Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Armed and dangerous

A bunch of tweed-clad people with shotguns and gundogs on privately owned farmland are more likely shooting pheasants than training to be terrorists. We know that, but judging by several recent over-reactions the police don't - so BASC has updated its Police Officers' Guide to Shooters. You can download a copy here.

Let's hope the police actually read it. Perhaps while they're at it they could consult the Police Officers' Guide to Spotty Well Meaning Students, which could avoid problems like this one (presumably paid for out of my taxes).

I'm not anti-police, far from it. But I can't help feeling there's a wider problem here than just an inability to tell a shooter from a terrorist.


Sooty said...

Hi Jamesm,been looking at some of your blogs,some quite amusing,feel the same about rear windscreen,seems lots of us from different pastimes have similar problems.Hate this class business I am more peasant but meet lots of really well to do people who are really nice.Find myself agreeing with you on several things and disagreeing in equal measure,normal I suppose.Interesting about songbirds trapping have you any figures.Couldn't understand the Mink thoughts,surely even shooters want them eradicated as when on holiday the hosts Ducks completely wiped out.Don't like shooting but find your stance on raptors means I am much more tolerant so assume that stance must work.

James Marchington said...

Hi Sooty - and welcome! Yes, we're all much the same really, facing the same daily grind, and none of us chose where we came from. I've met some lovely people, and some truly unpleasant ones, from all walks of life - shooters included.
As for the mink, I suppose I'm playing devil's advocate, but I was trying to highlight our contradictory attitude to different predators. Some we're happy to give a huge amount of leeway, others we won't tolerate. Sparrowhawks v mink are perhaps a better example.
It's an idea that's explored in Tooth & Claw - a fascinating book which takes a neutral standpoint and has some of the best wildlife photography I've ever seen.
Shooting is very broad, of course; there's a lot more to it than driven pheasants. In the next issue of the magazine I'm launching a campaign to encourage shoots to do more for wildlife, during the 2010 Year of Biodiversity, and to better publicise what they do - I hope to get pictures and stories through the year of shoots putting up barn owl boxes, creating ponds, planting hedgerows etc.