In the feather

Shooting Gazette - - The great debate - By

Ben Samuelson

Al­though the ca­ma­raderie, coun­try­side, sport, drink­ing, eat­ing and talk­ing rub­bish are all im­por­tant as­pects of a day’s shoot­ing, it is vi­tal we re­mem­ber that the ba­sis of our sport is go­ing out to hunt for food. Oth­er­wise we might as well be con­ti­nen­tal types who shoot any­thing and ev­ery­thing, and what use would Brexit be then? More se­ri­ously, for­get­ting this would give those who seek to ban shoot­ing a bit more am­mu­ni­tion.

As a re­sult, when­ever travel ar­range­ments al­low, I make it a rule to take a brace with me at the end of the day – no mat­ter how full the freez­ers al­ready are. The first time I was given oven-ready birds by a shoot, it seemed like a good idea. It is a lot more con­ve­nient than birds in the feather, es­pe­cially now few of us have a cook and butch­ers aren’t al­lowed to sort the birds for you. You don’t ex­pect to have to butcher your own pig be­fore pick­ing up a pound of sausages, do you?

But then, we aren’t just pick­ing up a packet of food, are we? We’re game shoot­ing, which has rather a lot more to it than brows­ing Tesco on­line. Plucked, gut­ted and shrink-wrapped might make things more con­ve­nient, but then it’s more of a has­sle to kill it your­self, isn’t it? While I have shot with peo­ple who seem to think I don’t want to kill my own birds so are happy to shoot them be­fore they get to me, it is the fun­da­men­tal point of our sport. As is the whole process of be­ing given a beau­ti­ful brace of birds by the keeper, who checks through a few so that you know you are be­ing given the best avail­able.

In the Samuelson house­hold, it is then a fam­ily ac­tiv­ity to pre­pare the birds, with the wom­en­folk do­ing the pluck­ing and the men do­ing the draw­ing. This en­sures that the next gen­er­a­tion is be­ing brought up in the knowl­edge of where our meat comes from – and more vi­tally what forms the most crit­i­cal foun­da­tion of our sport.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.