Sunday 31 October 2010

Shot a fox

Nobody told the fox that the hour had changed, so he was following his usual routine and appeared about 6.50 GMT. The plan was to call him in across the field to my front, and I was all set up to take a good steady shot. I called a couple of times, and saw nothing - then suddenly there he was, almost at my feet, looking up as if to say "what's a dying rabbit doing up there?" I adjusted my position as quietly as possible, and took the shot as he stared up at me, trying to work it all out. At such close range the .17HMR knocked him flat with no trouble. He was a biggish adult dog, not one of this year's cubs, and in excellent condition.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Biodiversity and terrorism

Delingpole puts it so well: Biodiversity, "a noble-seeming concept has been subverted by the watermelons of the green movement in exactly the same way as “Climate change” has and with precisely the same aims: to extend the powers of government; to raise taxes; to weaken the capitalist system; to curtail personal freedom; to redistribute income; to bring ever-closer the advent of an eco-fascist New World Order."

Precisely. Just as we hear shouts of "terrorism" and "paedophiles" each time there's a new attack on personal freedom, so "biodiversity" is invoked by those who really mean "we're taking over your land". Folks like the RSPB start by saying wildlife belongs to "the nation", and five minutes later are claiming it for themselves - they're the experts after all? - and demanding wider and wider powers from government to help them do it. Wake up people, there's a revolution going on!

Update: Taking the argument to its logical conclusion, the League Against Cruel Sports are now arguing that shooters are getting a "free lunch" out of the nation's wildlife, and should be stopped.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Is the RSPCA bullying vets?

Here's an alarming report (on a transparently anti-RSPCA blog) suggesting that the RSPCA is deliberately intimidating vets who dare to stand up as expert witnesses against them in court cases. I hope it's not true, but on past performance I have to say it sounds very much in character with this organisation, which seems to have forgotten its primary purpose of looking after animals and now prefers to march around in uniforms intimidating people.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Who shot the Exmoor Emperor?

Every now and then, a shooting-related story hits all the right buttons and explodes across the media - the shooting of Emperor, the huge red stag on Exmoor, is such a tale. The papers are full of the story, told in breathless, horrified tones. The Daily Mirror tops the lot, with the headline "Britain's biggest wild animal, the legendary 9ft red deer known as Emperor, is shot dead by vile trophy hunters" - illustrated with a photo of a man with an over-and-under shotgun!

So what really happened? And is it cause for alarm? The facts are sketchy, to say the least. It seems likely (but not certain) that this particular stag, familiar to local residents and wildlife enthusiasts, has been shot. Reading between the lines, it would appear the stag was shot legally, perhaps by a paying guest stalker, perhaps a visiting 'trophy hunter'. The decision to shoot that animal at that time may or may not have been a good one in terms of herd management; I don't suppose we'll ever know, and in any case deer 'experts' could debate that one for weeks.

The story seems to have reached the papers via Richard Austin, a wildlife photographer who photographed the stag earlier this month [following the TV news later, I learnt he is a staffer on the Western Morning News, and enjoys wildlife photography in his spare time]. He was contacted by a 'local naturalist' who had come across a 'a group of stalkers' standing over the carcass (who nevertheless weren't the ones that shot it). They watched as the carcass was removed. [Actually that doesn't quite ring true does it? I suspect the 'naturalist' heard shots, went to see what it was all about, and came across the stalkers in the process of gralloching and recovering the carcass].

Richard Austin then provided the story and his photos to a local paper [or as seems more likely, rushed back to the office with his scoop], which contacted Peter Donnelly, "a Dulverton based deer management expert with a lifetime’s experience" [we now know that Austin and Donnelly knew each other from previous stories on this particular stag]. Donnelly clearly has a bee in his bonnet about the deer seasons, because he took the opportunity to have a proper rant: "It’s a disgrace that this magnificent animal has been shot at this time because it could be that he didn’t get a chance to rut properly this year - therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round. The poor things should be left alone during the rut - not harried from pillar to post."

This story then got picked up by the national press, radio and TV, as these things do. Most of the journalists have taken the whole thing at face value, and rehashed the story with their own paper's spin on it. A few have bothered to look for further quotes and information to pad out their story, mostly completely failing to understand what they're told and writing utter rot as a result.

The whole thing has dragged out the usual hysterical comments such as: "Don't you just love the way these sad pathetic creatures who call themselves hunters, take guns, because it makes them feel like big men, they then hide in the bushes until defenceless creatures wander along so they can blast away at them."

