My shooting career started with a very strict safety lesson given by my father. By the time I was able to carry a shotgun it became clear that I wasn’t going to be allowed close to one until I had learnt “A Father’s Advice.”
A Father’s Advice
If a sportsman true you’d be
Listen carefully to me. . .
Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.
When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety’s sake.
If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
“Follow not across the line.”
Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
“Never shoot where you can’t see.”
You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
“All the pheasants ever bred
Won’t repay for one man dead.”
Keep your place and silent be;
Game can hear, and game can see;
Don’t be greedy, better spared
Is a pheasant, than one shared.
This is gospel and a true understanding that safety is the most important aspect of shooting. I will continue this tradition with my boy and make sure that he respects his and others’ safety before anything else.
Having been lucky enough to get into the sport at a young age I learnt what shooting was all about or what shooting should be all about. Heading out with my 410 William Evans side by side shotgun and my dad by my side was the best feeling. This was another one of those, “I can’t sleep with excitement!” situations. Pure enjoyment.
My family are one of those hunter gatherer families where everything we shoot or catch, we eat. Field to Fork on every occasion. Still today we maintain this philosophy with the exception of Salmon where I am a big catch and release supporter. Every little helps.
There is now fantastic work being done by the British Game Alliance to promote British Game. This non profit organisation will launch in mid-April where it will work with Estates, Game Dealers and Butchers to promote and provide game to the market.
Low in fat and cholesterol game meat is a great answer to healthy food. Anything you cook using chicken can be done with game.
To begin with, at a younger age, the thrill of shooting was very different. With age I have come to look at it differently. Shooting is thrilling and made all the more special when you actually connect with your intended quarry.
Before the shoot day arrives there is the anticipation of what’s to come and spending a day with a cracking group of friends which will no doubt result in great banter. This can save a day’s shooting should it not go according to plan. I, for one, enjoy the experience rather than the end number which can only happen when surrounded by great people.
The morning of a shoot day is incredible. Taking that first step outside to take the dogs out and breathing in cold crisp air is amazing; my idea of heaven. One place that I am lucky enough to shoot, has the most amazing view and although I have been many times, it still takes my breath away.
Last season was one to remember. Along with some incredible pheasant shooting, this year I was lucky enough share a gun with my sister on the Grouse. I can’t begin to explain the excitement at the thought of this day. Sharing it with my sister was equally amazing and the team of guns were great people, making the day even more special.
A beautiful day in Northumberland and the most incredible shooting experience that I will never forget.
What I’m getting at is, that for me the pure enjoyment of shooting isn’t killing things but the whole experience of spending time with good friends, in amazing places, where at the end of the day you can cook and eat what you’ve shot.