Not much highlights the relentless passing of time like the end of another game shooting season. It seems hardly a fortnight ago that we were digging out moleskins and breeks from the back of the wardrobe with a flutter of excitement and anticipation for the first day of the season. And yet here we are on the other side of January, slowly nearing spring with (hopefully) a gamebook full of memories made in the meantime.
Because that's what it's all about, really, making memories. Our country sports afford us special experiences that will stay with us long after any outlay in terms of money or effort have paled into insignificance.
So this is exactly what we set out to showcase in our new issue of Fieldsports; just how good we've got it, whether you're an angler, game Shot, rifle shooter, all three, or simply love the country way of life and all that it entails.
In our February/March issue, we celebrate all that we have to be grateful for, and must strive to conserve and protect for the future – both in the UK and further afield. We urge you to join us!
Quotes from this issue...
“This was 'Three of the best': one day showcasing three of the finest shooting estates in the county...” – Patrick Tillard joins a crack-Shot team of Guns in Yorkshire for a shoot day with a difference.
“And that is exactly why I love to paint; it is a form of escapism, it takes me to these places that I so love. I lose myself in them completely...” – Marcus Janssen meets sporting artist Glyn Rushworth.
“Intense pressure on land use worries me, as does our community's habit of making assumptions as to how the wider world sees us.” – Simon Hart MP talks country sports and politics.
“This does, however, raise the question: when is a bird 'too low' or 'too easy' and what factors should we consider before raising our gun?” – George Padley considers the subjective topic of shot selection.
“And though I may never shoot another alpine ibex, the memory of this spectacular hunt, in these majestic surroundings, is enough to last me a lifetime.” – Simon K. Barr reflects on a hunt in the Swiss Alps that he will never forget.
“Henry went out in pursuit of game or vermin on an almost daily basis throughout the year. His diary for 1901 provides a fascinating insight into the world of a wealthy landed gentleman...” – David S. D. Jones leafs through the 1901 diary of West Country sportsman Henry Grey Thornton.
“When the truly wild birds do come out over the Guns it's quite a sight to see them stand on their tails and go for the heavens.” – A return to Rotherfield Park in Hampshire was well worth the wait for Rupert Godfrey.
“Driven boar shooting can certainly bring your quarry close to you, and provides the perfect opportunity to use these wonderful vintage artifacts to good effect.” – Derek Stimpson on shooting driven boar with a classic English double rifle.
“... the time spent creeping, crawling and sliding into position, the moral dilemma (in my head) over whether I was or wasn't really a vegetarian after all... all gone!” – Sarah Grant on why she has become immersed in the world of deer stalking.
“I have concluded that the best way to provide my children with a solid sporting foundation is through regular trips to Scottish lodges.” – Charlie Brownlow argues that Scottish sporting holidays are the perfect foundation for giving children the country sports bug.
“There were rules that, if broken, would render the perpetrator instantly disqualified. You were allowed the use of a gun, rod, rifle, dogs and a vehicle...” – After a 25-year hiatus, a competitive rivalry between sibling is about to return to the wilds of Northumberland, as Lord James Percy explains.
“It can be relatively easy, or there can be exposed crossings, snow and avalanche risk. You can die chasing these creatures. Many have.” – Peter Ryan on why hunting Himalayan tahr is not for the faint-hearted.
“Hunting can be hugely beneficial for some horses; teaching them manners, self-awareness over big hedges, and giving them a change of scenery...” – Camilla Swift highlights the common ground between National Hunt Racing and hunting.
“Almost immediately, big bohar snapper, trevally and other reef critters came in as if from nowhere. What ensued was virtual pandemonium.” – Toby Coe heads to French Polynesia to explore a remote and unknown atoll...
“Lo and behold, within a few seconds the eagle had grabbed the fox and lifted it some six or seven feet into the air.” – The remarkable story of Peter Fraser's very first fox.