For one reason and another, I’ve been pulling shooting and fieldsports magazines off the shelves for the past few weeks to cast a critical eye. Years ago, I used to pick up anything ‘shooting related’ and read it cover to cover. I was always an absorbed and fanatical reader of anything ‘shooting’ … until I became a regular contributor myself. As an airgun hunting writer, yet with a rounded view on all shooting disciplines, I needed to concentrate on my speciality and it wasn’t long before I was asked to offer my first book. When you’ve spent a lifetime reading old countryside writers such as Richard Jeffries, Wentworth, Niall, Jones & Woodward sitting down to write a book, a legacy on which future readers will judge you, is fairly intimidating.
Having now written ten books (a few, merely specialist booklets) I think that I’ve added just a little bit to the shooting sports legacy. Knowledge, hard earned in the field and imparted through the written word (and photography) is our obligation to future generations. Just as BB (and co) passed on their passion, so must we. Particularly in the face of continual pressure on field sports and hunting by folk who would impose their ignorance and objection to what we do.
I’m glad to report that the current shooting and fieldsports press is in fine fettle. The shooting reader has a plethora of choices, covering every aspect of the shooting scene. The driven game shooter, the wildfowler, the deer stalker, the fox shooter, the airgun hunter, the ferreter, the lurcher owner, the terrier worker, the angler and the falconer. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute experience or simply read and absorb the advice. Let’s not forget, too, the shooting and conservation organisations who supply (to members) their own periodicals with sound advice from expert members. Beyond all this is the increasing array of advisory video media from the same publications. The shooter / hunter has never had it better and I applaud the efforts of all editors and contributors to make it so.
There are a select few who will understand the reason for this post tonight. We must never, ever apologise for being shooters, hunters, keepers, pest controllers or any other association with country sports. Not one of the publications I’ve read recently has bowed to this concept. Long may this continue. Well done, guys & girls.
Copyright: Ian Barnett, Wildscribbler, March 2017