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Birders and shooting (1 Viewer)

binfield

Well-known member
Interesting thread on twitter. Can birders also enjoy shooting. Lots of people claiming to do both. I enjoy clay shooting when I have had the chance to do it but have never had the urge to shoot anything living. My dad was into his shooting many years ago but that was mainly pigeons. So can a birder do both, can you claim to love birding but go off on a Sunday to shoot wildfowl, pheasant etc. Interested to know peoples views on this subject.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I grew up with 3 brothers. All into hunting and I wanted no part of it whatsoever. My younger brother turned against hunting as he got older thank the good Lord.
 
I enjoy shooting. Mainly crossbow. Mrs. S was a sharpshooter for many years. That said I have never and will never shot at, or in any other way kill an animal ('cept skeeters and rattlers and copperheads and cottonmouths).
 

Lisa W

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I enjoy shooting weapons, all of my targets are paper or pop ups, never animals.
 

mummymonkey

Well-known member
Supporter
United Kingdom
I suppose you could be interested in birds, and their natural history, and at the same time enjoy killing them. But it's utterly alien to me. Plain weird.
 

Big Finch

Member
Noting wrong with enjoying a bit of wild game at this time of year - whether you hunt it yourself or pick up a bit of venison from the supermarket
 

pratincol

Well-known member
A local farmer was a keen shooter in his youth.
Part of his land was so boggy he created a substantial lake with a reedbed area. Over the years its attracted many birds including ducks, Cormorants, geese, Goosander, Kingfisher, Moorhen, swans, Coot, Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler. Spotted Flycatcher often return most years to a band of trees at one end of the lake.
He grew so fond of seeing the birds returning every year, he ceased shooting and resisted requests for shooters to kill birds here.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
A local farmer was a keen shooter in his youth.
Part of his land was so boggy he created a substantial lake with a reedbed area. Over the years its attracted many birds including ducks, Cormorants, geese, Goosander, Kingfisher, Moorhen, swans, Coot, Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler. Spotted Flycatcher often return most years to a band of trees at one end of the lake.
He grew so fond of seeing the birds returning every year, he ceased shooting and resisted requests for shooters to kill birds here.

Ah the 'Sir Peter Scott' moment, if only that were more common.
I was ringing this morning in a small reserve here in N Devon. the local shoot arrived mid morning a loosed off over the local marsh (a few hundred yards away). It's a small marsh but there seemed to be about 10 of them, and looking at them they all looked quite advanced in years. Some of them came back late afternoon to try and bag a few Woodpigeon coming in to roost. I only heard about 6 shots and then they left.
 

pratincol

Well-known member
Ah the 'Sir Peter Scott' moment, if only that were more common.
I was ringing this morning in a small reserve here in N Devon. the local shoot arrived mid morning a loosed off over the local marsh (a few hundred yards away). It's a small marsh but there seemed to be about 10 of them, and looking at them they all looked quite advanced in years. Some of them came back late afternoon to try and bag a few Woodpigeon coming in to roost. I only heard about 6 shots and then they left.

I was thinking of Peter Scott as I wrote it.
The lake in question isn't far from the Kent Estuary, where he used to shoot before his conversion.
'In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!'
 

binfield

Well-known member
Ah the 'Sir Peter Scott' moment, if only that were more common.
I was ringing this morning in a small reserve here in N Devon. the local shoot arrived mid morning a loosed off over the local marsh (a few hundred yards away). It's a small marsh but there seemed to be about 10 of them, and looking at them they all looked quite advanced in years. Some of them came back late afternoon to try and bag a few Woodpigeon coming in to roost. I only heard about 6 shots and then they left.

My Birding patch borders the Ashcombe estate, over the next few months there will be constant shooting for game birds. This does have some advantage because it pushes other birds over the patch. The area is flooded with Pheasant at the moment ,every road and track around the estate is teaming with Pheasant.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I reckon 95% plus of "birders" do not partake in shooting, be it clays, targets, back yard plonking or hunting game (birds, mammals or fish). Where did you gather your information from to say "lots of people claiming to do both"?

I believe when people start to enjoy watching birds, butterflies, plants and nature in general most lose any desire to hunt said species and that killing instinct is absorbed or converted into other energies. I know as I was one of the few that had a healthy interest in nature as a child but also shot an air pistol, rifle and then shotgun into my early twenties. I collected bird eggs as part of that interest, and went rough shooting on farms - rabbits, woodpigeon and corvids......strictly no gamebirds was the instruction. One winter snowy day whilst out looking for rabbits on a farmer's field margins I just unloaded the gun, went home and never thought of shooting again for "sport" and gave away the gun and cartridges.

