Quite recently, the one and only blogdad Charlie Moores posted a very emotional article about his views on hunting that sparked a very interesting discussion in the comments section here.
In the course of the discussion I made the following comment highlighing what in my opinion was the most important of Charlie's points:
"Birders/conservationists are often asked/expected to tolerate, respect or even support (duck stamps) hunters and cooperate with them for the “greater good” of nature conservation which supposedly is a common goal.
But how much does the “other side” (the hunters) tolerate, respect and support us, the non-hunting or non-fishing nature enthusiasts?
If birders buy duck stamps, do hunters donate to nature conservation organizations?
If birders respect hunting seasons by staying away from certain areas at certain times, do hunters step back from certain hunting opportunities to allow for better birding in those areas during certain times?
The more I think about it (and I know at least the German hunting scene quite well as I grew up in a forester/hunter family), I’d say tolerance, respect and cooperation amongst birders and hunters is very much a one-way street."
Here's a bit of news that would seem supportive of my scepticism (make sure to read the comments).
Possibly someone from the UK's hunting lobby with whom we supposedly share the common goal of conservation could provide the figures to the following questions:
How many Red Grouse are there in England?
On how many square kilometres is the hunting of the Red Grouse allowed?
How many Hen Harriers are there in England?
How large are their combined breeding ranges where the hunting of Red Grouse might not be quite as easy as elsewhere?
If hunters completely refrained from hunting within the territories of Hen Harriers, the loss of hunting area to them would amount to how many % of the total Red Grouse hunting area in England?
Why would this be inacceptable to hunters, as is shown by the apparently continued illegal shooting of Harriers in England and elsewhere in the UK?
But of course, it needs to be stressed here that there is a common ground for hunters and birders.