WE MUST ADDRESS OPEN WARFARE
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.
… AND MUCH MORE!
SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE • 13