The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is delighted that hen harriers have had the most successful breeding season in England for over a decade.  

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is delighted that hen harriers have had their most successful breeding season in England for over a decade.  

Key to this success has been an unprecedented 21 chicks fledged from land managed for grouse shooting; over 60% of this year’s young (34). Last year there were no nests on grouse moors and only three successful nests across all of England that raised just 10 chicks.

Defra’s initiative to unlock the complex conflict between hen harriers and grouse shooting, and allow both to thrive, is beginning to work. Trials of a revolutionary harrier management licence to get more harriers on English moors has been key. However, activists opposed to shooting are attempting to crush this early success by trying to have the licence revoked before trials are completed.

Hen harriers are notoriously poor survivors in the first year with natural mortality affecting about seven out of every ten birds and now the recovery of this red listed species is being placed in jeopardy by those more interested in expensive legal action over conservation.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “We are delighted that 34 harriers have fledged from the English uplands with a much improved range. Grouse moor managers and their gamekeepers are to be congratulated for their involvement in eight of the breeding attempts resulting in five successful nests on moorland managed for red grouse across Lancashire, Derbyshire and North Yorkshire. Yet, certain organisations and individuals are intent on doing whatever it takes, including wasting court time and taxpayers’ money, to prevent a successful outcome".

Liam Bell, Chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said, “This is fantastic news and we are delighted that the future for hen harriers is looking much brighter. Gamekeepers have an important role to play in helping to deliver the hen harrier action plan, which at this early stage highlights how collaboration between a wide-range of conservation organisations and moorland managers can lead to extremely successful outcomes.”


The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NG)) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.


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