Contentious plans to make it easier to hunt grey partridges in the island have been shelved, at least for now.

Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Geoffrey Boot didn’t move his motion to amend the Game Act during this week’s Tynwald sitting.

The Minister had been scheduled to table a motion that would have extended the shooting season and allowed farmer and landowners to import the birds in order to shoot them.

It would also have removed the additional closed season that was previously provided for grey partridges from October 1 to January 31 in any year.

However, when the time came to put forward the motion at the final Tynwald sitting before October, Mr Boot sat on his hands as President Steve Rodan announced the motion was not to be moved.

On the order paper, the DEFA said: ’While there have been no sightings of the grey partridge on the island in recent years, there is demand from farmers and landowners on the island to be allowed to import and maintain flocks of grey partridges for the purposes of shooting.

’Grey partridge have specific and well-researched habitat requirements and, while such habitats are present on the island, these habitats are currently fragmented.

’The reduction in the closed season for grey partridge will encourage the improvement of habitats for such birds, to the benefit of other wildlife, improving the island’s biodiversity.’

However, the idea was panned by critics including MLC Bill Henderson, a keen ornithologist, as well as Manx BirdLife and Manx Wildlife Trust and many Isle of Man Courier readers who reacted to the our original front-page report on this motion last week.

Mr Henderson said: ’Bringing these lovely birds here to be shot to death is appalling as far as I am concerned.

’They are not really native to the island and are only here as a result of previous game hunters bringing them here in the 17th century.’

Whether Mr Boot will return with the motion to the October Tynwald remains to be seen.