With the weather front named ’Ciara’ forecast to hit, I was determined to walk my woods today. As a countryman, shooting conservationist and wildlife lover my affinity with trees is immense. Not just because of the photosynthesis which sustains life on earth. Trees are far more than just oxygen generators. Adult oak, chestnut, beech, sycamore, … Continue reading Storm Ciara, spare my giants!
Stepping from the motor into my own frosted breath, I applauded myself for adding an extra base layer to the shooting attire this morning. The low winter sun wasn’t going to win against a scything Easterly breeze today. Before donning my shooting mitts I loaded two magazines with .22 Air Arms field diablo pellets. I … Continue reading Long Walk, Little Rifle
Dawn is an enchanting time for the shooter and wildlife observer. Today, on the cusp of the winter solstice, it came late and allowed me to linger longer in the comfort of my bed. I woke to wind and rain battering the south-facing bedroom window, yet the temptation of lazing was immediately dismissed. For today … Continue reading A Morning On The Greys
A walk to the hill, with the gun, in the chill The woodcock moon hangs upon high. No leaf on the bough, light frost on the plough Skeins of pinkfoot and greylag pass by. Climbing up to the crest, to where view is best A small silhouette catches the eye. The stance of a hare, … Continue reading The Moongazers
"If shooting quarry accurately and cleanly is important, making sure that you don’t shoot another species in error is equally important. Not just because it’s unethical but also because shooting any bird not on the General License or recognised as game could see you in deep trouble with the law. For example, shooting a stock … Continue reading A short extract from “Hunting and Fieldcraft” – Quarry Recognition
This book is for anyone who ranges the countryside harvesting meat for the table, undertaking crop protection and protecting vulnerable species from predation. It is for the mature adult venturing into shooting with a limited knowledge of bird and beast. Or perhaps changing from air rifles to more powerful tools. It is for the kid … Continue reading New Book Launch – Hunting and Fieldcraft with Shotgun and Rifle
A bitter north-easterly breeze, born somewhere beyond the Arctic Circle, slapped at my bare skin like a schoolmasters strop. The touch of the blued steel on my rifles barrel threatened to stick-freeze to my gloveless fingers. Abandoning the ‘hard-hunter’ pose I donned a pair of shooting mitts, pulled a snood down around my neck and … Continue reading A Woodwitch In The Cross-Hairs
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.