Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - LETTERS -

Like many shoot­ing peo­ple, I de­spair at the one-sided at­tacks our sport suf­fers from the anti bri­gade, in all its forms. How­ever, the real poi­son comes from well-con­structed me­dia cam­paigns mounted by the wealthy char­i­ties that have real im­pact with the gen­eral pub­lic, such as the RSPCA and RSPB. These or­gan­i­sa­tions pour their mem­bers’ sub­scrip­tions shame­lessly into open war­fare against all field­sports and they are suc­cess­ful.

They have their willing high-pro­file sup­port­ers, such as Chris Pack­ham and the BBC, Brian May of badger fame, and Coun­try­file, a pro­gramme that stu­diously ig­nores any men­tion of field­sports, and the at­tacks go on.

Most of us join or­gan­i­sa­tions to rep­re­sent our sport, but they seem pow­er­less to mount any mean­ing­ful op­po­si­tion to the well-or­ches­trated cam­paigns against us. They could do more to mo­bilise the sport­ing com­mu­nity to act as a whole.

A good ex­am­ple is your news fea­ture on moun­tain hares (News, 17 Oc­to­ber). Two aca­demics in Scot­land have re­ported that moun­tain hares have de­clined to one per cent of their 1950 lev­els in the moor­land in the east of Scot­land and blame grouse moor man­agers for shoot­ing them to con­trol ill­ness. Five years ago you printed a pic­ture of my son, then only months old, with my dogs as I was feed­ing pheas­ants. I thought you might like to see some pic­tures of him now, af­ter I took him pickingup In 2011 the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a close sea­son to pro­tect moun­tain hares while they are breed­ing. They can only be shot dur­ing this time with a li­cence from Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage (SNH).

Two “pro­jects” were no­table for the num­ber of li­cences to kill hares in the close sea­son, as re­vealed in your news item. Culling in the breed­ing sea­son means that preg­nant hares and those with de­pen­dent off­spring will have been killed. Sig­nif­i­cantly, no li­cences were is­sued to grouse moors for dis­ease con­trol.

What do you think the re­ac­tion from our an­tag­o­nists would be if SNH had is­sued li­cences to kill thou­sand of moun­tain hares with me for the first time last week. His name is Jack Parker and it’s great to see his in­ter­est in shoot­ing. He also en­joyed help­ing his fa­ther driv­ing the truck (in a field) and din­ner in the pub af­ter.

R. Parker, by email to pro­tect grouse moors rather than forests?

Now is the time to dish some of the dirt back. We have been handed a pub­lic re­la­tions op­por­tu­nity on a plate; I doubt if any of our shoot­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions will do any­thing with it but we all have ac­cess to so­cial me­dia, or at least our chil­dren or grand­chil­dren do. Ask the gen­eral pub­lic what they think on Face­book, Twit­ter and other sites. What do Pack­ham and

May think about it? What is the po­si­tion of the RSPCA on the sub­ject?

If our op­po­nents want to throw emo­tion into their ar­gu­ments, let’s see how they deal with this.

P. Plotkin, Buck­ing­hamshire The magic of flight­ing mal­lard at dusk in Dum­friesshire. Shoot­ing grouse over HPRS in the lonely wilder­ness of the He­brides.



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