It was just after sunrise when I pulled open the curtains and cranked open the vertical blinds. The frosted scene outside warmed my heart, for today I was guaranteed my first ‘pass-out’ for nearly three weeks. I mentioned in my last blog my lovely wife’s cancer diagnosis and the enforced shielding before her op. Thankfully … Continue reading Scent, Stalking and Sanity – Why I Shoot
Is there anything more calming than the gentle patter of rain? The flautist on the branch had heralded the downpour with his trill repertoire. The cock blackbird is rarely wrong when it comes to forecasting precipitation. As the gun-metal grey clouds rolled across, I donned my wet gear and slipped a leash on Charlie the … Continue reading It’s life, Captain … but not as we know it !
20th April 2020 Dear Lady Amelia, First of all, apologies for the apparently impersonal letter. I’m proficient on my PC but my hand-writing is appalling nowadays! I hope this letter will find you fit and well in this strangest of times. I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I … Continue reading Lockdown Letter to a Landowner
Charlie the Cocker has always been a bit OCD. Change (no matter how minor) disturbs him to the point of distress. His bed has to be in the right place. Feeding times must be rigid and we get a wet-nose poke if we forget it’s supper time. His walk ‘around the block’ on work days … Continue reading Charlie the Cocker’s Lockdown
A few hours around field and wood with the gun on Sunday gave me time to reflect on the extraordinary events going on at the moment. Out amongst nature, where danger and threat are components of every wild creature's life, it’s easy to dismiss the burgeoning threat to some of the human population. Sitting on … Continue reading Covid-19: A Reflection From The Forest
I paid a visit to my gunsmiths this morning to top-up on some .22LR ammunition. Inevitably, the lead-shot versus steel-shot dialogue came up and what I learned was both illuminating and disturbing. Nine of the leading shooting organisations (let’s call them A9) recently aligned to jointly announce a planned phasing out of the use of … Continue reading The C Word. Shootings ‘Shot in the Foot’.
The breaking news this afternoon of DEFRA’s release of three new General Licenses is welcome news indeed. I’d like to be among one of the first to thank not only DEFRA for their intervention but also the aggregated efforts of our representative shooting, farming and conservation organisations for their lobbying and advice. Not to mention … Continue reading General Licenses – A Restoration Of Common Sense
Having waited for six weeks, I was delighted to receive an e-mail on my iPhone telling me that my application for a personal General License to control birds ‘Preventing Serious Damage’ had been approved and the License was attached. It was issued by Natural England and signed by James Diamond, their Operational Director. The same … Continue reading The Dissection Of A General License
The drive home tonight filled me with frustration. The local farmers have been battling with the lack of rain out here in the East and so the irrigation pipes have been laid out and water hungry seedlings are getting a well needed boost from the sprinklers. I stopped near one of my permission fields to … Continue reading Revocation – The Aftermath
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?