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New Year resolutions for shooters in 2022

A wish list for 2022, from tidying up the freezer, dealing with Wild Justice to tackling the venison market

New year resolutions for shooters eat more game

There are so many ways to cook and prepare game meat; its versatility is what makes it such an amazing food for everyone

The New Year is a time of resolutions for many of us. We think about what we would like to achieve over the coming year and what we would like to see happening. So we asked some contributors from Shooting Times and Sporting Gun for their thoughts on the matter. Here’s our list of New Year resolutions for shooters.

Mark Ripley said: “One thing I’d like to see for the future would be a change to the general licences to help shooters understand clearly what they can and can’t shoot! It would also be good to see problem species more easily managed by shooters as they were 10 years or so ago.
“I would also love to see the Wild Justice organisation reeled in along with Chris Packham, and the BBC sack him for using his position to promote his own misconceptions and accusations. It would be great to see the BBC and other channels, promoting fieldsports in a better, unbiased way.
“It would also be nice to see further testing done in regards to the use of non toxic shot for rifle users,  and the true risks to eating venison containing lead and likely quantities consumed, as well as other, ballistically better alternatives to lead or copper bullets.
“As far as resolutions go, mine would be get out a little more often if I can as well as taking out a couple of youngsters I know who are keen to get into shooting.” (Read Mark Ripley’s piece on long range foxing here.)
Irish setter with grouse

Irish setter with grouse photographed by David Tomlinson

No more raptor deaths

David Tomlinson writes regularly for Shooting Times and said: “I’d like to see no more mysterious deaths of raptors on grouse moors (each death of a hen harrier is an own-goal for shooting). I’d also like to see the recovery of the market for shot game, which probably means commercial shoots scaling back the size of their bags to ensure that there is not the over-supply of dead game that there has been in recent years.
“Lastly, I would like to see the dinosaurs stop whingeing about the withdrawal of lead shot. We know it’s going to go whether we like it to not, so why doesn’t everyone accept the fact?” (Read David’s piece on how to keep gundogs safe on a shoot.)
New Year resolutions for shooters include professional shotgun cleaning

Graham Downing recommends you get your gun serviced

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.)

Purdey Sporter

Matt Clark reviews the Purdey Sporter

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.)

New Year resolutions for shooters include cleaning out freezer

Barry Stoffell aims at improving his freezer management

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.)

“January and February are both huge months for freezer-filling here as game seasons draw to a close, and I am bloody awful at packing, labelling and storing my assorted game harvest in a logical way. By June, a pre-supper foray into the frozen depths is as likely to bring up a goat kebab as a venison burger, and the assorted (often entirely unlabelled) sandwich bags contain everything from duck and pigeon to sika loin carpaccio and leftover jugged hare, but you’d never know. It sounds like a fairly pedestrian aim, but I am resolved to do much better in 2022. Granted, it’ll take some of the excitement out of the ‘freezer lottery’, but meal planning will get a whole lot easier!” (Read Barry’s guide to making a deer antler stick.)
Liam Stokes

Liam Stokes

Liam Stokes, chief executive of British Game Assurance says: “My own personal resolution is to replace all the meat I buy with wild game and fish. I started this last year as an exercise in sustainable eating and to diversify into new and more interesting game recipes. I’ve been calling the approach ‘plant-based plus wild’, which is a little bit provocative to all sides, but in 2022 I want to show how game fits into the lifestyles of those conscious-consumers trying to eat in a super high-welfare, super environmentally-friendly manner.

“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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    LaPorte clay trap

    If you’ve got room you could set up a clay trap

  3. 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.
    game cookery projects

    Do a game cookery course (the biscuit tin is a homemade smoker by the way)

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Don’t forget to tip correctly.
    shoot briefing

    Always listen keenly to the safety briefing

  9. 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.
  10. Follow the shooting safety rules at all times.
  11. 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.
  12. Respond to all shooting invitations promptly.
  13. 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.