Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones: “The best times of my life have been working as a gamekeeper …”

Film star and devoted countryman Vinnie Jones was a guest speaker at the final Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust (GWT) Gamekeeping for Life conference earlier this month. The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star, and former professional footballer, spoke of his passion for gamekeeping and rural life and how he devotes most of…

Drama at the Rural Oscars

Rural businesses from across England and Wales were celebrated at the 12th annual Countryside Alliance Awards at the House of Lords two weeks ago — a happy event that took a sombre turn as the Westminster venue was sealed following a terror incident. As the ceremony drew to 
a close,…

countryside

Breaking news: Countryside Alliance refused charitable status

The Commission commented: “Certain purposes of the Alliance relate to preserving, protecting and promoting the heritage and practice of activities related to wildlife, the countryside and wildlife management including hunting, shooting and fishing together with the management of the natural environment; and the advancement of rural community life. “These do…

Man shooting semi auto

A victory for common sense over EU gun laws

These proposals have been under consideration and ongoing debate for more than two years and originally included changes criticised as unnecessarily restrictive. Plans to tighten European gun laws were made following the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in January 2015, but were brought forward by the European…

houses of parliament

Tories say STOP! to anti-shooting foundation

The chairman of the Conservative Party, the Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP, has told the anti-shooting Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) to stop using the party logo and to limit its operations. The CAWF drew criticism after it urged the Government to launch a review of the shooting of birds…

Roast pheasant

Roast pheasant – simply delicious

Sometimes the most simple way to cook a gamebird is the best — here is a mouthwatering recipe for roast pheasant – whole pheasants are seared in a pan before being roasted to burnished glory in the oven. Serves four. ROAST PHEASANT WITH PARSNIP CRISPS AND WATERCRESS  PREPARATION TIME: 10…

Fieldsports marquée

BBC bias against fieldsports could go unopposed

Changes to the BBC complaints procedure could lead to continued bias against fieldsports from its shows and presenters, say shooting groups. In the past year, the BBC has come under fire from the rural community several times. An October episode of Inside Out London presented a biased depiction of gamebird rearing that did not show best practice, presented…

Cogswell & Harrison shotgun

My favourite bit of shooting kit – by Tim Bonner

Tim chose his Cogswell & Harrison boxlock ejector, with 27 ½inch barrels, 2½ inch chambers – and weight 5¾lb. He explained: “My great-aunt Nancy Metcalfe-Gibson, a legendary sporting lady from Westmoreland, gave it to me when I was 15, over 30 years ago. She had inherited it from her mother,…

man shooting in field

Anti-shooting proposals in “Tory” group manifesto

The Countryside Alliance (CA) has called on the Conservative Party to distance itself from an animal welfare group that it says is “masquerading” as part of the party. The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, established last year, seeks “an inquiry into commercial driven shoots” and urges the Government to “commit to…

League Against Cruel Sports claims shooting industry to blame for bird flu outbreak

Eduardo Goncalves, LACS chief executive, said the outbreaks were “inevitable” because “the number of birds used by the shooting industry each year is a disaster waiting to happen. More pheasants and partridges are bred to be shot each year than the combined number of turkeys and duck killed for the table, but…

fresh game

Tips for freezing game

I’ve made a few mistakes freezing game in my time. The first mistake was made by not knowing if the frozen bag of pheasant was diced meat or just breast and legs. Obviously once defrosted I realised it was the wrong type and the meal plan had to be changed quickly.…

on grouse moor

How the grouse debate was won

More than two years of hard campaigning by those who wanted to see driven grouse shooting banned has ended in complete failure. Securing parliamentary time for their issue was more than the anti-shooting campaigners dared hope for when they launched their latest petition to ban driven grouse shooting, and their excitement was palpable. The activists’ hopes were dashed however when what seemed…

moorland grouse

RSPB officer attacks GWCT

Rural organisations are concerned that the RSPB considers itself to be “at war” with moorland managers, following a highly critical public presentation  by one of its senior officers. Speaking to the North of England Raptor Forum in November, RSPB senior upland policy officer Dr Pat Thompson said that certain groups,…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

HSBC logo

Shooting businesses denied services by HSBC

Having heard rumours that HSBC were declining services to shooting businesses, the Countryside Alliance researched the issue and discovered that at least one customer had been informed that shooting was considered a “prohibited sport” and as such services had been denied. The business in question had written to HSBC but…

BBC exterior

Countryside Alliance blasts BBC over “smear”

The Countryside Alliance has lodged a formal complaint about the BBC and accused the broadcaster of failing to adhere to its own guidelines following an episode of Inside Out London last month that explored pheasant and partridge rearing. Both the CA and BASC previously accused the BBC of “aligning itself with anti-shooting extremists” after using League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) footage in…

deerstalkers with deer

Lords pass “very helpful” changes to firearms laws

Shooting organisations have welcomed two improvements to firearms law passed last week by the House of Lords and adopted by the Government as amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill. The first of these changes permits an eight-week extension to the life of a firearms certificate so long as renewal documents were submitted eight weeks ahead of its expiry date.…

Game Terrine

Game Terrine

Ingredients selection of lean game meat, about 1kg/2¼lb in all, which could include: breasts of pheasant (hung about 5 days) breasts of pigeon breasts of duck or other wild fowl saddle and hindquarters of 1 rabbit, boned saddle and hindquarters of hare, boned lean strips of venison (from the leg…

fresh game

Hanging game birds

Old-time poachers knew the value of a well-hung pheasant – they also knew the harsh penalty for being caught in possession. Their answer was to dig a hole and hang their ill-gotten game from a stick placed across the entrance. Logs or a heavy stone slab were used to cover the hole and conceal the ripening game from foxes,…

firearms licensing

Key improvements to firearms law passed by the House of Lords today

The Government has amended the Bill to address firearm certificate renewals and expanding ammunition. The changes mean that expanding ammunition of the kind used for deer stalking moves back to Section 1; and if a renewal has been submitted in a timely fashion and the police have failed to determine…