Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and shooting has more than its fair share of characters. There are, however, occasions when the guns have not held back from poking fun at the shortsightedness, forgetfulness or eccentric habits of the hardy men and women driving the birds skywards for their benefit. After a failed drive guns can often turn into the ultimate back seat drivers on the subject of holding a straight line and producing a steady trickle of birds.

But this must end – there can be no room for independent thought, let alone criticism, in the shooting field. So the punishment for moaning about or offering advice to beating lines can be summed up thus; offenders must swap their place in the gun line for a place in the beating line. This would last for three seasons, while tied to Shooting Gazette’s very own defender of the beating line, Simon Mulholland. That should put a stop to all these unwelcome observations!

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