Coun­try Mouse

Pick­ing up birds

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IWAS pick­ing up pheas­ants af­ter a su­perb drive at Mells Park in Som­er­set, when I spot­ted a bird that turned out to be a mush­room. The pheas­ant-back mush­room is both edi­ble and un­mis­tak­able—there’s no poi­sonous fungi that it could be con­fused with—which is a per­fect com­bi­na­tion for a for­ager like me.

I had shot so un­usu­ally well on that drive that I handed my gun to a young lady for the next. Un­der the ex­pert tute­lage of shoot cap­tain Robert Cuth­bert, Eve downed her first pheas­ant curl­ing over a yel­low­ing ash tree to all-round cheers and much per­sonal pride. To be hon­est, it was the high­light of the day for me, too. There’s some­thing ex­tra spe­cial in in­tro­duc­ing some­one to a sport or pas­time that you love. Cer­tainly, shoot­ing could ben­e­fit from more new­com­ers.

The forth­com­ing de­bate at West­min­ster, driven by a pe­ti­tion to ban driven grouse shoot­ing (see Leader, page 29, and Town & Coun­try, page 31) should be a stark re­minder that our sport’s fu­ture can­not be taken for granted. The hunt­ing fra­ter­nity may have won the ar­gu­ments, but that didn’t stop the sport from be­ing banned by peo­ple who didn’t—or didn’t want to— un­der­stand it. MH

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