As I write this, it is with the pleasure of knowing that a spurious, crowd-funded attempt to interfere in the future of the hen-harrier has been averted. Natural England (the Governments custodian of the countryside) had quite sensibly agreed to license trials for brood management of hen harriers. A threatened moorland raptor species. Brood management … Continue reading Justice or Junket?
Strolling along the track from Buckenham Station car park towards the River Bure, it would have been easy to think that we were the first visitors to the Fen this morning. The cracked ice on the myriad puddles told a different story, obviously shattered by vehicle tyres. Scanning ahead, through frosted breath, we could see … Continue reading A Walk Amongst Wigeon
Our Boxing Day walk is a long standing family tradition which is withering as fast now as the family tree itself. The top end of the tree is thinning out through natural wastage (worryingly, I’m just fourth from the top now!). There is a lack of new growth at the base of the tree and … Continue reading A Boxing Day hike in Grouse Country
We all appreciate that there is a huge difference between 'driven' shooting and 'hunting'. Whether engaged in rifle stalking or walkabout rough shooting, the most important and fundamental need of the hunter is quarry anticipation and recognition. Actually, it's more than that. It is often the ability to discriminate between quarry and non-quarry. Protecting the … Continue reading Improving Your Fieldcraft Skills
I cross between two coverts following the tractors trail between a thigh high crop, under a cloudless azure sky. The fronds are still glistening with dawns dew and my trousers are soaked. A head pops up just five yards from me, amid the barley, startling me. Then a second head. Then a third, a … Continue reading Control and Conscience
The decline of the humble rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, across many areas of the UK has been notable. This has been reported by many country folk, hunters and conservationists. Yet the dearth of rabbits in distinct areas is matched by reports from some areas that the rabbit is alive and kicking in healthy numbers. So what’s … Continue reading Where Did All The Rabbits Go?
So today saw the launch of the Labour Party’s ‘50 point plan’ for Animal Welfare Reform and what a cuddly, gushing document it made too! Hardly nature ‘Red’ in tooth and claw, as would be expected. The brief introduction (by Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) sets the … Continue reading Labour’s Animal Welfare Plan? A View From The Countryside.
I'm an addictive and prolific writer but even I get 'writers block' from time to time. You pick up a pen or open up a blank Word document and waste time staring at a blank page or screen as ideas won't come. The best cure for which, I find, is to just put down random … Continue reading Overcoming “Shooter’s Block”
Another walk out this morning with my little rimfire saw me return with a full five-round clip, yet again. On a bitterly cold morning, with icicles hanging from the alloy field gates, I didn’t expect to see much in the way of vermin. Even the hoar-hardened plough forbade the probing beak of rook or … Continue reading A Simple Blast Of Air
The decision this morning wasn’t whether to brave the winter weather. It was what guns to take? Looking out of the windows at home I could see the light boughs of young yew and cedar bending under a Northerly blow. In the habit lately of taking both air rifle and rimfire, I glanced at the … Continue reading The Buzzard and The Betrayal