Blame it on the weatherman
This summer will surely be remembered for the weather. Having been to Belvoir Castle a couple of times since the CLA Game Fair was cancelled, the site has now dried out, but the scars are all too obvious. And that’s without the impact of lorries, cars and footfall.
While making the decision to pull the plug must have been tough because of the obligation that went with it, there would clearly have been no option. Having vacated its regular July slot to accommodate the Olympic Games and moving forward a week it seems unfair that the Olympics bagged all the sunshine (though admittedly the opening ceremony certainly deserved the very best weather that we could muster).
Nonetheless, it was encouraging to see alternative events being held at short notice over the Game Fair weekend at EJ Churchill, Royal Berkshire Shooting School, the Oxford Gun Company, Perio Mill and other venues. So not all was lost in the end.
Alas there was no such reprieve for wild grey partridges in a year which started with the biggest number of pairs since 1976. High brood losses will be inevitable. However, for grouse it will be an average, rather than a record year, which is clearly much better than feared. Perfectly acceptable in fact – particularly if a juicy invitation finds its way through your letterbox, email still surely not an option for a communication of this sort! (though dear reader, I would take no exception if email is your preference…).
The poor summer has impacted on our sport in other ways too. Game farmers have struggled to meet the challenges presented by deluges of rain and cold temperatures. As a result, there is likely to be a shortage of birds – moreover many shoots have struggled to establish cover crops. Consequently, sporting agents will have either fewer or smaller days to sell – though interestingly the predicted widespread closure of shoots hasn’t happened. Yes, some have gone but there are new or expanded shoots which will fill the gap.
But as the latest issue of Fieldsports sets out, there is much to look forward to, and every reason to remain positive.
I do hope you have been able to get a copy of our summer issue. We are particularly pleased with how it has come together, and hope you enjoy it.