A wish list for 2022, from tidying up the freezer, dealing with Wild Justice to tackling the venison market
No more raptor deaths
Get your gun serviced
Shooting Times contributor Graham Downing commented: “I recommend that people think about getting their guns checked out or serviced as soon as the season is over. It saves a lot of hassle and worry in August/September.
“So far as the wider world of fieldsports is concerned, I would like to see our associations really tackle the venison market. Unless game dealer prices are improved, we will never achieve the increased deer cull totals that are needed.” (Read Graham’s piece on why you should never eat roadkill here.)
Extension to steel shot deadline
Editor of Sporting Gun, Matt Clark replied to our question about New Year resolutions for shooters with:”What I would like to see happen this year is an extension to the five-year deadline to transfer to steel shot. If we have to abandon lead then let’s do it properly. We have already had a disrupted 18 months at the start of this arbitrary five-year time frame because of COVID. Cartridge manufacturers need more time to fully develop biodegradable cups that protect shotgun barrels against steel shot. The manufacturers have come a long way in a short time, but much more work needs to be done as we enter uncharted territory.” (Read Matt’s review of the Purdey Sporter here.)
Freezing game and venison
Barry Stoffell, Shooting Times contributor said: ” The only fieldsports-related resolution I have is a bit of a pipe-dream; I am resolved to raise my game (!) when it comes to chest freezer management… (Read our tips on freezing game and venison.)
“My hopes for the sector more broadly in 2022, I want to see more assured game meat on the shelves and being sold online. To drive the change we need to see in our sector, one resolution we can all make is to choose to support shoots that are registered for British Game Assurance, because these are the shoots that are doing their bit to protect the future of our community.”
More New Year resolutions for shooters
- Encourage more people to eat game. This is one of the most important ways we can support our sport and ensure its future. Cook game whenever you can and encourage people to try it when they’re shopping in supermarkets – after all, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Sainsburys all stock game so it’s readily available – and not expensive either.
- When you can, book yourself in for a shooting lesson. In fact, why not book a few. If you feel your shooting has been below par this season then it might be time to go back to basics, book some sessions with an instructor and see what is going wrong. It’s simple to slip into bad habits if they remain uncorrected and the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to change things. You’ll also be supporting your local shooting school and instructors.
- Visit the clay ground for some practice when it reopens. Don’t just hang up your gun over the summer, visit your nearest clay ground to keep your eye in. Or if you have room, why not set up a clay trap on your own land.
- Do a game cookery course. Eating what you shoot is all part of it. If you’re trying the same old recipes, it’s time to enlarge your repertoire – take a look at our game recipe section here with ideas from wonderful cooks such as Rose Prince and Cai Ap Brynn.
- If your shotgun certificate or firearms certificate is up for renewal in 2021 make sure you get it sorted in plenty of time. Allow 12 weeks before it expires for your new certificate to be processed.
- Don’t loiter on the way to your peg. Get to the peg, get loaded and get going. If the birds start to move before you are ready then it’s your fault.
- Show politeness to the beaters. Say hello and how are you as they emerge from the undergrowth and start back towards their vehicles. Don’t be one of those Guns who walks past beaters without a word.
- Don’t forget to tip correctly.
- Remember that we are the ambassadors of our sport so behave impeccably. Don’t post anything on social media that might show shooting in a bad light.
- Follow the shooting safety rules at all times.
- Make sure you have adequate shooting insurance. It’s always worth being a member of the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC), the Game & Wildlife Trust (GWCT) or another fieldsports organisation. If you have any legal queries they have experts on hand to help.
- Respond to all shooting invitations promptly.
- Our final in the list of New Year resolutions for shooters? Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for a day in the field and put your phone on silent.