Sabs – Good for the Local Economy

Posted: August 21, 2018 in Comment
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Last Saturday I was one of the 70 odd sabs which disrupted 2 driven Grouse shoots in Yorkshire. There has been plenty of coverage on this on social media as well as the local press. The excellent Raptor Persecution UK site also ran a short piece on it as well and the comments make interesting reading.

I won’t go over all the details again (you can read about it here) but needless to say it was a successful day, many Grouse are no doubt still flying about now which would have otherwise been blasted from the sky and there may be the odd Stoat or Weasel still lurking in the heather which won’t suffer a painful death in a fen trap. However the estates which got visited are no doubt seething having lost money and the ignominy of being targeted and having no way to respond.

What was interesting was one of the comments which came from one of the shoots in question and typical of how these organisations respond when their sordid minority death sports are pushed into the public eye. It was reported in the local paper, the Richmondshire Today

Dalesport, which runs shoots, said the saboteurs tried to stone shoot vehicles and intimidate shoot staff. A spokesman said:

“It was a shocking encounter in this tranquil area of the national park. Half the sabs were dressed in black with balaclavas in an attempt to prevent their identity. The police arrived to disperse them but not before further threats were made to the shoot staff.”

To be honest this is utterly laughable. The standard starting point for these comments is always to paint a picture of peace and tranquillity in the area, but lets face it, lots of ruddy faced men in tweed with guns blasting away at unfortunate birds is anything but tranquil and if indeed sabs were stoning cars surely there would be evidence of this, broken windows, dented body panels etc. Oddly enough, this evidence seems to be completely missing. Where were all the arrests the police made for this threatening and loutish behaviour?


Estate lacky didn’t want his face on the internet. Oh well never mind.

It’s clearly fake news, an utterly feeble and poorly imagined lie in an effort to gain support by those less well informed, a fairly standard response and straight out of the CA’s manual. Amusingly a spokesperson for the fun day in the village of Reeth reported that the sabs had spent a lot of money and the event  had been a great success. So there you have it, sabs are good for the local economy!

The other point of interest was the attempted detention of sabs and the level of effort in which the estate staff and farmer went to in an effort to prevent the sabs from leaving. When we arrived in the area of Bransdale moor the shoot was in the process of already packing up. The track we used was a gated road and clearly marked on the OS map as being open access. Arriving at the top of the track we were confronted by 3 shoot vehicles which blocked the track. We were informed that the police had been called and were on their way. This was fine by us. No laws had been broken and we were just monitoring the shoot vehicles leaving.


Gotta love the 19th century attire.

At this point we decided to carry on further down the track to where it joined the road at the other end. We were followed some of the way by one of the estate vehicles however they were clearly planning something and this was revealed when we arrived at the other end of the track and faced with a recently chained and padlocked gate with an estate vehicle parked in front of it to prevent us from leaving.

Turning around we proceeded back to our original position to be faced once again with another locked gate and a further 2 estate vehicles, both refusing to move. It seemed a somewhat odd tactic, surely they would want those who had scuppered their days shoot to leave as soon as possible? We has some discussion with the staff who, it has to be said weren’t the sharpest tools in the box but seemed happy to be detaining us. With sketchy phone signal we just managed to get a call out to both the police and another sab group however it seems we would be stuck there for some time.

3 hours later and finally the shoot staff decided to leave, we took our chance and proceeded back to our original entry point. It seemed the bumpkins had been busy!

Tree sized logs from the forestry work had been strewn across the track, the next gate had been locked with a large chain and a heavy agricultural trailer parked behind it. The next gate 50 metres further along had been treated in the same manner, chained up with a trailer blocking. What amazed us was the shear effort they went to for this and the sense of entitlement that they could detain us in this (illegal) manner. It beggars belief.



Farmer forced to unlock gate on the unpaved byway – photo courtesy of North Cambs Hunt Sabs

Needless say the first set of obstacles were moved quickly, and with some ingenuity, team work and a capable sab vehicle both gate and trailer were soon dealt with and we were on our way to tackling the next one fairly quickly. The red faced angry farmer arrived at this point with the police a short distance behind and then the fine sight of around 50 sabs for some moral support. Angry farmer was sent to get his tractor and directed to move the trailer and unlock the gate. Despite protestations to the contrary the police confirmed that the area was indeed open access and no crimes had been committed. Once again they had failed in their somewhat strange plans and we were free to continue our journey.

I know the Countryside Alliance had issued advice to shoots and estates in the event of disruption but I’m fairly certain this kind of reaction wasn’t part of that. You have to wonder what they were trying to achieve as it was only even going to end in one way. For us the day was a 100% success, shoots were prevented from killing, no-one was shot or arrested, we got some nice PR by just walking on the moors and the local economy got a nice boost with the influx of sab money.

Finally, while we were waiting for our chance to leave a ruddy faced shoot employee asked if we get paid, then proclaimed our employer was none other than Paul McCartney! They never seem to get it, what we do is based simply on the combined desire to save lives and right the injustice of those who take delight in abusing our wildlife.

  1. Elaine Tavner says:

    Well done to all the Sabs for all your fortitude and perseverance….Maybe one day grouse shooting and all blood ‘sports’ will be history…..?

  2. Sally Kingham says:

    Very well done. Thank you.

  3. Catherine Deering says:

    Excellent work. Thank you. Keep going,

  4. Mike Haden says:

    Good work I always thought that DGS is particularly vulnerable to people exercising their legal right to walk across open access moors. I suppose it can be far moor effective than trying to chase people on horseback. And let’s face it if anyone behaves in a threatening manner whilst carrying a shotgun (hopefully) they will always be on the wrong side of the law. But don’t bank on it as a few recent cases have proved.

  5. louisewyatt says:

    Excellent write-up and showing the truth. Well done all 🙂

  6. Sian says:

    Well done, excellent article

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