GWCT Woodcock statement in response to Wild Justice

Wetlands 6

By Dr. Roger Draycott, GWCT Head of Advisory & Education

We are aware of Wild Justice's letter to the Secretary of State about woodcock shooting. The GWCT has undertaken more research into woodcock ecology and conservation than any other organisation in the UK and we will be writing to the Secretary of State with our views on this matter.

Suffice to say, it would appear from the letter that Wild Justice may not fully understand the nuance of the factors driving woodcock populations and neither is it clear how their proposals for statutory changes to the shooting season would enhance the population status of our resident breeding woodcock.

Now is the time for us to show our support for woodcock. Please give what you can to help fund our vital research.



at 10:20 on 06/04/2022 by John McKinney

I am getting disappointed with this world ,it appears what is wrong is right, what is right is now indifferent. Packham a trained Scientist always gets his facts wrong, if facts were checked before going to print, he would not be heard of again. Where oh where does he get this number from, he quotes we as shooter , shoot 160000 woodcock a year!!!! For those whom make up numbers of Wild Justice, their donations would be better employed into helping conservation not hinder. The shoot i belong is an absolute haven for Woodcock, a sight to be seen, rather to be admired than shot. I we as game shots, do far more to support conservation, than the likes of WILDJUSTICE


at 15:56 on 05/04/2022 by Edward Williams

Supporters of GWCT see resulting credible,scientific information for their donations and membership. The recent studies of woodcock are a fine example. A sporting interest in those responsible for much of our landscapes has an abiding effect on habitat, and species management. Many would have disappeared from Britain long ago if it was left to the spineless conservation industry inhabitants, wild justice now included,who only have a cause, fuelled by propaganda ,if they can persuade gullible enough,and perhaps ,well meaning folk, to finance them. Habitat loss may be a factor in resident woodcock populations, more so disturbance. Woodcock need settled, quiet conditions, not dog walkers , feral cats, and access in woodland and the ‘hill fringe’ where they have preference. I have the pleasure of shooting woodcock with knowledgeable and respectful countrymen, who only shoot given areas once a season in mid winter. Numbers have only very small variations over many years, with no downward trend. “Rises” are recorded as well as bags, and for many years. Small numbers are shot, in mostly spectacular places, and all birds are prized and eaten by those lucky enough to be involved. The very essence of sportsmanship. QED

Our Woodcock ….

at 15:14 on 05/04/2022 by Alec Swan

It never fails to surprise me, the level of credence given to the opinions and advice offered by those people and bodies who simply haven't got the faintest idea of their subject ~ …. Firstly we had the RSPCA who's advice was being sought over the Grand National Fences, a move so bizarre that it left most speechless ~ ~ and now we have a collection of misfits whose advice is being sought over the protocols and ethics of shooting Woodcock ~ I'm all but lost for words. To a large extent, Woodcock are migratory and we have them arriving in visiting flushes. David Souter has very well outlined the thought processes of most ~ personally, I no longer shoot them. Where I live in North Norfolk, the main body of birds 'seem' to arrive in January, and should the weather be hard, then most will leave them in peace …….. I tend to view Woodcock shooting rather as I do blackberry picking and when there's bumper year, we fill our pockets and during hard times, our blackberry jam tends to come from Morrisons. ~ ~ We REALLY don't need legislation to tell us that the systems which we currently employ are working very well, and just as they have for centuries.


at 14:11 on 05/04/2022 by Martin Gay

Most of my shooting friends as myself have stopped shooting woodcock for a number of years now. Whold rather see them fly than shoot them.


at 14:10 on 05/04/2022 by David Soutter

I have had the pleasure of shooting woodcock for over 45 years and in that time have accounted for a good number of birds. All consumed I might add. It has become an obsession of mine to not only shoot but understand the bird, both native and migratory. Each year for 30 plus years I have followed the patterns of the arrival of birds from Russia and Northern Europe and can with reasonable accuracy tell you when the first drops of birds will arrive and where they can be expected. I monitor temperatures in their summer grounds and follow the fall of those temperatures as winter approaches. The last three or four season has seen a massive increase in the numbers arriving from Europe and because of the weather much colder earlier than usual in 2019,20 and 21 the birds have arrived earlier In increasing numbers we have seen seen across the Western areas particularly South West Scotland Cumbria Wales and the South West. This is wonderful news for the shooting community. However I do agree that the loss of habitat together with a different approach to livestock farming is making a difference to the native bird. To have woodcock you need warm woods, some boggy land and cow muck. If you have these you will have woodcock. Wild justice know little or nothing about field sports and even less about Tigers.

woodland for woodcock

at 13:50 on 05/04/2022 by gary morse

Dear Sirs , I have just completed planting 3000 native broadleaf trees on our farm in Cornwall. I have included stands of Holly , wide rides ,4m spacing and left open the wet areas . If I were not a shooting person would I have done this as the Forestry commission do not offer grants for this form of planting preferring tree factories ! All costs have been met by myself .

Woodcock decline

at 13:09 on 05/04/2022 by Karl Mak

Using the Wild Justice argument for any of their chosen subjects ultimately would see the decline of certain species in the Brazilian Rain Forest blamed on the native tribes that hunt them for good rather than the real culprits that are responsible for habitat destruction. More land is owned and managed properly, with ecology, diversity and conservation in mind, by the shooting fraternity than any other group across the country. I understand that people may disagree with shooting but for those groups to allow their thought on shooting to mis-tepresent the facts will cause more harm to the environment than any firm of shooting or hunting. My message to those people is simple: SHAME ON YOU.

Woodcock conservation

at 12:25 on 05/04/2022 by Sheena hamilton

I have woodcock. On some woodland leading onto an area of grassland left to nature. Roe deer there and hare. Many birds of prey fly catchers etc. they are a beautiful unique bird and habitat needs to be encouraged.


at 12:20 on 05/04/2022 by Mark Hinge

We sighted 194 this past season over 1,600 acres, ten were flushed in an area of two tennis courts (GWCT Bid count day)...we gsvecseen an increase of 12% over ten years, by good habitat management. Note comments also citing my cousin Dr. Manuel Hinge (Thank you).

Wild Justice' proposal to shorten the woodcock season:

at 11:57 on 04/04/2022 by Richard Horwill Carne

There can be no doubt that the significant reason for the decline in our indigenous woodcock population is habitat loss. That point would be acknowledged by any knowledgeable wild bird scientist. For example, Doctor Manuel Hinge of the New Forest Woodcock Group has confirmed that to me on more than one occasion. The contribution to that decline by shooting woodcock prior to 1st December is so minute as to be insignificant. This is clearly yet another attempt by Wild Justice in pursuit of there real aim, to end all forms of wild bird shooting. They are simply applying the methodology of "death by a thousand cuts".


at 7:51 on 04/04/2022 by Neil Fox

It is hunters who are doing the most and spending the most to get the research done on woodcock and other wildlife. Wild justice waste money and are not listen to the science and wasting valuable resources. That should be spent on habitat for woodcock, which would do the most to protect these birds.

Wild Justice Woodcock plan

at 6:53 on 04/04/2022 by Phillip Walker

Sir / Madam. Nothing but a ploy. The first blow - with a second one to follow, which will be in the back and fatal. Let’s hope science prevails. Best. Phillip Walker


at 16:22 on 02/04/2022 by David Schock

Its about time Wild Justice,got the facts,before they say anything. They never seem to listern to anyone,but themselves. Keep up your good work.

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