Celebrating 40 years of Sporting Gun
When I was younger and had more time on my hands, I used to keep a shooting diary. It was inspired partially by the Victorian sporting books I read and by a family friend who had been a bomber pilot during the war. He let me see his flying logbook, which recorded each flight with details about weather, the mission, casualties etc. This got me thinking that I could keep a logbook/ diary of my shooting adventures. In it I logged what I shot, where, the weather and the type of gun and ammunition used.
I hoped to use this intelligence to help me understand where the quarry hot spots were, what time of day was most productive and if the weather played a part in success. I also imagined sitting back decades later in my study in front of a roaring log fire reminiscing about happy days in the field.
Reading “Days from my diary” by Graham Downing in February 2002 issue of Sporting Gun reminded me of this. Graham is still a well-known name in shooting journalism, however, Graham took a different approach to his diaries from me. He says: “A sporting diary is not merely a game book. I do not keep columns of birds and beasts killed, arranged by species and with little notes about the weather and the names of companions.” Rather, Graham writes more descriptively about the day’s shooting so that he can read an account of some forgotten exploit. “Invariably the narrative takes me instantly back to the time and place in question. Once more I am ghosting in my gunning punt through a misty dawn on the Blackwater estuary, catching the whiff of decaying marsh litter as I wait for the teal to drop,” he writes.
Sadly, I don’t keep a shooting diary anymore. The will is there, but I just don’t seem to find the time. And, after all, being the editor of this magazine means I am lucky in that I can write about my sport most days of the week.
However, it got me wondering if any of you keep sporting diaries. Do write and let me know.