The .17HMR Rifle … First Reflections

Back in April this year I posed the question 'Are FAC rifles a waste of money?'  after selling my two high power .22 airguns. I hinted that I might invest in a rimfire rifle. After some consideration (and wanting to retain my FAC ticket) I took a long hard look at the vermin control I … Continue reading The .17HMR Rifle … First Reflections

Beefy, Charity, Lead and Lunacy

Sir Ian Botham (in my humble opinion one of this country's most laudable down-to-earth sporting heroes) put up a great idea last week. Sir Ian (aka Beefy) asked why not donate excess shot game-birds in the coming season to charities who support feeding those in need of meat and protein? The urban and tabloid reaction … Continue reading Beefy, Charity, Lead and Lunacy

Poor Little Hedgehog?

Forgive the question in the title, but I saw this rather twee and pathetic plea on my Twitter feed this evening. It just about sums up the witlessness and hypocrisy prevalent amongst armchair 'wildlife worshippers'. The ignorance and arrogance of the modern human being makes me almost ashamed to belong to the species. Reading this … Continue reading Poor Little Hedgehog?

Wearing Two Hats – Shooting and Conservation

I've had a strange weekend. For a shooting writer and journalist I seem to have, quite accidentally, attracted a large number of 'birder' Twitter friends due the above photo. It is a turtle dove; the photo taken at Pensthorpe Wildlife Park, near where I live. I was quite explicit in stating this. The bird is … Continue reading Wearing Two Hats – Shooting and Conservation

The View Through A Leaf-Net

They say the devil makes work for idle hands; so on a Bank Holiday weekend where all my domestic duties were fully discharged, I happily accepted my pass-out. When will 'her loveliness' ever learn that instructing a 'clear-out' will result in me unearthing all manner of toys and contraptions that have lain in dark corners, … Continue reading The View Through A Leaf-Net

Rooks and Cuckoos

Another frustrating day comes to a close and my head is already in the field and wood. If it weren’t, I’d go insane. Being semi-retired, I work just three days a week now. The role, as Housing Officer for a social housing provider, involves engagement with tenants who are either vulnerable (mental health, disability) or … Continue reading Rooks and Cuckoos

Shadow Dancing; A Woodland Stalk

Shuffling along the track toward the wood, the nightcap port and cheese hanging heavy in my head, a repetitive bird call lifted my spirits. The obstinate song of a chiffchaff confirming that spring was snapping at the tail-feathers of a bland winter. Underlining the sudden (perhaps premature) change, a brimstone butterfly danced amongst the primroses. Yellow … Continue reading Shadow Dancing; A Woodland Stalk

Hunting … Keeping The Fire Blazing

Occasionally I find that my writing comes under attack from anti-hunting protagonists who claim that there is no place for hunting wild creatures in the twenty-first century. Recently Chris Packham (mercenary natural history presenter and BBC-subsidised bigot) made a similar statement. He was attacking (via Twitter) the chairman of the Kent Wildlife Trust, Mike Bax, … Continue reading Hunting … Keeping The Fire Blazing

The Air Rifle And The Law

(Reprinted from Airgun Fieldcraft, 2016 and updated, Feb 2017. Excludes Scotland.) The air rifle is a hugely maligned tool where the press and general public are concerned ... and quite wrongly so. There are a reputed four million airgun owners in the UK. In the past it was a relatively unregulated gun so no-one really … Continue reading The Air Rifle And The Law