Patrick Galbraith admonishes himself for “throwing a shot mallard over a fence and into the back of a pickup” (Editor’s letter, 23 May). He pointed out that, since it was part of the food chain, the bird should have been shown “the utmost respect”. He is quite right but I humbly suggest that this is a respect that stems from esteem for all quarry, from the moment it is born and has flown to the time it rests on our plates.
Throughout a long shooting career — nigh on 80 years — I sometimes found myself in the role of shoot captain. Few things stirred my ire more than a Gun casually tossing quarry on to the game cart, as though it were nothing more than a piece of rubbish, rather than placing it in a gentle and respectful way.
I once met a keeper who was a stickler for shooting etiquette. We had enjoyed a first-rate driven day and one of my Guns had watched as the keeper moved along the cart ensuring that each bird hung neatly.
“Why are you doing that?” he asked. “Because we must offer our quarry the respect it warrants, sir,” came the reply.
“Just the sort of man I like in my own teams,” was my friend’s contribution to the convivial ambience near the end of a perfect day’s shooting. e. miller, lancashire