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APRIL UPDATE from our grouse moors

April 3, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Winter is still here !

The first week of April promises yet another spell of snow cover but we did have some breaks in March which allowed useful heather burning on the best days.   Thanks to heather cutting as our main management technique we should get  near the  target this Spring.

The grouse look very fit and are now ready for counting of breeding pairs when we get suitable weather.

The new moor in Aberdeenshire has had some cutting, burning and gritting and this will be closely monitored in its first season.

Predator control

A Spring campaign is really valuable but it’s difficult to cover large areas with limited time and resources available for daily checking of traps and snares.   Before setting any trap it is useful to have evidence that the target species is around and is attracted to that bait and prepared to enter the trap.

 Pre-trapping or test trapping is used to reduce time wasted on checking unproductive traps.  A well known example of this is the GWCT’s mink raft and the same principle can be used where any trap is baited but not set to catch.   Cage traps can have doors or panels removed or secured open so targets can get in and out.   For spring traps the treadle or trigger is monitored and the catching parts are secured by safety catches and other means so they cannot move enough to catch.  For a test-snare the loop is cut near the slider and re-joined in a small plastic sleeve which releases with the slightest pull.                                                                                                     Individual species can be identified by hairs left on velcro strips or even barbed wire, tracks left on sand or mud near the trap and, of course, trail cameras which get cheaper and better continually.                                                                                                                                            Next year when Fenn traps become illegal for stoats they will still be useful as indicator traps and the new Tully trap, for example, will fit most tunnels or covers which are now used for Fenn traps.

 

British Moorlands