Wildlife management in Scotland

Page 1 of 9

Closes 14 Dec 2022

Section 1 – Licensing of Grouse Shooting

The Scottish Government is proposing a licensing scheme for the taking of grouse. 

Purpose of the scheme

The main purpose of the proposals to license grouse shooting is to address the on-going issue of wildlife crime and in particular persecution of raptors on grouse moors.  It will do this by enabling the application of a meaningful civil sanction regime for offences against wild birds and other specified wildlife crimes.

More details can be found in "Part 1: Licencing of Grouse Shooting"" of our consultation paper.

1. Do you agree that the licensing of grouse shooting should be introduced to deter raptor persecution and wildlife crime linked to grouse moor management?
2. If you answered ‘No’ to question 1, please state what other option/s you think we should consider (max 150 words).
3. Do you agree that the landowner/occupier/person responsible for or accountable for the management decisions and actions should be responsible for acquiring and maintaining the licence for the taking of grouse on a particular piece of land?
4. If you answered ‘No’ to question 3, please state what other option/s you think we should consider (max 150 words).
5. Do you think that the person wishing to shoot grouse on land that they do not own, or occupy, should be required to check that the person who owns the land has a licence which allows for the taking of grouse on that area of land?
6. If you answered ‘No’ to question 5, please state what other option/s you think we should consider (max 150 words).
7. If we introduce a licensing scheme, do you agree that NatureScot should be the licensing authority?
8. Do you think that a licence should be granted for a maximum period of one year (renewable on an annual basis thereafter)?
9. If you answered ‘No’ to question 8, please state what other option/s you think we should consider (max 150 words).
10. Do you think that the civil rather than the criminal burden of proof is an acceptable test for the application of sanctions in relation to grouse moor licences?

Please note that a civil standard of proof would require NatureScot to base their decision on the ‘balance of probabilities’ whereas a criminal standard of proof requires satisfaction ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. 

11. If you answered ‘No’ to question 10, please state what other option/s you think we should consider (max 150 words).
12. Do you agree that record keeping or reporting requirements should be part of the licence conditions?

Please note that record keeping would involve noting down the activities carried out under the licence (e.g. the number of days on which grouse shooting took place, the number of grouse shot on each day, types of predator control undertaken, etc.) and providing these if/when they are requested. Reporting requirements would involve the active reporting of activities carried out under the licence on a regular basis.

13. If you answered ‘neither’ to question 12, please outline why you believe this (max 150 words).
14. Do you agree that, where a person holds a valid licence, and there is sufficient evidence to show that, on the balance of probabilities a wildlife crime has been committed on their property, NatureScot should have the power to impose the following penalties:
  • Issue a written warning
  • Temporarily suspend a licence
  • Permanently revoke a licence
15. If you answered ‘no’ to question 14, please outline why you believe this (max 150 words).
16. Please provide any further comments on the questions in this section here.