07 February 2020

End the shooting season with a bag record

  • All shoots urged to take part in National Gamebag Census
  • Long-running GWCT initiative is an important conservation tool
  • Help build a historical perspective on shooting
  • Contribute to fighting misinformation about species abundance

ShootingAs you pack away your guns after another season in the field, the Game & Wildlife Trust (GWCT) urges you not to consign your gamebook to another six months on the shelf. Instead, you should submit records to its National Gamebag Census (NGC) – a strictly confidential registry of species shot or culled in the UK.

By doing so, you will be joining thousands of people whose gamebooks have provided a record of shooting efforts since the NGC was launched by the GWCT in 1961. Considered a wildlife conservation resource of global significance, it measures long-term trends in national and regional bags for a wide range of species. In many other countries, these records are gathered by government bodies, but the UK is reliant on voluntary submissions to the GWCT from those who want to use their experience to help inform wildlife decisions. The information is often used to improve the understanding of population trends, particularly of species that are otherwise difficult to count, and to counter misinformation about species abundance.

Nicholas Aebischer, Deputy Director of Research at the GWCT, is responsible for the census and notes: “The scientific value of national or regional trends summarised from bag records is immense. Despite the growing popularity of shooting, the number of submissions to the NGC has declined in recent years. We invite all shoots, large and small, to send us their records in confidence. Whether you have been filling in gamebooks for years or you run a newly established shoot, we would love to hear from you. Every record gives us a more accurate picture of how bags change over time and how the underlying species abundance changes.”

You can join the census by completing a sign-up form at www.gwct.org.uk/ngc or by calling 01425 651019 to request a paper form.

Six things to know about the NGC

  1. It is a voluntary scheme that relies on the goodwill of keepers and shoot managers.
  2. It is free to take part.
  3. It is easy to do – simply fill in the form online or by post.
  4. Shoots of any shape or size are welcome.
  5. It is not necessarily a long-term commitment. Even if you provide data for only a few years, it is still useful.
  6. Your records are kept completely confidential – we do not share them with third parties and the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the GWCT.

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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