More greylag geese are to be shot in the Outer Hebrides – and some used as meat – in a bid to control the bird ruining crofters’ crops.
A three year pilot project to manage the goose population of Lewis and Harris – approved by Scottish Natural Heritage – began in February last year and continued again in the autumn.
Now a further round of culling is planned.
Licensed greylag goose shooting is to be extended until April 16 on Lewis and Harris, the local goose management group announced today.
The extension will help volunteer hunters to meet the two islands’ goose management pilot’s agreed cull target for 2016.
The pilot aims to reduce agricultural damage crofters and farmers experience by reducing the size of the greylag goose population in a controlled and co-ordinated manner.
The shooting period was due to finish on March 31, however SNH has licensed an extension after a request from hunters.
The extension applies only those hunters registered with the management pilot. Each one carries a card that identifies them as participating in the scheme.
Goose hunters will avoid areas where shooting may cause disturbance or distress due to the current lambing period, as the safety of people and livestock is critical to the success of the pilot.
No shooting will be allowed of geese on or near a nest, due to welfare considerations. Instead a licence may be issued to anyone who is interested in undertaking egg oiling as part of the scheme.
The management pilot, now in its second year, has been developed by a local goose management group with support from SNH and the Scottish Government’s Rural Inspections and Payments Department.
The pilot scheme is being guided by the National Goose Management Review Group (NGMRG).
Similar projects are underway on Uist, Coll and Tiree, and Orkney where growing populations of greylag geese have caused significant damage to crops.
The project also trials the sale of goose meat under licence.