Covid-19 & Summer Shooting

Saturday 04th July 2020

Well it seems we’re now allowed out to play!

We are still cautious and are taking things one step at a time but once harvest gets underway, sometime around the middle of July at least in this part of the world, we’ll be back chasing pigeons.

There’ll be some restrictions; one person per hide unless from the same household and social distancing, no sharing vehicles but we believe it can be done and there certainly appears to be a huge demand. After so many weeks of lockdown there’s a pent up demand to get out and about, to enjoy the outdoors. With pubs, hotels and self-catering holiday homes also opening up there’s going to be somewhere for people to stay overnight or for several days. We expect to be very busy.

So from today we’re taking bookings for our pigeon days and starting in September our deer stalking outings as both of these can be undertaken on an individual basis. As we go through the summer we’ll continue reviewing the situation and if things continue to improve we hope to offer some rough/walked up days as well as some limited wildfowling. There’s also the possibility of a limited number of smaller (125) bird driven game days.

So if you fancy getting out and enjoying a day’s pigeon decoying or some early season deer stalking book it now!

As a ‘heads up’ this pandemic and it’s obvious consequences isn’t the only problem we all face, there are other dark clouds on the horizon affecting our sport…

The current state of the General Licences under which we can legally shoot pigeons and crows among other ‘pests’ is appalling but is only one of several very dangerous threats to shooting. The various field sports organisations are now trumpeting the ‘sensible and workable’ (which they are not) re-issuing of The General Licences which were due for review on/by 31st July this year and have now been extended in their current form until their standard issue date on January 2021. Once again a government organisation has failed to deliver on time and in any meaningful way and Natural England are still making it extremely difficult to obtain special licences. This follows on from the field sports organisations capitulation over lead shot! Are they like NE, not now fit for purpose?

Currently Natural England is reviewing their system of ‘consents’ for coastal wildfowling no doubt with a view to restricting or banning it altogether.

The Scottish parliament has agreed to give protected status to mountain hares. No arguments, it’s done!

Wild Justice are still chasing a ban on shooting within 500 metres or more (currently 300 metres) of any SSSIs or similar protected sites as well as obtaining a Judicial Review of the release of game birds which if successful could seriously curtail game shooting from next season.

The RSPB is also jumping on the bandwagon and looking to ‘substantially’ alter its already ‘anti’ position regarding shooting.

And so the list of anti-field sports measures goes on. If you don’t know or were unaware of what’s happening to our traditional countryside pursuits now is the time to get involved in counteracting these measures. If you value your shooting do something! Do it NOW!