations of the Review of Wildlife Crime Penalties in Scotland.

Petition History:

This petition has now been referred to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee. You can view any further updates on this petition on the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee's webpage

The petitioner has also collected 416 hard copy signatures.


27 October 2016: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 27 October 2016

10 November 2016: The Committee agreed to invite the Scottish Moorland Group and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation to give evidence at a future Committee meeting. Link to Official Report 10 November 2016

8 December 2016: The Committee agreed to refer the petition to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee under Rule 15.6.2 of Standing Orders. Link to Official Report 8 December 2016

20 December 2016: The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee considered the petition and agreed to consider its approach to PE1615 on the State regulated licensing system for gamebird hunting in Scotland at a future meeting. Link to Official report 20 December 2016

31 January 2017: The Committee has agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform for further clarification on the operation of current legislation in this area and the timescales for publication of the SNH commissioned research on gamebird licensing systems in selected other countries. The Committee will then consider what further action is required at that point. Link to Official Report 2017. Link to Official Report 31 January 2017

28 March 2017: The Committee agreed to invite the petitioner and a range of stakeholders to give oral evidence at a future meeting. Link to Official Report 28 March 2017

23 May 2017: The Committee agrred to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform suggesting that the Scottish Government explore with stakeholders the need for/benefit of such a licensing system, how it might operate in practice, what it might encompass, how it could be appropriately enforced and whether such a system might feasibly be trialled in a specific area as well as note the proposals put forward by Scottish Land & Estates, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the Scottish Moorland Group in a written submission to the Committee dated 19 May 2017; and keep the petition open.

Written Submissions: 

We maintain that those involved with gamebird hunting have had many warnings from the Scottish Government over a long time period to get their house in order and show that self regulation of this sector is workable. There is good evidence that the illegal killing of birds of prey has continued unabated in many places, and that some land management practices designed to promote gamebird hunting are being shown to be becoming increasingly intensive and unsustainable:

  • Do you agree that the time has now come to introduce a gamebird hunting licensing system in Scotland to protect the public interest?
  • Do you agree that a future licensing system should include powers for the public authorities in Scotland to revoke or amend the licence if conditions (such as adherence to laws to protect birds of prey) are broken?
  • Do you agree that a licensing approach to gamebird hunting would act as a meaningful deterrent to illegal or bad practice?
  • Do you agree that SNH should have a more formal role in collecting gamebird hunting bag data, as part of a licensing return, to inform future sustainable hunting practices?

We understand that most other countries in Europe have some form of system of licensing of gamebird hunting, whilst Scotland already has systems to ensure the sustainable management of other natural resources such as deer and salmon.

  • What can we in Scotland learn from gamebird hunting licensing systems employed elsewhere in Europe, or from other systems of natural resources management here?
  • Would law-abiding and responsible managers of gamebird hunting enterprises have anything to fear from a licensing system, given experience in other countries?


Absolutely disgraceful. Acknowledge and take action

Daniel Dennis

23:10 on 22 Aug 2016

Something needs to be done to better protect species as they're clearly being persecuted now.

Linda Johnston

23:10 on 22 Aug 2016

The hunting community insist on referring to their business as an industry, like any other industry it must be regulated and subjected to regular inspection and audit. This can only be achieved by a licencing and independent scrutiny to ensure that their activities remain within the law.

Tim Gulson

22:55 on 22 Aug 2016

When the government are licensing the Badger cull to save cattle from BTB even though there is masses of evidence to the contrary. I don't hold much hope for the raptors when there is so much money involved and influential people involved who own the land. Money talks and always will. Hopefully someone in power will help the wildlife as it is our "The intelligent Species apparently" responsibility to help them.

Lee Johnson

22:55 on 22 Aug 2016

A complete re-think of the commercialisation of our countryside at the expense of 'inconvenient' species including our raptors is long over due. This is a good place to start. The lack of balance in Government environmental groups is noticeable - let's get people with conservation backgrounds equally represented with landowners, fishing interest and hunters - because clearly the balance is in favour of commercial interests and biodiversity is noticeably suffering.

Suzanne Kelly

21:53 on 22 Aug 2016

Why can't people take up another hobby, one that doesn't involve the killing of wildlife for fun?

Sharon Hopkins

21:32 on 22 Aug 2016

This needs change.

Faye sims

20:57 on 22 Aug 2016

Grouse management is outdated and destructive.

Rob M

20:56 on 22 Aug 2016

Killing, except in self-defence, is unacceptable.

Patricia Tricker

20:32 on 22 Aug 2016

we are more than the sum of our parts

Jacqueline Smith

20:32 on 22 Aug 2016

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