First Words

Sporting Shooter - - News - RE­BECCA GREEN Ed­i­tor

I was out with our foxing ex­pert, Dean Har­ri­son, the other even­ing, get­ting a few pho­tos and sit­ting up for a fox he knew was in the area (more on that next month). Driv­ing across the shoot, we saw a large flock of lap­wings and golden plover. And what a beau­ti­ful sight it was, as they took off, their pale un­der­bel­lies glint­ing and twin­kling in the late af­ter­noon sun. It re­ally was a joy to be­hold, although not un­com­mon, as most of you read­ing this will know. You can imag­ine of course, that we were un­able to let the mo­ment pass with­out men­tion­ing the man whose name has be­come some­thing of a swear word in shoot­ing cir­cles: Chris Pack­ham. For at the time, he had just tweeted his out­ra­geous com­ment about lap­wing be­ing shot and their num­bers be­ing in de­cline.

Aside from the ob­vi­ous fac­tual in­ac­cu­racy, the wor­ry­ing thing about the whole Chris Pack­ham de­ba­cle is that peo­ple – nor­mal, in­tel­li­gent peo­ple – be­lieve what he says. As a fig­ure­head of the BBC’s much-loved na­ture pro­grammes, they trust him. And that’s what our much-ma­ligned com­mu­nity is up against. That said, it does feel as though more and more peo­ple are start­ing to see the side of Chris Pack­ham we shoot­ers can’t stand. The more he makes state­ments sug­gest­ing we should ‘stop spend­ing money chas­ing cures for can­cer’, ‘stop hav­ing so many chil­dren’, or ‘learn to live with ticks’, the more peo­ple are wak­ing up to his warped views of the world. Apart from the BBC of course, which seems res­o­lutely com­mit­ted to the pre­sen­ter.

So what should or could we be­ing do­ing about it? Well, the work of the shoot­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­fend and pro­mote our sport is on­go­ing, so we should get be­hind their cam­paigns and lend weight where we can. In­di­vid­u­ally, I think we mustn’t be afraid to stand up for what we do and what we be­lieve in. A re­cent con­ver­sa­tion with a fel­low shooter got me think­ing about this. It can be too easy to take the ‘safe’ route when speak­ing to non-shoot­ers; to be vague when asked ‘what is it that you do?’ for fear of creat­ing of­fence or awk­ward­ness should you un­wit­tingly be speak­ing to an ‘anti’. In fact, the op­po­site is true. We should speak with pride about our sport, in­dus­try and the jobs we hold within it. And if our words are met with crit­i­cism or judge­ment, we have all the tools at our dis­posal to help cor­rect mis­un­der­stand­ings or myths. Whether it’s a fact or fig­ure, per­sonal ac­count or just pure pas­sion, we all have it in us to put the right mes­sages out there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.