It’s happening in the city
I read the article by Charlie Portlock about getting permissions to shoot, with great interest and whilst I agree with every word he wrote, I also disagreed with the fact that it’s the same narrow- minded view we have that permissions are only in the countryside on farms, and that no one ever shoots anywhere else.
I live in Birmingham,. I have eight permissions, and all of them are factories. A simple introduction, followed by a letter with a few risk and method statements gave me permission to shoot rats, rabbits and pigeons in these factories. I shoot inside the buildings to remove pigeons only, and rats and rabbits and pigeons outside.
I don’t bother with fancy camo or IR-vision kit. No nancy- boy PCP rifles for me! They leave the outside floodlights on and I stomp around like a herd of heffalumps. Most of the shooting is walked up on, and occasionally, I sit and hideshoot rats. I don’t bait or bugger around, I just turn up after a shift change, do a brief with the manager, sort out any issues he has, and then walk the outside.
Air rifles are brilliant for this, being low-powered, quiet and clean and I only get High-viz hunter? Oh yes issues when I try to sneak, so loud is best! All firms must have a pest- control protocol, and if you’re good, and work the system well, there are thousands to choose from. There are plenty of opportunities to shoot in the urban environment, and I think your team are too out of focus to see that. Get off the grass and get in the concrete forest and open another chapter on urban shooting.
Love the mag, love the sport, love what you’re doing
Charlie replied- Dear Peter, Many thanks for making contact. I think you’ve raised an excellent point. Being the narrow-minded, grass-fed barbarian that I am, I feel that you’ve helped me to see the light (pollution) on this important issue. Quite right you are, too. I agree that the dedicated airgunner is the perfect person to control rat and feral pigeon populations in urban areas where public health is a priority. You’re offering solutions to the problem of permission, which can only be a good thing. You have my full support. Perhaps the magazine’s countryside bias is based partly on the fact that ancient woodland and rolling hills are slightly easier on the eye than the rust-hewn contours of the ‘concrete forest’. There are some beautiful old factories in Aston and Digbeth, though. Interesting what you say about the lack of need for stealth etc. I’ve recently read that some rodents (grey squirrels) can detect deliberate stalking behaviour and body language, but will not go onto the alert if habituated to disinterested human movement. Makes perfect sense and you seem to be exploiting this successfully. I’d be interested to find out if their behaviour changes as a result of your activities.
So good to hear that you’re not one of those, PCP-loving philistines; they’re everywhere you know. I wish you all the best with your shooting.