Thursday 31 January 2008

Suburban Bushwacker: Who? What? Why?

On Sunday I'm taking someone ferreting. He's called Sten. He works in an office, lives in the suburbs of London, and knows virtually nothing of shooting, ferrets and rabbits. I met him through his blog, called Suburban Bushwacker, and was interested in what he was trying to do.

So what's the 'Suburban Bushwacker' all about then? Well, I always thought that a bushwhacker was some sort of Aussie highwayman. Seems it's more of a hillbilly type of character, which I'm sure Sten wouldn't have a problem with.

In his own words, he wants to "wake from my comfortable homeostasis, rediscover my physical self and embark on the adventure of reconnecting with the natural world."

His ultimate aim is to kill an elk with a bow, then skin, butcher and cook it himself. Plus he fancies using the hide as a bedspread, but we won't go there.

What really interests me is that Sten represents a new type of person coming into hunting, shooting and the countryside. Call them the urban bushcrafters if you like; they are the folks who have seen Ray Mears, Bear Grylls and Hugh Fearnley-Whatnot on the telly, and felt something stir inside.

In shooting, we are all keen to encourage youngsters to take up shooting. And quite right too - they are our sport's future. But let's not forget people like Sten. There are a lot of them about, they are keen to learn about the countryside, and they have a healthy, practical approach to the flora and fauna - not least that they like to eat it.

And the message they get from the countryside is... Welcome? or Gerrof my land?

So I've decided to help Sten find out about rabbiting, shooting and the rest. Along the way, I hope to discover what we look like from the outside. And what we could do to help and encourage people like him to get into the sport we love.

Follow our progress on this blog and his - and feel free to chip in with suggestions and comments along the way.

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