The GWCT has called for restraint in the shooting of grey partridges this season
Autumn count data indicates it has been a poor breeding season for the gamebird. Even on areas that are managed for grey partridges, the number of chicks produced is below average.
The GWCT said this is “a serious situation that, while not as bad as the devastating summer of 2012, needs everyone interested in grey partridge conservation to bear in mind.”
Dr Julie Ewald, a senior scientist with the GWCT, said: “In order to shoot sustainably, it is important to know what numbers of birds you have on the ground.
“Many coveys seen this year have few young and are being joined by barren pairs or single adult birds, making the covey size appear closer to normal.
“Make sure you spend time identifying both young and old in a covey, to ensure you don’t overestimate the number of chicks produced.”
The GWCT says you should not shoot grey partridges unless you are actively taking steps to conserve them, including counting them. You also shouldn’t shoot grey partridges if you have fewer than 20 birds per 250 acres.
For the full advice on grey partridge management, visit www.gwct.org.uk/6-golden-rules.