I’ve been very busy researching stories for the forthcoming Irish issue of Shooting Times, available to buy on August 2nd.

It is not a part of the world I know a great deal about and so it was an eye-opener to see it first hand. The highlight was an evening out with a team of mink hunters in County Cork, following an activity that has been outlawed in the UK. Paul Quagliana’s pictures captured the action and the characters brilliantly, so they should come across well in print.

Driving about, it is impossible not to see the changing landscape in Ireland as its housing boom continues to eat up green field sites. The traditional bogs are being drained for agriculture, roads and housing, as landowners scramble to cash in. Who can blame them?

The government are loath to stand in the way of this progress, especially as it wasn’t so long ago that such prosperity was a pipe dream.

How long before the bubble bursts?

There are victims, as ever, and we spoke to a leader of a local gun club who has been powerless to intervene as hunting land has been gobbled up by the bulldozers. Again, his story and his plans to combat the trend, will be featured in the August 2nd issue.

There was also time for a night at the dogs at Yawl, where I received some top tips on gambling. No.1 – keep your money in your pocket! We also went out with a forest ranger in the Wicklow mountains to view the red-sika hybrids that have diluted the gene pool of the Irish red deer.

Bye for now.

Ian Valentine
Features editor