Before long antis like the League Against Cruel Sports will jump on the bandwagon and demand an end to this 'sick sport' which 'has no place in the 21st century' and should 'be consigned to the dustbin of history along with cockfighting, bullfighting and badger-baiting' and the cycle will be complete. Then the papers will find something else to be outraged about - the antics of a footballer perhaps - and we can all get back to business as usual, except that Richard Austin's wildlife photography business will have received a welcome boost. [I think I was being unkind to him; watching him interviewed on TV, I don't think he did it for the money or the notoriety - he genuinely seems to care about the deer, perhaps in a slightly romanticised way, and it's the other players in the story who have hammed it up for the cameras].

So it goes.

UPDATE: I hear Mike Yardley did a good job of explaining the need for deer management on the Jeremy Vine radio show. It should be available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer shortly here. Mike's bit comes just past the halfway mark.

UPDATE: Excellent piece published on the Guardian website of all places, by BASC's Glynn Evans, here.

UPDATE: I've added some notes in square brackets as more information comes to light. Now, 24 hours later, the news is full of airport security, the Indonesian tsunami, an air-sea rescue off the Scillies, etc, etc. The Emperor is forgotten, save for a few follow-up pieces that will appear over the next few days. As a passing comment, once again I was impressed with the speed and professionalism of BASC's response - they're getting good at responding to media stories like this. Jamie Stewart, in partcular, strikes just the right note - knowledgeable, caring, and most importantly not an 'arrogant posh bloke' of the type that was a gift to the antis at the time of the Hunting Bill.

I hope, in time, BASC and perhaps others will become more proactive - one thing this incident showed is that the media loves a good animal story, regardless of the facts. It shouldn't be impossible to start creating the odd 'Hunters save Bambi', 'Pigeon shooters foil bank robbers', etc.

Oh, and if you don't mind a bit of swearing, you may like this robust take on the story by Bill O'Rites...

UPDATE: Locals "smell a rat" - according to this story in the Guardian, the stag may still be alive and kicking. Either way, it was/is a long way from living up to the claim of "biggest land mammal in the UK". Meanwhile, North Devon's hotels and B&Bs are enjoying a welcome boost from journalists and tv crews sent to find "Who shot Emperor". I took a call from a Guardian journalist this morning, asking me to explain "what people get from deer stalking". I dread to think what he'll write!

Talking of the Guardian, for a worryingly strange view of hunters and hunting, Ruaridh Nicoll takes some beating. " I am not against shooting, even if I have lost my hunger for it," he says, then goes on to explain it's the motivation of hunters that worries him: "The instinct that makes a man kill a creature like the Emperor, I have always believed, rises from inadequacy." He goes on to retell the apocryphal tale of the American hunter in Africa who would shoot an animal, have his wife lie on it and have sex with her - a story that sounds less likely every time I hear it. I have no time for people who have no idea why people shoot, and fill that vacuum with twisted ideas dreamed up inside their own heads.

UPDATE: Bloody hell - Chris Packham defending shooting on Autumnwatch - whatever next?! Audio here:

Saturday 23 October 2010

A great day's pigeon shooting

For our Christmas issue's pigeon shooting feature, I went out yesterday with Andy Crow, a farm manager on the Kent/Surrey border. His job leaves him plenty of spare time through the winter to shoot pigeons - which is a good thing because if he didn't, there wouldn't be much oilseed rape come harvest time.

We set up on a field of fodder maize stubble in the early mist. Andy doesn't believe in tucking his hide away in a hedge under a tree - he planted this one smack bang in the middle of the field. Using hazel branches cut from the wood, he disguised it as a bush.

Then he rigged up his decoy pattern, using his home made cradles and about a dozen dead birds from the chiller - no plastic decoys for him.

Add a whirly, connect it up, and retire back to our 'bush hide' to await developments. In no time at all, the mist had lifted to reveal a lovely blue sky - and the birds were piling in.

Having taken a few 'in the hide' photos, I switched to trying to capture the moment a pigeon was hit - not an easy task! I was pleased with this one...

And this one is interesting - zoom in and you can see the pattern just ahead of the bird. A fraction of a second later the two had collided, and the bird was dead in mid air.

