Whether your favourite shoot is big or small, and whether you’re there with shotgun, beaters’ flag or dog lead in hand, we can all agree our sport means the world to us partly because of the people we’re with season in season out. Think of the all of the friends we have made through shooting over the years, the days we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made together. I daresay you’d be able to recount in a flash your first ever bird on your first ever day and the person responsible for introducing you to the sport you love. People are everything in shooting, and I’m sure there are people for whom you’d do anything, especially when they’re not at their best.

I’d like to think we don’t shy away from talking about difficult issues at Shooting Gazette, and this month Helena Venables has written a full and detailed account about why none of us should be afraid to open up about any mental health issues we might be suffering with. It’s not a taboo subject in society anymore and it shouldn’t be in shooting either. Yes, we’ve all been brought up on the notion of the stiff upper lip, but that will only hold for so long when you’re down and thank goodness our sport is gaining the confidence to talk about the issues that affect us, whatever role shooting plays in our lives. It is essential reading and I commend it to you.

Elsewhere in the issue, Sir Ian Botham shares his love for shooting, explains why he is proud to campaign on its behalf and even what changes he’d make at the RSPB. We’re also in discussion with Peter Sant from Farlows about how to dress for a day in the field, meeting the man responsible for putting Gurston Down on the map and there’s even room for Jeremy Hobson to muse about another British obsession: the weather. We hope you enjoy the issue.

Martin Puddifer, editor