First Words

Sporting Shooter - - Contents - DOM HOLTAM Edi­tor-In-Chief

It’s amaz­ing to think that the game sea­son is im­mi­nent once more. And, of course, it kicks off with grouse. We have a great fea­ture from the GWCT about grouse moor re­gen­er­a­tion in Wales, while Steve Raw­sthorne is look­ing at the unique tech­ni­cal chal­lenges that face the Gun when tack­ling th­ese speed­i­est of game birds. But the moors have been in the news for less happy rea­sons of late.

Bri­tain is swel­ter­ing as I write th­ese words. Weeks of hot, dry weather have left many parts of the coun­try parched and brown. There have been mas­sive wild­fires across Sad­dle­worth moor and oth­ers, many started de­lib­er­ately.

I was sad­dened, but hardly sur­prised, to read in parts of the press that grouse shooting was be­ing held re­spon­si­ble by the anti lobby for turn­ing th­ese ar­eas into ‘tin­der­boxes’ and that th­ese ar­eas should be al­lowed to turn back into wood­land to pre­vent th­ese fires from hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture.

For­get­ting for a mo­ment the fact that moor­land is a glob­ally rare habi­tat, the GWCT also pointed out that, rather than dry­ing out the moors, grouse moor own­ers in fact helped to block drains and re­sisted pres­sure to plant com­mer­cial forestry – ac­tions praised only re­cently by the RSPB. And that good moor­land man­age­ment (in­clud­ing strate­gic heather burn­ing) was a way to re­duce, not in­crease, the risk of wild­fires.

I have also been spar­ing a thought for all the keep­ers across the coun­try who are putting birds to wood in th­ese chal­leng­ing weather con­di­tions, and those out on their tire­less vig­ils to re­duce fox num­bers and pro­tect their poults.

Deer stalking guides, too, face a chal­leng­ing time of year – par­tic­u­larly those for whom roe bucks make up the bulk of their an­nual busi­ness. The rut is not far away as I type and al­though the sum­mer sol­stice is be­hind us, the days are still in­cred­i­bly long. I know even from a hunter’s per­spec­tive that the hours can be pretty gru­elling. Fac­tor in the stresses and pres­sures of match­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions of clients and it’s an ex­haust­ing few weeks.

By the time the mag hits the shelves, it will be time for the Game Fair at Ra­gley and we look for­ward to see­ing you there.

Evo­lu­tion House, 2-6 Easthamp­stead Road, Wok­ing­ham, Berk­shire RG40 2EG

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.