Andy kindly handed me his gun for a while and, after a few embarrassing misses, I managed to kill 14 or 15 birds, including a couple of nice long shots. When we cleared up at the end of the day, the total was 147. Out of the 'brick' of 250 cartridges we had 53 left, which gives a pretty impressive ratio of 3 birds for every 4 shots.

It was a very enjoyable day, and Andy was great company. I hope to be going out with him again soon - and you can read all about our trip, together with his methods and tips, in the Christmas issue.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Into the lions' den

I've been drawing fire over at the Raptor Politics blog (scroll down to the comments section) - a habitat frequented by what might be described as the Provisional Wing of the RSPB.

Mention the word "gamekeeper" and these people start frothing at the mouth. In their minds, keepers are responsible for anything that goes wrong with any bird of prey anywhere. Even the ones eaten by eagle owls on the RSPB's own CCTV!

Now, we all know there are some unreconstructed old buggers who do still think anything with a hooked beak is "vermin". I've met one or two. Literally one or two, in 30 years of working in shooting journalism. And yes, some grouse moor owners are greedy wossnames who care only about how many millions their moor will fetch when it's sold - and they're not a great example of shooting's contribution to conservation.

But this lot, encouraged by years of campaigning by the likes of the RSPB, think every keeper, every shooting estate, is slaughtering birds of prey on an industrial scale. And they're blind to the huge environmental benefits of shooting across the UK.

I was encouraged by the comments of one Mike Groves, who says he is working with "several law abiding estates in the East of Scotland monitoring Merlin, Short-eared Owl and a wealth of other raptors. I am welcomed onto these estates and keepers are keen to pass on raptor sightings." All good stuff; it's interesting that it took some time before he felt able to stick his head above the parapet on a birding blog, such is the resistance to anything positive about keepers among these people.

Most of all, though, the whole experience left me thinking, surely we should have created a better overall impression than this? And are we (via our organisations or individually) doing enough even now to turn the tide?

Animal Aid urges malicious complaints

A new guide published by animal rights extremists Animal Aid urges members of the public to make malicious complaints to police about legitimate shooting activities.

How to Oppose Shooting, a Practical Guide [pdf] is lauded as "probably the most comprehensive practical guide to ‘gamebird’ shooting and the problems it presents to people living in the vicinity of shoots" on the group's website.

It downloads as a turgid 41-page A4 document which comprehensively describes some forms of shooting in the UK, and summarises the law surrounding them. The choice of photographs is misrepresentative and emotive - unhealthy-looking birds in cramped cages. Slipped into the innocuous descriptive passages are suggestions that people might find the shoot worrying, and should call the police - advice designed to engineer a potentially dangerous confrontation between shooters and armed police.

The 'guide' goes on to suggest that people who are anti-shooting should stir up trouble for shoots by snitching to the VAT office, regardless of whether there is any reason to suspect wrongdoing. At the end of the document are standardised letters where a troublemaker can simply fill in the name of a shoot and post it off.

Sadly for the antis, most readers will have fallen asleep with boredom by the time they reach that bit. Pretty much the sort of thing we've come to expect from Kit Davidson and his chums, then - boring, devious, ineffective and malicious in its intent.

It does, however, provide a useful insight into the way these people think, and the chinks in our armour that they think they've spotted.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Seal 'corkscrew' deaths update

The Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews has released its preliminary findings of investigations into the causes of the recent spate of 'corkscrew' injuries to seals. There's a detailed pdf you can download here.

I'm not going to get all smug and say 'I told you so', but their findings point to some sort of ducted propeller system on ships operating in shallow coastal waters. They say they have eliminated most other possibilities include the effects of fisheries, deliberate killing, the effects of illegal traps and predation by killer whales or sharks.

I suppose the challenge now is to find the ship(s) responsible and get some sort of guard fitted pronto.

UPDATE: Despite a TV documentary suggesting it's Greenland sharks, the shark scientists themselves say it's ducted propellers - see here. It's beginning to look as if it's ultimately the stampede for useless windfarms that has caused these seal deaths. The eco-loonys have a lot to answer for, but it will be years before we understand the full extent of the damage they are doing.

Ireland bans poisons

Credit where it's due, I saw this story on the Raptor Politics blog. Ireland has banned poisons for pest control, other than the regular rat and mouse baits. Story in the Irish Independent here.