Living in a rural village in a county with many shoots, one does see a high amount of road kills of Pheasant and RLP but only this morning a Grey flew up from the verge and over the road.
 
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mudman

Well-known member
I guess I am much more of a shooter than a birder but I do have more than a passing interest in the birds which are not game or wildfowl. I suppose I do my birding when out shooting or when I am otherwise out on the land I shoot on.

I am quite a keen wildfowler, go deer stalking quite regularly and have my own game shoot. I did not release any pheasants this year on the land I rent for shooting over so have done a lot less game keeping than normal.
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
In my area enjoying nature and hunting generally do hand-in-hand. It's kind of important as some species such as White-tailed Deer are so overpopulated they damage the ecosystem. I know lots of birders who also hunt turkeys. Hunting is find as long as it is done sustainably, and there lots of laws in place to keep this the case in many areas.

The only issue I have with hunters is I and other birders in my area have to be careful about reporting rare waterfowl during the hunting season, as hunters will often look at eBird to seek out vagrant waterfowl to shoot. We've lost many vagrant birds that way, such as a Brant earlier this year.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
The US has harnessed the hunting fraternity by means of the Federal Duck Stamp program, which has been a massive success, funding the purchase and protection of natural habitats, which benefits the entire community, birders included.
There should be a similar program for birders and other nature lovers, but that is not done, because 'we're not taking anything, we're just watching'. Too many have the attitude that nature is a free good, with only a minority actively contributing to conservation entities such as 'The Nature Conservancy'.
So I think we might want to thank the hunters, at least here in the US, because their money pays for the homes of a lot of our birds.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
In my area enjoying nature and hunting generally do hand-in-hand. It's kind of important as some species such as White-tailed Deer are so overpopulated they damage the ecosystem. I know lots of birders who also hunt turkeys. Hunting is find as long as it is done sustainably, and there lots of laws in place to keep this the case in many areas.

The only issue I have with hunters is I and other birders in my area have to be careful about reporting rare waterfowl during the hunting season, as hunters will often look at eBird to seek out vagrant waterfowl to shoot. We've lost many vagrant birds that way, such as a Brant earlier this year.
And why are White-tailed deer overpopulated? Because your nation won't tolerate wolves...... it's not the deer that damage the ecosystem. Its the people that don't understand the word. (FWIW we have the same problem!)

John
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
And why are White-tailed deer overpopulated? Because your nation won't tolerate wolves...... it's not the deer that damage the ecosystem. Its the people that don't understand the word. (FWIW we have the same problem!)

John
White-tailed Deer occur in edge habitats of forest and grassland. Since areas that were formerly forested now just have scattered woody patches among farm fields and former prairies now have more and more encroaching trees, there is so much more suitable habitat. Combine that with a lack of wolves and Cougars in most areas, and you have a recipe for overpopulation. The majority of forests in eastern North America have no understory anymore thanks to overgrazing and forest regeneration is basically impossible.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
White-tailed Deer occur in edge habitats of forest and grassland. Since areas that were formerly forested now just have scattered woody patches among farm fields and former prairies now have more and more encroaching trees, there is so much more suitable habitat. Combine that with a lack of wolves and Cougars in most areas, and you have a recipe for overpopulation. The majority of forests in eastern North America have no understory anymore thanks to overgrazing and forest regeneration is basically impossible.
As someone located in South Florida, I am both glad and disappointed that the balance of natural predators and hunters is still present for keeping the populations of White-tailed Deer and other animals in check since American Alligator, Gray Fox, and Florida Panther (while highly endangered) are present. Hell, I still get excited seeing deer outside of the Everglades because they are an uncommon sight down here.

But not everything is good, the urban sprawl makes it hard for any mammal larger than a racoon to live even in the suburban areas, and due to the Latin community (which technically I am a part of) that wants to enjoy the things most Americans do, there is a lot of illegal hunting and fishing outside of the proper seasons or without permits. This has led to hunting in designated protected zones and over harvesting of sea life in the Keys, including Snipy Lobster and Hogfish. Not to mention the dozens of invasive species that as climate gets warmer, they will eventually spread more and more northward as the Green Iguanas currently are.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Shooting deer certainly essential in the UK due to the absence of predators and I have finally found a local place which sells the venison that results from this so ecologically sound red meat for me. But I'd ban releasing pheasants for shooting and driven grouse shooting without hesitation.
 

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