Eat­ing the en­emy

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

Some weeks ago, on one of those sunny af­ter­noons when every­thing seems so per­fect that it is hard to imag­ine any­thing bad will ever hap­pen again, I shot a squir­rel. It was a mag­is­te­rial mo­ment; he tum­bled from a high oak tree while an elec­tric church or­gan tin­kled in the dis­tance. Af­ter writ­ing “medium-sized squir­rel” on a freezer bag, I popped him in, dropped him in a drawer and went to make a whisky sour.

A few days ago I pulled him out and turned him into some nuggets to serve as canapés for a lit­tle group of charm­ing el­derly peo­ple. “I don’t like squir­rel,” moaned a re­tired aca­demic. “I don’t think you’ve ever tried it,” I replied, like a mother bat­tling a weari­some tod­dler.

Said aca­demic ten­ta­tively dipped one in some chilli jam, and lifted it to his mouth with a look of dis­gust. As he chewed his face changed and then he ate an­other. “Th­ese are su­perb,” he an­nounced to the group. I was de­lighted. I have of­ten wished that pheas­ant tasted quite as nice as squir­rel. I won­der if the prob­lem of shoots strug­gling to get rid of game would be as bad if that were the case.

Sated on nuggets, I lay in bed that night and thought about the plight of our dear red squir­rel. Then I fell asleep and dreamed about a gi­ant one with a mega­phone shout­ing: “Your coun­try needs you to eat the en­emy.”

Pa­trick Gal­braith, Ed­i­tor

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