Not surprisingly this is being hailed as a victory, not just for Ireland's birds of prey but also for Scotland - much of the poison used illegally in Scotland comes across the water. Raptor Politics is hopeful that supplies will eventually dry up, although I somehow doubt it will have any noticeable effect in the foreseeable future. Apart from anything else, anyone keen to kill birds of prey illegally will find a way.

Monday 18 October 2010

The price of being labelled non-native is... death

The RSPB can be very unsentimental at times. Next year it plans to spend £1.7million killing rats for being non-native and threatening biodiversity on a remote Pacific island. The rats, you see, were brought there by sailors (well their ancestors were) so they've no right to be there. And they are eating 25,000 seabird chicks "alive" annually (perhaps they could be forgiven if they euthanased their prey humanely first). The rats' nefarious behaviour (eating to stay alive) is threatening the Henderson petrel, found nowhere else in the world. So they must die. Every last one of them.

It's ok cos they're just rats, and it's a long way away. Just try the same argument with eagle owls in the uk and you get a very different response, as Mark Avery discovered recently. One rule for the cute 'n cuddly...

Meanwhile, back home, Scottish gamekeepers are getting a kicking in the Guardian today, after a "study" by bird of prey experts estimates that only 1% of the "naturally occurring number" of hen harriers are breeding successfully on the UK's grouse moors. It's all based on a figure plucked out of the air for how many harriers "should" be living on Britain's grouse moors. Strangely, no figure is given for the number of harriers, etc, etc, that "should" be living on the RSPB's reserves.

Oh, and entirely coincidentally, these revelations appear just as Scottish ministers are considering proposals for "licensing grouse moors" and making owners liable for "persecution" of birds of prey by gamekeepers. Cos that would help wouldn't it? I cannot believe the RSPB honestly think the measures they're suggesting will "save" a single bird of prey.

Still, that's not the point. All this spin and lobbying has little to do with harriers, and a lot to do with gaining power over more and more money and land. And of course they get the full support of a significant number of Scots who would like to see foreign landowners exterminated, like non-native rats.

Still ferreting at 90

Great film this - hope I'm still ferreting at 90 years old!

And if you like that one, check out Tamar Tale from the same filmmaker.

Sunday 17 October 2010

I have seen the future... least, I've seen the products that are going to get shooters excited in the near future - and there's some seriously good stuff coming our way.

I've been at the Tackle & Guns Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, where the gun trade shows off its wares to gun shops and retailers. The stuff on show here will be in the shops soon - some of it in time for Christmas.

I'm not generally one to get all hot under the collar about some shiny new bit of kit. I'm more likely to be enthused by some old trick with a hazel stick and a piece of string.

But how could you not be excited about a new hand-held thermal imager from Thomas Jacks? This is the stuff of science fiction and SAS novels - but now an estate with £5,000 to spend can have a gadget which will show up a warm body on a cold hill (fox, poacher, you name it), without any need for lights or lasers. Indeed, if you can scrape together a cool £15,000 you can have a super-duper version which until recently would have been the envy of our special forces (nowadays they have even better stuff - we'll have to wait a bit longer for that!).

And that's not all. Deben were showing a range of new generation lamping gear, based on LED technology. Combined with their superb lithium ion batteries, these lamps really are going to change night-time rabbiting and foxing for good.

Then there's the brilliant Nitewatch range of watches, and their clever glow rings. Plus Fjallraven will be offering a range of hunting clothing in the UK. I'm quite a fan of their gear, even though it's 'old' technology (polyester/cotton and wax, rather than some fancy modern fabric). Fact is, it's hardwearing, it works, and it's comfortable in all kinds of situations.

Other highlights? Well, there's a few things I'm not allowed to mention, but I can tell you about this clever Blaser F3 try-gun, which Rupert Haynes was showing on the Open Season stand. It's the modern version of the old try-gun you might have seen at a shooting school - but this one has all the measurements built-in - so once your instructor has got the fit right, you can just read off the measurements; no need to get the measuring sticks out. A brilliant bit of kit which will make gun-fitting quicker, easier and more accurate.

Saturday 16 October 2010

Countryside Alliance Crew

To quote Jeremy Clarkson, I went on the internet and I found this...

I don't suppose the Countryside Alliance are thrilled at the use of their name - and the Crew themselves say plainly "the CAC have bugger all to do with the Countryside Alliance". Still, it gave me a laugh. This one's worth a listen too:

Winterising the ferrets

I've been adding some insulation to the ferrets' hutch, in preparation for the colder weather. I haven't tried this stuff before, but it looks good - it's sold as loft insulation, and it consists of a kind of bubble wrap with plasticised foil on both sides. I've put a double layer around the ferrets' sleeping box, and also wrapped it round the water bottles in an attempt to stop them freezing.

