Cel­e­brat­ing 40 years of Sport­ing Gun

Sporting Gun - - SNAPSHOTS -

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.

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