After a frustrating false start last week, the first larsen trap is now running on the Chayne. I’ve set the trap in the thick of the snipe bog, where more than a dozen pairs of drumming squeakers are starting to build their territories in anticipation of the breeding season. I was very pleased with how my larsen trap regime went last year, and it’s obvious that several bird species benefitted from the work I put in checking traps and feeding call birds every day. Snipe in particular seemed to breed with great success after I removed the local corbies, and I flushed several full broods in August – something I had never really seen on the Chayne before last year.
There is some controversy surrounding larsen traps, and several very vocal commentators are keen to see these machines banned altogether. All I can say is that, from the perspective of a shooting conservationist, the advantages of controlling crows make the process indisputably right. Even after a season spent trapping corbies, there are always more waiting just around the corner to fill up the empty territories when the larsens come back in in the middle of June. A greyhen who loses a clutch of eggs is not so flexible, and every nest raided is another nail in the coffin of Galloway’s black grouse. There is no doubt that buying groundnesting birds a few weeks of safety is of paramount importance, and even though running a series of traps is a major comittment of time and effort, it is always repaid.