“If licensing is introduced, this will only escalate,” she added. “Campaigners want grouse shooting banned. Licensing is their first step.”
Mr Packham, who is currently in Alaska and could not be contacted, described grouse moors in a recent radio interview as “industrialised landscapes” and said there was “not much else living except grouse.”
But landowners claim that ground nesting birds, such as curlews and lapwings, as well as mountain hares, which are controversially culled on some moors, fare much better on managed ground where predators are controlled.
Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management for RSPB Scotland said the claims of sabotage were an extraordinary over-reaction to the “rather modest proposal that grouse moor estates should be subject to some degree of proportionate regulation”.
He added: “It also conflates criminal behaviour and damage to legal traps and other property, which should be reported to the police, with shoot licensing.
“We support the licensing of driven grouse shooting following decades of failure by grouse moor owners to self-regulate and to marginalise illegal behaviours, such as the criminal killing of birds of prey.
“In these circumstances it is entirely appropriate that the Scottish Government intervenes to protect the public interest, and bring us into line with similar systems that apply to sport shooting across Europe.’