It seems like amazing stuff - should come in handy for all sorts of other things too, like a groundsheet in a tent, and a reflector for photography. There's still plenty left on the £10 roll I bought, so I'll give it a try. The only likely problem I can see is if it doesn't stand up well to the weather. It feels robust enough, but plastic can degrade quickly in sunlight. We'll see.

Monday 11 October 2010

Watch out, Avery's aiming at pheasants

It pays to keep an eye on the blog of RSPB conservation director Mark Avery. When he innocently muses about some aspect of shooting, it probably means "Oo, I've just thought of another way to attack shooters."

Back in July 2009 he blogged about his rising concern about lead residues in game meat. By October that year, he was stirring up seven shades of you-know-what by writing to Defra, with a particularly weaselly letter - resulting in the formation of the Lead Ammunition Group.

Now he's running a new one up the flagpole: pheasants as a 'non-native' species. "I wonder how much the increase in some predator numbers is fuelled by this meat bonanza?" he asks disingenuously, taking a swipe at "big-shoot days where huge numbers of pheasants are released" while he's at it. (Actually the GWCT already has the answers to most of his questions).

I find the whole native/non-native species argument a ridiculous nonsense anyway. Who's to say which species 'deserve' to be here in the UK, based on whose assessment of which politically-correct moment in history we had the 'perfect' balance of wildlife? And how can this possibly be relevant to a landscape shaped by man since history began? Far too often the definition of 'native' or 'non-native' seems designed to support one organisation's point of view - the latest row over eagle owls is a case in point.

But leaving all that aside, what really bothers me is what devious new attack on shooting Avery is cooking up.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Another Commonwealth gold for our shooters

England's shooters are really doing rather well in Delhi. Following our earlier successes, now Aaron Heading has taken gold in the men's single trap. Report in the Telegraph here.

A scientist told me, so it must be true

'Science' is pulled out with a flourish like a trump card by people telling me things I find hard to believe. Like killing badgers won't help beat TB. Or spiralling raptor numbers are no threat to anything. Or we're all doomed, the planet is going to burst into flames and it's all my fault because I eat meat.

But if the scientists say so, I suppose it must be true.

Except, it seems that the 'consensus' on Global Warming is no such thing. One of America's leading physicists has resigned, calling the whole thing a scam. He goes further. It is, he says: "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist".

Someone should tell the RSPB. They've done very nicely thank you out of the climate change scam for years. If it's all about to come unravelled, they should start looking for another bandwagon.

Friday 8 October 2010

Can I have my vote back please?

Oh dear! It seems my local MP Dominic Raab and his chums are the driving force behind the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group (whose website's main argument against repealing the Act seems to be that it would bring back hare coursing). Local Conservative Association chairman Chris Platt and his wife Lorraine apparently founded the group. Worse still, at the party conference Dominic shared a platform with Douglas Batchelor of the League Against Cruel Sports. To think I voted for Raab because he said he supported shooting!

In fact, I dug out the email conversation from January. I wrote to Raab saying:

"...I wonder if you could take a moment to clarify your position on shooting and other "field sports". As a lifelong shooter, and someone who earns a living editing a shooting magazine, I would hate to vote for an anti!"

And he replied:
"Thanks for your email. I support shooting sports conducted according to the relevant codes of practice. The Party has given various disciplines of the sport backing in recent years, including setting out plans to amend the law to ensure that all competitive target pistol shooters can train and compete in this country.
I hope that gives you the reassurance you are looking for!
Best wishes,
...which doesn't sound to me like "I'm a huge fan of the League Against Cruel Sports and plan to support their campaign to retain the Hunting Act." But then I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to politics.

Well done Abbey & Anita!

England's Abbey Burton and Anita North have won silver in the women's trap pairs at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi; they were two points behind the Australian pair, and one ahead of the Canadians.

