First Words

Sporting Shooter - - First Word - RE­BECCA GREEN Editor

It’s easy to feel as if it’s one at­tack af­ter an­other for shoot­ing th­ese days. There’s the on­go­ing lead shot de­bate, a firearms law re­view sparked by re­cent ter­ror­ist atroc­i­ties, and now the lat­est claim that grouse moors are to blame for flood­ing!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Be­hind the scenes our ma­jor or­gan­i­sa­tions are tire­lessly work­ing to counter th­ese chal­lenges. There are suc­cesses too, such as the NGO’s work to help se­cure a land­mark over­rul­ing for the game­keeper who was re­fused a buz­zard con­trol li­cence; and the long-awaited Hen Har­rier Ac­tion Plan has now been pub­lished – a big step for­ward in, hope­fully, get­ting all the agen­cies work­ing to­gether to help hen har­rier num­bers re­cover.

The trou­ble still seems to be in get­ting all th­ese pos­i­tive sto­ries, con­ser­va­tion suc­cesses and the ben­e­fits of shoot­ing to sink in for the wider gen­eral pub­lic, whose mis­con­cep­tions of shoot­ing re­main in­grained. This is not helped by the main­stream me­dia in­sist­ing on trot­ting out old shoot­ing stereo­types (think Down­ton Abbey) and the con­stant at­tacks from the an­tis. Even the book I am read­ing at the mo­ment, which has noth­ing to do with field sports, re­sorted to de­scrib­ing shoot­ing as a sport for rich bankers with cava­lier at­ti­tudes; even claim­ing that the shot birds are buried in pits at the end of the day! This did not make for sooth­ing bed­time read­ing! BASC be­lieves we can all help to push the pos­i­tive mes­sages and the ‘real’ im­age of shoot­ing out to those that don’t know any bet­ter – find out how on p61.

A sim­i­lar frus­tra­tion, where the re­al­ity of a sit­u­a­tion is over­shad­owed by the myth, is play­ing out when it comes to the plight of the curlew, as James March­ing­ton ex­plains on p64 this month... per­haps some­one should hand a copy of his ar­ti­cle to the Green Party’s Natalie Ben­nett, who has de­scribed grouse moors as an ‘in­dus­trial land­scape’.

Else­where, we’re look­ing at two sub­jects that I’m sure many of us could ben­e­fit from ad­dress­ing. The first is eye dom­i­nance. Mike Yardley cuts through the con­flict­ing ad­vice most shoot­ers will prob­a­bly have re­ceived at some point or other to bring you a defini­tive guide. I still re­ceive dif­fer­ing opin­ions from peo­ple on my own eye dom­i­nance, so I found this very in­sight­ful. And Don Brunt is ask­ing us to take a truth­ful look at how well we re­ally shot this sea­son and whether we owe it to our quarry to im­prove. I know what I’ll be do­ing this sum­mer then, aside from try­ing to rein in the tear­away cocker.

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