The link between a hunter and his quarry isn't easy to convey in words alone, and yet it enthrals so many of us for nigh on a lifetime.
Respect, awe and fascination drive us to learn more about the birds and beasts we pursue. And as our understanding of them improves, so to do the odds of that magical tightening of a fly line, red letter pigeon days over decoys, wildfowl flighting within range on the foreshore – the list goes on... Greater knowledge means closer encounters and more success, but also the improved ability to help the species we hold so dear.
Still, it's a link difficult to sum up in a mere few paragraphs... But in a magazine bulging with fieldsports bliss? More manageable. Because the truth is, those who harbour the greatest passion for, knowledge of and affinity with our game and wildlife species, are invariably those who first came across them with a rod, rifle or gun in their hands.
The Atlantic salmon is a fitting example, widely revered by fly fishermen across the globe who are now striving to understand and reverse its decline, protecting it for generations to come.
Hence why our silver tourists take centre stage in this very issue, and set the tone for another belter of a magazine. In and amongst the reams of game shooting, fly fishing, stalking, gundog, and food and drink content, we explore the special relationship between man and his quarry: the deep-seated connection which compels us to understand, protect, conserve and hunt the species which fascinate us so much...
Quotes from this issue...
“We all have our opinions on who is the main suspect... But the simple matter is that we don't have enough data to give us a full picture and to back up our assertions.” – Earl George Percy discusses the importance of improving our understanding of the Atlantic salmon's decline.
“Steadiness weaves its way through almost every aspect of gundog training. Indeed, an unsteady dog can be extremely hard work and prove more of a hindrance than an asset.” Ben Randall offers his advice on raising a rock-steady gundog for the shooting field.
“Any shooting you do, whether it is at clays, pigeons or game, will ultimately translate into poor muscle memory.” – How to make trips to the clay ground relevant to game shooting, with Simon Ward.
“Before you make the cast, consciously drop your shoulders. I fond that this simple act helps to forcefully calm me a little.” – Toby Coe offers his five top tips for catching more trout.
“The day following the ceremony in Ramnagar, we made front-page news on over 70 newspapers including The Times of India, the nation's largest national daily...” – The recent return of Jim Corbett's .275 Rigby rifle to India, and the very places where he dispatched man-eating tigers and leopards.
“First, they are all passionate about their shoot. For the judges, it's not about how much money or resource you throw at a project, it's the thought, time and passion that goes into making it happen.” – Tim Furbank looks at the things that all Purdey Award-winning shoots have in common.
"I began an almost Elysian journey through sweeping ancient parkland, and past immaculately kept buildings...” – David Egan takes a step back in time and joins a team of Guns at Arbury Hall, a hidden gem in Warwickshire.
“The going was hard underfoot, we were in beautiful wild country, and there were no paths and no way of getting a carcase off the hill except in a backpack...” – Steve Rawsthorne goes in pursuit of elusive and wily sika deer in the wilderness of County Kerry.
“I'd successfully managed to satay a partridge back in December and now decided to try my luck with 5kg of goose.” – Sarah Monier-Williams on a delicious way to use up any leftover game in the freezer...