Full marks to the Daily Mail for reporting their success, and resisting any temptation to take a snide dig at shooting - except they illustrated the piece on their website with a photo of a .22LR target rifle, captioned "Happiness is a warm gun"! Someone in their picture department needs to brush up on their shooting knowledge. (They updated the page later with a photo of the winning trapshooters)

Do you think the TV coverage of shooting at the Commonwealth Games has been rubbish? If so, you're not alone - and Nicky from Oxford Gun has set up a Facebook group called Fair coverage for Clay Shooting on TV to campaign for an improvement. She wants shooters to follow her lead and email the BBC and ITV to demand proper coverage for shooting. "Quite frankly I don't care that swimmers have got diarrhoea issues," she writes. "You may have issues with Clay Shooting as a sport but there are thousands of people out there who would like to know their progress."

Hear hear!

Thursday 7 October 2010

Grouse shooter likes hen harriers shock horror!

Of course it will be dismissed as lies, conspiracy and goodness knows what else by the raptor nutters, but gallowayfarm - a blog I always enjoy - has a post about the hen harriers sharing his patch. He's happy to let them take a grouse or three; not so accommodating with the crows and foxes.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

How to catch a hare

Here's a little gem from a recent visit to foxshooter Robert Bucknell - he describes an old poachers' way of catching a hare, with just your coat and a stick. Just click the play button to listen...

How to catch a hare by jamesmarchington

England's shooters win Commonwealth gold

Congratulations to Steve Scott and Stevan Walton, gold medallists in the men's Double Trap pairs at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. James Huckle and Kenny Parr took silver in the men's pairs 10m air rifle, and Huckle went on to win bronze in the men's individual air rifle event. The Daily Telegraph reports here.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Moral dilemma

Chad Love, over at the strangely titled Mallard of Discontent blog, tells the story of a badly injured doe, with two fawns, that visited his feeder. Should he put the doe out of her misery, condemning the fawns to certain death? Or should he prolong her agony, in the hope the fawns might survive to adulthood?

Should we, as shooters, ever intervene in such things just because we can, because we think we know best - or should we 'leave nature alone' to conclude matters in her own, cruel, way? Since it's often man that created the problem in some way (traffic accidents and the like are an obvious example), is it our duty to try to set things right? Can we ever know what 'right' really is? Wildlife filmmakers and war reporters sometimes face similar impossible decisions.

Difficult choices, but choices that stalkers, keepers and shooters face all the time. And sometimes the outcome is very different to what we might have predicted - read Chad's story and you'll see what I mean.

Fox killing on the BBC

Refreshing to see Countryfile taking a pragmatic look at foxes in town and country. Perhaps they've been reading Robert Bucknell's excellent piece in our October issue. Catch the Countryfile programme on iPlayer here for the next few days - drag the playhead to 09:50 to jump straight in to the fox segment.

Minister recognises shooting's contribution to conservation

Defra minister Jim Paice and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, chairman of the all-party
parliamentary group for shooting and conservation, at the Rural Reception. Photo: BASC

“What you represent here is the Big Society in action. We don’t go out in the countryside just to pull the trigger or float a fly; we are out there day in, day out working for conservation.”

So says Jim Paice, Defra minister, speaking at the Conservative party conference. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for shooting and conservation, added that everyone who shoots or fishes should encourage others to come out into the countryside to find out the real story of what goes on.

At a time when the likes of the RSPB are spending untold thousands of pounds on lobbying bleating about the terrible damage spending cuts could do to the environment, it's good to see ministers recognise that shooters and anglers are getting on with the job, spending their own hard-earned cash doing practical conservation work - and BASC are doing a great job of promoting the fact.

Monday 4 October 2010

Zoom Q3HD - I want one!

Is this the journo-gadget I've been waiting for? I've tried all kinds of handheld gadgets for interviewing. You can have super audio quality from something like the Marantz PMD620, or ease of use from the Flip series, or reasonable video with the Sanyo Xacti series. In the last post, I had a lot of fun with the Sony Bloggie.

But all of the cameras suffer from audio that is, frankly, awful. And to my mind, the audio quality is at least as important as the video, often more important - especially for use on the web. I was tempted when I saw the Zoom Q3 - but, honestly, 640 x 480 video?

Now I see Zoom have come up with the Zoom Q3HD - basically a quality audio recorder with a respectable HD video camera built in. It sounds like the ideal combination - the sort of thing I could slip in a pocket and go round a game fair or a shoot, interviewing and blogging to my heart's content.

I haven't seen a price yet, but the Q3 was a very reasonable £160 or so. If the Q3HD is in the same area, I'll be sorely tempted.

UPDATE: Zoom UK Distribution tell me the Q3HD should arrive in the UK some time in November, and the price will be around £200-£230.