Two phone calls this afternoon have highlighted the fact that some shooters don't do themselves - or the rest of us - any favours.
The first was from a council employee in Leeds, who had shot from a nearby pheasant shoot rain down around him as he worked. He was the most reasonable bloke imaginable, but understandably concerned and wanted to know the legal position. I suggested the best bet was a quiet word with the shoot captain, but apparently local residents have complained before and got nowhere.
The second was from an RSPB worker in Northern Ireland. A while back I emailed him asking about the latest report of a poisoned red kite. Was he sure shooters were involved, I asked. After all, there are other people who might have cause to put down poison. But no, it seems he generally finds shooters and gamekeepers very helpful - but in this case the keeper is an oldfashioned sort who sees buzzards and kites as his enemies.
It only takes a few people like this to undo years of good work by the rest of us. The frustrating thing is, it's not our job to police them, we don't have the powers to do so - and yet we're the ones whose names get dragged through the dirt.