our lob­by­ists need to shout louder for shoot­ing

Shooting Gazette - - Letters -

as I pre­pare for my first day of this sea­son, I find I am grow­ing more con­cerned about our beau­ti­ful sport’s fu­ture. In­deed, I echo John cle­ments (The danger of si­lence, Au­gust is­sue], and the re­sponses that fol­lowed. I would cer­tainly pur­chase a ‘Speak Up for Shoot­ing’ badge ( pic­tured far right), as John cle­ments sug­gests, and write let­ters in sup­port. My ques­tion is, who from the coun­try­side com­mu­nity is best po­si­tioned to co­or­di­nate this?

The ad­di­tional rev­enue gen­er­ated from badge sales and even, per­haps, an in­crease in pre­mi­ums charged by basc, the coun­try­side Al­liance, NGO and GWCT could bol­ster a united me­dia ‘front’ for the field­sports com­mu­nity. Our lob­by­ing, too, needs to move up a gear: e-pe­ti­tions and pre-writ­ten let­ters to cross­party MPS should be pro­vided for mem­bers to sign and send; tele­vised ap­pear­ances and post­ings to so­cial me­dia should ap­pear with greater fre­quency and co­in­cide with po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing pol­icy changes.

The an­nounce­ment that li­cences per­mit­ting shoot­ing on pub­lic land in Wales would no longer be granted reached a wide au­di­ence and was cel­e­brated by anti-shoot­ing and hunt­ing groups as “a small, vic­to­ri­ous step against a sport that should be con­signed to the his­tory books”. Our re­sponse was lim­ited. In­deed, I found my­self ques­tion­ing why our or­gan­i­sa­tions have not launched a pub­lic counter-pro­posal, us­ing all of the above meth­ods? Surely pro­vid­ing mem­bers with the right in­for­ma­tion and means to urge pol­icy set­ters and MPS to re­con­sider should be top of their agen­das, es­pe­cially, when the very core of our sport is un­der at­tack? chris Pack­ham’s at­tack on grouse shoot­ing showed just how ef­fec­tive the anti-shoot­ing es­tab­lish­ment has be­come.

Have we in­ad­ver­tently scored an own-goal by not re­spond­ing pub­licly? by not pre­sent­ing our case more ef­fec­tively, we have run the risk of al­low­ing the pub­lic’s view­point to be ad­versely tainted by the onesided ar­gu­ments of the an­tis.

Granted, it may be an over-re­ac­tion to sug­gest that not re­new­ing li­cences to shoot on pub­lic land in Wales will re­sult in the wider pub­lic ral­ly­ing to the anti-shoot­ing cause – but it may have in­creased their (hope­fully wrong) be­lief that our sport is from a time gone by.

We must get bet­ter at pre­sent­ing the ben­e­fits shoot­ing brings to the ru­ral com­mu­nity and econ­omy, and the more gen­eral role we play in the pro­tec­tion and preser­va­tion of our pre­cious coun­try­side.

I am just your typ­i­cal shoot­ing man, I care deeply for our coun­try­side and will spend as much ef­fort, money and time as I can en­sur­ing the fu­ture of these great sports and land.

G. Clif­ford-new­man By email

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